2 Chainz and Killer Mike are pushing for the preservation of Black-owned businesses in Atlanta as the recently introduced nuisance ordinance proves to disproportionately impact small businesses – from restaurants to nightclubs – rooted in the city’s culture and community.
During a city council meeting on Monday, Killer Mike explained that he had last attended a meeting in May to speak about “the importance of small and local businesses,” though he doesn’t feel much has changed in the time since – other than Atlanta’s continued development which prioritizes large corporations over smaller, community-based endeavors.
“As Atlanta grows, corporations are going to be coming into here,” Killer Mike said. “Somebody is gonna have a nightlife in the convention city.” The two options at hand are that this thriving, lucrative nightlife will be backed by “the owners of Hard Rock [Cafe] or the owners of Hooters or the owners of a W Hotel, or it’s gonna be the little people that went to Frederick Douglas [high school]… and Southwest DeKalb, and schools like that.”
2 Chainz also took to the podium, introducing himself by his real name, Tauheed Epps, and explaining that he’s not only an Atlanta native but the owner of two businesses in the city, including the two restaurants Escobar and Escobar Seafood.
“I’m very blessed, and I also like to be a blessing to others, and that’s what my businesses have allowed me to do,” 2 Chainz said. “They need to retract some of the things they have on the ordinance. And I think crime is up everywhere, not just in Atlanta.”
The ordinance was first introduced by Mayor Andre Dickens in April under the guise of reducing violence in proximity to clubs in the city. Atlanta City Council member Keisha Waites described the businesses as “habitual and repeat violators of city ordinances,” but from the perspective of Young Thug’s father, Jeffrey Williams Sr., who also spoke during the meeting, the catch-all approach penalizes uninvolved parties, as well. “If a crime happens by city hall,” he reportedly questioned, “was it city hall that caused it?”
“You’re trying to hold artists responsible for the crime that’s in the city,” he told CBS46. “Now you’re trying to point the finger at the nightlife to be part of the crime in the city.”
Killer Mike added that local business owners looking to establish themselves and grow in size will essentially be wiped out before they even have the opportunity to do so. “We will not be electing council people from here, we will not be growing businesses from here,” he warned. “Because it will all be turned over to corporations. I insist that this be sent back to the committee.”
He emphasized his message with the reminder that Atlanta is one of the few cities whose entertainers and athletes have formed something of a “business class” where popular businesses and entertainment spots are owned “by people who look like you.” He added that when politicians are in need of donations and votes, these owners are the first stop on their list.
As his time expired, Killer Mike yielded with a key question at the core of his argument: “Are we going to keep Atlanta a place where local people can grow and thrive here?”
RIGHT: “Do the right thing and send this back to committee.”
Killer Mike, w/ an intro by 2Chainz, just gave very critical remarks to the Atlanta City Council on a ‘public nuisance’ proposal he says will target nightclubs and black-owned businesses.@KillerMike @2chainz @cbs46 pic.twitter.com/f5ChbPvuBZ
— Patrick Quinn (@PatrickQuinnTV) August 1, 2022