Atlanta School Board Candidate Questioned For Rap Label Affiliation

By Lora Neng
September 12, 2011

Over the years, Byron Amos showed his dedication to education through an impressive record of outreach, from serving as Parent Teachers Association President at Bethune Elementary School, to being a community organizer with State Rep. Mable Thomas and Friends of Vine City Parks and the Atlanta Youth Fitness Alliance. His candidacy at the Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education lost union support not due to lack of qualification, but his affiliation with the rap music label UGK Records.

“For him to actually want to run for the board and say that he cares about children, when what he’s doing is using this music to do the worst for our children. It’s like robbing them and killing them. It’s like cheating for them,” said Shawnna Hayes Tavares, president of Southwest Northwest Atlanta Parents and Partners for Schools, to CBS Atlanta. “The last thing we need right now is an image that has any type of ethical or moral concerns. That’s what’s going on right now with the cheating scandal.”

Atlanta Federation of Teachers President Verdaillia Turner, however, noted that “Mr. Amos stood out as the only candidate with children in Atlanta Public Schools. He’s been very actively engaged.”

From his own words to Atlanta Progressive News, Amos explained that “my involvement [with UGK] started as a favor to a friend, Chad Butler.  I do paperwork for the company and security.  It has allowed me to see the other side of the entertainment industry, that is able to help with education.” He averred that by being able  “to get in front of our kids, when they’re listening to a lot of videos and music,” he is in a better position to relate to students and the community.”

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