Ludacris moderates panel on Innovation in Entertainment

Moving away from the usual type of speaker, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, an award-winning rapper, actor and entrepreneur, moderated a panel discussion on “Technology in Entertainment” for an event organized by the Ludacris Foundation and Tech’s MBA Leadership series. The event was on Sept. 1 in the College of Management.

Students had the opportunity to listen to a discussion that included three panelists with connections to Tech. Associate professor Gil Weinberg, director of the Tech Center for Music Technology; Charles Spencer, an MBA student and Alex Rae, creative director of the phone-app development company Khush were panelists at the event.

The panel covered a variety of topics pertaining to technological innovation and its application in entertainment. Some of the questions considered were about what it takes to get innovations funded and what it takes to achieve product to market success, highlighting the importance of leadership, education and innovation in entertainment.

Ludacris has won a Screen Actors Guild, Critic’s Choice, MTV award and several Grammy Awards for his music and acting and is a cofounder of “Disturbing tha Peace”, an imprint distributed by Def Jam Recordings, demonstrating entrepreneurship within the entertainment industry.

Ludacris gave students advice about how to handle the constantly changing environment in entertainment technology, particularly in light of changes that have taken place in the last decade.

“You look at fashion over the years and it changes. That’s the same with technology,” Ludacris said. “You have to keep yourself afloat with producers and what’s going on. You don’t have to emulate what everyone else is doing, but you have to stay ahead of the curve. You make it your own and understand what’s going on around you. Continue to search for things that haven’t [yet] been done.”

The courtyard between 5th St. and West Peachtree St. was abuzz with students who got the opportunity to demo Ludacris’s headphone series, “Soul by Ludacris SL300.”

Bob Bonefant, Founder of Soul Electronics, also one of the panel members, brought in two “Soul by Ludacris” college touring booths for the live demonstrations.

Students had the opportunity to demo the new high performance headphones with a few hit Ludacris songs, including “Moneymaker” and “How Low.”

“These are the clearest headphones I have ever used. Ludacris definitely found an intersection between technology and entertainment that he can successfully market, so I really value his advice on how to use my Tech education successfully in the real world,” said Chloe Smith, a fourth-year ECON major.

“I came just to see Ludacris since I’m a huge fan, but I’m really glad I attended,” said Chad Hansen, a fourth-year BA major. “I don’t think I’ve really considered ways to take the ideas I have about music and make them a reality, and this panel and Ludacris’s backing inspired me to pursue goals I’d have ignored otherwise.”

In an interview before the discussion, Ludacris explained why he had decided that Tech would be the best venue for the panel.

“We have a Foundation and we’re constantly trying to find ways to give back to my hometown [of] Atlanta, Georgia. We’ve done things for so many local schools and local communities, and we want to make sure we give back to the local colleges also” Ludacris said. “We understand that this is the next generation in terms of everything. We want to spark the brain of the individual who will become the next great inventor.”

The Ludacris Foundation intends to host more events discussing issues pertinent to the current generation’s success in the future.

The turnout at the event was impressive.

“This is the first of even bigger events – we’ll have to find an even bigger room to fit everybody,” Ludacris said.

Ludacris’s participation in this panel discussion kicked off his annual “Luda Day Weekend,” with events taking place throughout the Labor Day holiday, such as the Red Bull Soundclash event with Neon Trees at the Georgia World Congress Center on Sunday Sept. 4.

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