Atlanta’s roller derby moms lean in for real

Maisha “Queen Loseyateefa” Polite of Dunwoody, Shannon “Deathskull” Nowlan and Michelle “Hate Ashbury” Brattain were moms who felt like something was missing in their lives. Each woman discovered her alter ego on wheels, relying on core strength, teamwork and assertiveness. They will celebrate Mother’s Day by competing in roller derby with the Atlanta Rollergirls as their daughters (who are learning the sport) and moms cheer on their fearlessness and drive. For these women, the only way to circle the track is to lean in.

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girl coder

The only girl in a room of coders

Atlanta is home to 13,000 technology companies, and the Metro Atlanta Chamber says the tech sector will invest $1 billion in Georgia the next five years. It’s a rosy picture for young people who are learning to code.

Unfortunately, too few are girls. Those who are trying to break into the boys’ club are facing a pioneer’s uphill, often lonely climb. They are the “rainbow unicorns,” said local mom Caroline Busse, whose sixth grader Madeline is learning to code.

X marks signs of an Atlanta murder remembered

Pass through Kirkwood and East Atlanta, and still you’ll see the simple symbol X everywhere. In spray paint graffiti on utility poles, on mass-produced placards in homeowners’ yards, in duct tape on a street sign near the spot where X’avier Arnold, 21, died the day after Christmas—these signs remain all over these east Atlanta neighborhoods.

Here, the X reminds the public that memorials don’t have to be made of stone or steel to endure. Sometimes the strength of collective resolve is enough: X stands for a community’s desire to end the kind of violence that claimed his life.


In pollen season, Kirkwood’s old-school carwash hums

Monday marked nine straight days in Atlanta of extremely high (over 1500) pollen counts. You can’t avoid the blanket of yellow green dust covering the city.

For Stuart Brady, the plague of pollen on our cars is almost a biblical call to atone through what his business serves: lots of water and your own elbow grease. At his Kirkwood Car Wash, three words preach from the shingled roof: “Honor Thy Auto.”

These days, the ka-ching of tokens in the self-serve machines is the reason Brady calls pollen “gold dust.” It also gives him hope that his slice of Americana might survive the relentless redevelopment that Atlanta is known for.

Hip hop star Future keeps Atlanta’s music industry in national spotlight

Atlanta’s newest music ambassador is a hip hop artist from the Kirkwood neighborhood whose photo appeared this month on a section front of The New York Times.

At a time the region is receiving little in the way of good news coverage from media around the nation, the performer known as Future is keeping the city’s music industry in the national spotlight.

Future’s photo appeared this month in The New York Times with a 1,000-word story about Atlanta’s ever-changing hip hop scene. On March 2, Future will appear as a headline act in the 20th annual 9 Mile Music Festival, at Miami’s Virginia Key Beach – a beach where blacks could gather during the segregation era.