Pastor Charles Jenkins (denim jacket), Jay Carter (black shirt), and Jacob York (red shirt) in the RO creative suite// Nia Chantal for Steed Media

At the RIDE Conference 2017 Culture Creators Explain: Disruption panel session featuring Electric Republic CEO Jacob York, faith leader Charles Jenkins, author and community leader Steven Canal, and One Music Fest founder Jay Carter, the aforementioned stressed the importance of sending a tidal wave of disruption to break the mold and dominate your respective industries.

Towards the end of the panel, the discussion turned to politics: the 2017 Atlanta mayoral election, millennials’ lack of awareness, and voting on the candidates and their policies.

“Atlanta is 52 percent Black; that’s why we need a [candidate] in the game. When the lion is writing history, they are glorified. But what about the sheep? Who is writing your history?” asked Carter, emphasizing the importance of having quality Black representation in a city dominated by African Americans.

York, on the other hand, believes it’s not so much the need for representation, but the need for adequate teaching of each candidate’s policy and how it affects the community.

“We’ve had a candidate in the fight since the ’70’s and it’s still not changed,” said York. “Because people [do] not understand the message and the importance of voting [they don’t],” he continued. “[So now,] we have college students who have spent all of their money to get to college and can’t afford food, and that’s what they care about. So when [candidates] don’t talk about that and the kids don’t come out to vote, they don’t come out because no one is talking to them.”

Amongst the lack of knowledge by millennials, the men mentioned how Black candidates fighting each other is affecting the end goal and splitting the Black vote, when it needs to be centralized on one candidate.

“We have a [White] candidate leading 25 points and five other [Black] candidates fighting each other and a Black mayor attacking them, that’s the problem,” said York.

Short on time, the panelists moved their discussion to a more private setting in the rolling out creative suite. There, the men decided to agree to disagree on which of their points is the exact reason the Black community suffers politically. However, they did agree on the importance of millennials being informed and involved in elections, as the city of Atlanta’s future depends on it.  

Nia Chantal

Journalist. Actress. Music Lover. Concert- Goer. Travel Enthusiast. Beauty Addict. Just a Southern girl living life to the fullest. Follow my journey on Instagram @niachantal