Michael Render (Killer Mike) moderated a panel featuring all nine prominent mayoral candidates in Atlanta last night (Sept. 5) at the Loudermilk Center. The event, put together by ONE Musicfest, allowed a packed house of potential voters to listen to the candidates talk about everything from Atlanta's murky education system and the decriminalization of marijuana, to the rapid gentrification of the city.

Of course, Mike has long had an active interest in local government and community issues, and his depth of knowledge was evident last night.  Mike specifically said that everyone was gathered to "pinpoint with laser focus" issues that are of particular importance to black Atlanta. The city has long been expanding, on track to becoming the second-leading production location for film behind Los Angeles, as well as continuing to churn out chart-topping musical talent that continues to sway popular culture.

Among the candidates present included Peter Aman, Keisha Lance BottomsJohn EavesVincent FortKwanza HallCeasar MitchellMary NorwoodMichael Sterling and Cathy Woolard. Although Mike has previously publicly endorsed Fort for mayor, he kept the conversation even, delivering impressive follow-up questions and pressing the candidates on the issues percolating in the city's ever-changing communities, given the rapid gentrification and income disparities Atlanta faces.

As for ONE Musicfest, the festival looks to connect music lovers and their interests in politics and community, as evidenced by the mayoral forum. The two-day festival kicks off this weekend (Sept. 8-9), with appearances from Yasiin Bey, Jill Scott, J.I.D., Damien Marley, Migos, Jidenna, Kaytranada and more. Click here to purchase tickets.


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