City commissioners want a say in who can perform at Civic Center - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

City commissioners want a say in who can perform at Civic Center

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By Christian Jennings - bio | email

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - One man's entertainment is another man's trash.

Rapper Gucci Mane is expected to draw over 1,000 people to the Albany Civic Center Saturday. But if one Albany city commissioner had his way, he wouldn't be able to perform there at all.

Tuesday night, Commissioner Bob Langstaff pushed the city attorney to develop an ordinance that would limit the kind of entertainment allowed at the Civic Center.

The Gucci Mane controversy continued as city commissioners held a special briefing to discuss whether it's possible to establish new policies to regulate who can perform at the Albany civic center.

City commissioner Bob Langstaff first brought up complaints about the rapper's lyrics.

"There is obviously some stuff that is going to bother everyone in this room. Like if the KKK or some other hate group wanted to rent the facility. So I have got to believe there is some way to craft regulation," he said.

But city attorney Nathan Davis says the first amendment protects Gucci Mane, and anyone else who wants to lease the civic center.

"You can't regulate speech," he said.

But city commissioners asked their attorney to do more research to try and find some way to control the type of entertainment Albany provides.

"I have not found any exceptions regarding a municipal owned civic center. But I'll keep looking," said Davis.  

Langstaff wasn't the only one in the room concerned about Gucci Mane's obscene lyrics.

The Civic Center Director even posted signs at the arena to serve as a warning to parents that the concert may not be something they want their children to take part in.

"What may be offensive to some my be entertaining to others," said Mayor Willie Adams.

Mayor Adams was quick to bring up other acts, like Larry the Cable Guy, and Steve Harvey who also performed with questionable lyrics and content.

But when the discussions came to a close, one thing remained the same. Gucci Mane will perform in Albany, and so will anyone else who properly leases the Civic Center. Profanity, or not.

The city attorney says he'll continue to research the issue and bring his findings to commissioners next month.

Managers at civic centers in Columbus and Macon told us they have no policies restricting certain acts.

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