By Kevin Hogencamp
Albany Civic Center Director John Mazzola won’t offer any rationalization. Neither will his boss, City Manager Alfred Lott. But City Commissioner Bob Langstaff says his two subordinates have some explaining to do.
Langstaff sprung to action Tuesday minutes after learning about an Aug. 29 Albany Civic Center performance by Atlanta rapper Gucci Mane. A convicted felon, Mane – whose real name is Radric Davis – drew Langstaff’s focus when a profanity-laced YouTube video of him was e-mailed to him by an Albany businessman.
Langstaff’s beef: A taxpayer-funded facility shouldn’t host such an “entertainer.”
“Well, I’m appalled,” Langstaff said in an e-mail to Lott and Mazzola. “Al and John, what do you need from me to keep this ‘entertainer’ from performing at Albany’s Civic Center.
“If this cannot be resolved ‘in house,’ then please set up a special called meeting immediately so that the city commission can adopt policy guidelines for performers at the civic center.”
Langstaff provided a Web link of lyrics sung by Mane to Lott and Mazzola, adding: “This is not appropriate for our civic center. Who approved this ‘entertainer?’”
Mane is slated to be accompanied at the “Summer Fest 2009” concert by comedian Lightfoot and Albany native Darian Crawford, who performed as “Smoke” in the acclaimed rap group Field Mob and now performs as “Chevy P.”
Lott and Mazzola did not respond to the Journal’s requests Tuesday for information, comment and access to public records pertaining to the Mane concert. Lott is promoting the concert, which sells for $22 in advance and $32 at the door, in the city e-newsletter.
In a telephone interview, Langstaff said he still did not have a clear answer back on who was directly responsible for booking Mane. He also said that the City Commission had instructed Lott and Mazzola to set up an advisory board to help oversee bookings, to address such concerns prior to any bookings, and wondered if that advisory group had been asked for input on the matter.
Mane also couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.
Signed to Atlantic Records, Mane has gained widespread acclaim recently for his appearance on the remix of Mariah Carey’s new song, “Obsessed.” In 2005, he was charged with murdering a man at the home of an exotic dancer, but police dropped the charges, citing lack of evidence. Mane claimed the shooting was in self-defense.
Later, after serving a jail term for assault, Gucci was arrested during an Atlanta traffic stop when police found marijuana and a gun in his car.
(Lon McNeil contributed to this report.)