This past week A3C Festival & Conference celebrated their 15-year anniversary with a week of events, panel discussions, workshops, mentorship sessions, concerts and more by some of the top talent and respected industry pro’s nationwide. Prior to the festival and conference, A3C made the major announcement of their new ownership group – The Gathering Spot, Paul Judge Media Group and hip hop icon – 2 Chainz. The new team of owners then created the A3C Culture Creator Ownership Group, which is a new initiative composed of individuals that have impacted business, lifestyle, music, tech, film, sports and culture. This group of selected individuals have invested in A3C and thereby invested in Atlanta and the future of our culture. Kicking off the first day of the conference, reigning 3-time NBA 6th Man of the Year – Lou Williams, was announced as the inaugural member of the Culture Creator Ownership Group.
Tuesday night, A3C launched with a live performance honoring the 20th Anniversary of iconic rap artist Yasiin Bey’s,‘Black on Both Sides’ album, and opening act, Translee, of Grand Hustle. The Fader Fort, powered by Sprite, kicked off their R&B night, headlined by Pink Sweat$ and Lion Babe. Over 10 soul singers serenaded the stage, kicking off the first night of A3C. Following the Fader Fort, Atlanta United hosted the official A3C Kickoff Party at The Gathering Spot.
Wednesday, festival goers had the option to attend several dope shows and events, including ‘Mo’Nique and Friends Comedy Show’ featuring Donnell Rawlings, Just Nesh, Tone X and more. Over at The Fader Fort, guests gathered at Center Stage for their ‘Women in Hip Hop’ stage headed by Megan Thee Stallion, CHIKA and Tokyo Jetz. Fans crowded the venue to hear sounds from the best female mc’s in the game. Over at the Masquerade, Rakim and Big Daddy Kane performed at the Lyric and Rhymes stage alongside other emerging lyrical artists.
The conference portion of A3C kick-started on Thursday morning, held at the new hub, AmericasMart, a prominent convention center in downtown Atlanta. Over a thousand conference attendees came out to watch various panels powered by A3C, Toyota and Google for Startups, such as the ‘Blending the Entertainment and Entrepreneurship’ featuring guest speakers – NeNe Leakes, Rasheeda, Porsha Williams, Cynthia Bailey and Tanya Sam. Music Moguls – Cortez Bryant, Al Branch, Shawn Gee, Jean Nelson, Bryan Calhoun and Rodney Carmichael, spoke on the Building the Blueprint panel. The ballroom of conference center was over capacity as they hosted a keynote conversation with Gary Vee.
That evening, the Fader Fort concluded with the Atlanta show, headlined by Lil Keed and Lil GotIt. BJ The Chicago Kid also hosted a private show, as well as the ‘Get Hyphy with E-40 & Friends show, held at the Masquerade.
On Friday, attendees filled the convention center for the first ‘Women in Charge’ panel by Toyota featuring Jewel Burks Solomon, Ericka J. Coulter, Kahlana Barfield Brown and Vanessa Baden Kelly. Also, Kei Henderson, Omar Grant, Suzy Roo and Kevin Liles all sat down to discuss ‘Innovation in the Music Industry: A Look 5 Years Into the Future’. Tip “T.I.” Harris, Charlamagne Tha God and Shaka Senghor sat down to discuss ways the people can fix the criminal justice system. Legendary creative Lenny “Kodak Lens” Santiago sat down with Genius owner, Rob Markman, for a discussion surrounding art, photography, music and culture. Closing out Friday’s keynote panels, Amber Grimes moderated an intimate conversation with CMO of WME, Bozoma Saint John.
Friday evening, the west coast was in the building, at the West Coast Tribute stage featuring headliners YG, Buddy, G Perico and a special guest set by West Coast legend – DJ Quik.
On the closing day of the conference, Karen Civil joined B Dot Miller for a fireside chat discussing mental health, being a woman in a male dominated industry, losing Nipsey Hussle and Mac Miller and more. J_ust Blaze, MikeWiLLMadeIt and Tricky Stewart spoke with Rob Markman on how to create moments and break an artist as a Producer. Tech Mavens Dr. Paul Judge, Kobie Fuller, Mark Buffington, Chris Lyons and Lo Toney talked about the Silicon Valley secrets on startups, talent and investing. Music management gurus – Terrence “Snake” Hawkins, Al Branch, Brooklyn Johnny and Ebonie Ward came together in the Google for Startups room to chat with attendees on how to break an artist; as well as tips on what managers seek when finding talent. Wrapping up the main panel stage, fashion icon – Dapper Dan, sat with hip-hop star 2 Chainz_ for a keynote discussion diving into the deep history of the intersection of Hip Hop and fashion. “As we grow A3C to be the week and place to celebrate Atlanta’s culture and global impact, it was an honor to have Dapper Dan close out the conference”, said Dr. Paul Judge (Co-Owner of A3C). “Dapper’s role in Harlem’s legendary place in history is exactly the experience needed to help ensure we continue to build the future of Atlanta to be innovative and inclusive.”
Saturday night, A3C guests flooded the concert venue for the A3C ‘AfroBeats’ stage, featuring Koffee, Mr. Eazi and Afro B; as well as the grand finale after party with 2 Chainz at Compound nightclub.
“This year was absolutely amazing. The cultured shifted this week as we watched the music, tech, film, political and business community come together.” Ryan Wilson (Co-Owner of A3C) continues, “the conversations at the conference were engaging and music performances inspiring. I genuinely feel attendees left with new connections and new information. That’s what makes A3C special.” A3C Festival & Conference is the place where people can connect, while educating and inspiring the next-generation of innovators and entrepreneurs that are shaping the future.
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