Tuesday, November 24, 2020
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IS ATLANTA BLACK HOLLYWOOD?

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“There were Confederate soldiers on that base, plotting and planning on how to keep 3.9 million Negroes enslaved, and now that land is owned by one Negro.”

Atlanta, Georgia, is well-known as a city filled with Black success. Home to Martin Luther King Jr. and an important city in the Civil Rights Movement, Atlanta is often referred to as a “Black Mecca.”

The city holds some of the highest records of Black success in the nation, with 20% of their Black working population being self-employed, and their median African American annual household income being higher than the national average. Recently, Atlanta has started becoming better known within the film industry, and, because of it’s heavily-Black influence, it has been called “Black Hollywood.”

The push towards the film industry moving into Atlanta, however, is not a coincidence. The state of Georgia has been doing everything they can to market Georgia as “the Hollywood of the South.” When major productions like The Walking Dead started filming in Georgia, they started bringing lots of new jobs and tourism with it. Georgia lawmakers began noticing how profitable it was to bring the filmmaking industry into the south.

Since 2008, the state of Georgia has offered very generous tax incentives of 20% towards film productions of $500,000 or more that film within Georgia. They also add an extra 10% incentive if the Georgia peach logo is added into the credits. This had led to famous films such as The Hunger Games and Fast & the Furious being filmed in the state.

Aside from the tax incentives, the opening of Tyler Perry Studios was a game-changer for the film industry within Atlanta. The 330-acre lot is located on the grounds of a former Confederate army base. It’s one of the largest production facilities in the country and has twelve sound-stages. Black Panther, a Marvel hit among Black audiences, was the first movie filmed at Tyler Perry Studios. Since then, many movies and shows have chosen to film in the facility, including the newest installment to the Bad Boys movies, Bad Boys For Life, starring Will Smith.

Tyler Perry Studios is the first completely Black-owned production studio and marks a historic moment for Black history within the film industry. Last year, Tyler Perry hosted an opening gala for the $250 million dollar Tyler Perry Studios. In his speech on BET he talked about the irony behind him opening his studio on a former Confederate army base, saying “there were Confederate soldiers on that base, plotting and planning on how to keep 3.9 million Negroes enslaved, and now that land is owned by one Negro.”

So, is Atlanta still “Black Hollywood”? Yes. And the future of further Black success within the film industry is very promising.