Celebrities flock to ATL for Rolling Out magazine's first entertainment, tech & biz conference

Actors Laz Alonzo and Lalanya Masters at 2017 RIDE Conference presented by Rolling Out Magazine

ATLANTA - If you didn’t know, Atlanta is where it’s at. Over the weekend the magazine Rolling Out hosted their first ever RIDE Conference and judging by the turn out, there will be one next year.


For years the magazine has been at the forefront of black culture, entertainment, politics, technology and news that was pertinent to the community. That concept would come to fruition over the weekend when the magazine introduced R.I.D.E, its inaugural tech summit, Rolling Out Innovation Digital Entertainment conference. The two-day conference hosted progressive thought leaders, actors, songwriters, rappers, CEO’s of multiple companies, moguls, authors and business executives who have launched some of the greats.

According to Rolling Out, the conference opened with an inspirational “State of the Industry” breakfast where entertainment industry executive, Kenny Burns , served as Keynote speaker. He motivated the crowd as he reflected on working tirelessly over the years to make key connections and business deals within the music industry. Not only is he a top influencer turned lifestyle specialist, but also a former music executive who worked at Mariah Carey’s Monarch Music, later Roc-A-Fella Records and currently serves as Senior Vice President of Brand Development for Combs Enterprises,the entrepreneurial arm for entertainment mogul, P. Diddy.

“I started in Atlanta throwing parties, but I didn’t know that it would be the beginning of the lifestyle specialist brand,” Burns said. “My cousin told me to come to Atlanta in 1992 for Freaknik. It was also the start of LaFace Records, So So Def. I decided to enroll in Morris Brown College. Andre Harrell wanted me to throw a party. He eventually offered me a 65K salary and gave me a promotional position. I eventually began making around 135K in my early 20s. All of these things were happening because of my connection to Atlanta.”

Atlanta publisher, Rolling Out founder, CEO of Steed Media Group, Munson Steed, moderated a short discussion following the keynote speech.

“The biggest thing is showing up,” Steed shared with the audience. “If you have to pay retail for everything, you’re not adding value. This is all about transformation. If you don’t have a movement, create your own brand.”

The conference schedule was split into four tracks full of interactive workshops, intriguing panel discussions and invaluable networking opportunities with each individual track group. Thought leadership, entertainment, business, and technology; all areas quickly intersecting in an industry where in order to succeed you have to be fluent in all four.

Inside the panels and workshops, conference goers were in for a treat. They were able to sit face to face with stars like Grammy Award winning record producer Ryan Leslie, singer/songwriter Keri Hilson, actor Laz Alonso, rapper/entrepreneur Master P, rapper Bone Crusher, actress Lalanya Masters, actor Isaiah John, and ask them how to stand out in an industry that is so competitive.

11Alive was there Saturday as industry leaders in their respective fields gave in depth insight, and knowledge about the advantage of thriving in Atlanta, a city that is quickly growing in the entertainment field and has been the center of TV Series, reality shows, feature films and music videos for years.

11Alive’s entertainment reporter, Francesca Amiker, got the chance to sit in on the final keynote session of the night featuring actor Laz Alonso and actress/business owner Lalanya Masters. The audience had many questions about securing that big break, but the biggest question was: Should I stay in Atlanta to pursue my acting career?

Actress Lalanya Master and actor Laz Alonso gave their two cents.

"For someone who is is just getting started, New York is the best place" said Alonso. "A for training and B you'll be surrounded by people who are just as hungry for as you as well as the amount of productions going on."

But Alonso also admitted Atlanta is a great spot for budding actors.

"There are people who have left Los Angeles who moved to LA or are from LA and went before acting.. Everything is shooting in either Atlanta, New York, there is some production and New Orleans, some in North Carolina, some in Chicago. If you are a local based actor, which is called a local hire, being in Atlanta, it's a good place to be to get roles in which they won't fly someone in because they have to put them up in a hotel. So it is good."

"You have to get really resourceful and creative about how you get seen. Luckily you have social media but you have to be really intentional. You cannot just throw up. It has to have a certain level of production quality, like Laz says, Your work has to be awesome because you can shoot yourself in the foot that way."

Lalanya Masters continued.

"Try to, as much as you can, saturate the opportunity that Atlanta has. I agree with Laz that Atlanta is definitely not a bad place to be at all but there are 77 productions, from Netflix to Hulu to Amazon to HBO to Showtime, that shoot in New York."

Both actors agree, whatever your craft, investing in yourself and researching your industry are the best ways to get ahead.

Ki Monique
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Ki is an actress, tv personality, and reporter. She has many hobbies and talents. Her father is a retired military veteran.