Within the last 15 to 20 years the city of Atlanta has quickly become the most sought after city in the South. Favored by various celebrities such as singers, rappers, actors, athletes, media moguls and fashion designers, there is a reason why Atlanta is often referred to as the “Hollywood of the South.” Celebrities love to call Atlanta home because unlike Los Angeles or New York, they are not constantly bombarded by the unwanted flashbulbs of the paparazzi, they can move around the city freely and with all of the numerous career opportunities and prospects that have become available throughout the years, they don’t have to venture out to find work…Hollywood now comes to Atlanta. However, there are certain celebrities that are as synonymous with Atlanta as the Georgia peach and they make our list because Atlanta wouldn’t be the same without them. Welcome home!
Although born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, multi-talented and multi-platinum megastar Usher has lived in Atlanta for the better part of his life, even before he was famous, so it’s only natural that he claims Atlanta as his own and we welcome him with open arms. Recently crowned the top-selling R&B and Pop artist of the decade (due in large part to his diamond-selling mega hit album Confessions) and continuing to top the charts and fill arenas on tour, Usher is a true Atlanta celebrity. Not only does he live and work here, but he also gives back to the Atlanta community with his New Look Foundation that ensures that young people have the tools that they need to become successful world leaders. This past year at the annual World Leadership awards ceremony that honors outstanding New Look members, honorees and guests were treated to a performance by teen heartthrob, and Usher’s artist, Justin Beiber. One of the great things about Usher calling Atlanta home is that he always lets it be known that he loves the city. He sings about it, raves about in interviews and wears apparel bearing the city’s various sports teams and logos. Usher Raymond is definitely a Southern gentleman and an Atlanta treasure.
2 Jermaine Dupri
Born and raised in the city of Atlanta, award-winning producer Jermaine Dupri has become an unofficial mayor of Atlanta. Until recently, while driving into downtown Atlanta there was a huge billboard emblazoned with the So So Def Records logo that welcomed native Atlantans, transplants and visitors alike…when you saw that billboard you knew that you had entered Atlanta proper. When not producing hits for recording superstars Mariah Carey, Usher and Janet Jackson (who lived here in Atlanta while she dated Dupri), Dupri can be found at any Atlanta hotspot. Whether it be at a sporting event, nightclub parties/performances or sitting in at one of the local radio stations, Jermaine Dupri has said many times that he “is” Atlanta, and based on the outpouring of love, support and accolades that he’s received from Atlanta over the years, few would argue with his sentiment.
Another Atlanta native, Chris Bridges (known better by his stage name, rapper Ludacris) has a long and varied history with the city of Atlanta. For those of us that remember, he was once a very popular radio DJ that went by the name of Chris Lova Lova in the mid and late 90s. Actually, a little fun fact is that he went to the same high school that I did, but at an earlier time. However, playing radio’s hottest hits wasn’t enough for Ludacris, he wanted to be on the records, and in 1998 he got his chance as his first single dropped on Atlanta radio. From there superstar status emerged and there has been no looking back. From music to movies to business ventures, Ludacris is fully committed to representing and serving the city of Atlanta as much as possible. One of the hottest restaurants in town is Straits, which is owned by the platinum-selling hip hop artist. No matter where he may visit, Ludacris always comes back home and enjoys the city that has seen his star rise from humble beginnings to dizzying heights of celebrity stardom.
4 Justin Bieber
The teen sensation that has completely taken over the hearts and minds of tween and teen girls everywhere, Justin Bieber may be Canadian, but once he signed to fellow Atlanta resident Usher’s record label he has called Atlanta home. While he is a new artist on the scene he has become a full fledged phenomenon in a very short time. Huge-selling albums and chart-topping singles are just a few of the newsworthy accolades that have earned the pop star in numerous magazines, television shows and gossip blogs within the past year and a half. Whether or not he continues to permanently reside in Atlanta remains to be seen, but for his legions of Atlanta fans where he currently calls home (in the swanky suburb of Buckhead) is more than enough to keep them screaming and dreaming at a frantic pace
A child actor who was born and raised in Atlanta, and still calls it her home, Raven- Symoné has done it all and made her home city proud in the process. From first capturing our hearts as adorable Olivia Kendall on The Cosby Show, then moving along to popular 90s sitcom Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper and finally getting her own hugely popular Disney channel show That’s So Raven, she has literally conquered the entertainment world on her own terms, while being a role model for young girls and aspiring entertainers everywhere. Not just an actress, Raven was also one of the youngest singers ever to crack the Billboard chart back in the early 90s with her debut album. This multi-faceted and multi-talented young lady is a full fledged media mogul with apparel, bedding, music, TV, video, etc. Unlike many young Hollywood starlets her age, it can be argued that Raven has consistently stayed on the straight and narrow and that it is largely due to her calling Atlanta home instead of the bright lights of Hollywood. With her future so bright, it’s nice to know that she still cherishes Atlanta, and we appreciate all the love