For decades, Atlanta and the rest of the world have been wooed by the motivation, persistence, and determination of music mogul Dallas Austin. From groups, such as Boyz II Men and TLC to Atlanta politics, Austin has been gracing the scene adding in a sense of suaveness and southern hospitality to all that gives him (or his work) a second glance, and how could you not. When you think of music creativity, Dallas Austin can’t help but come to mind; not that all of his creations have been the best, or even number one singles, but you must admit that he will at least put it out there to be received. He has created an impeccable fan base all around the world, but will he be able to keep all of his devoted followers though all of the recent media speculations?
While attending a private birthday party for top model Naomi Campbell, Austin was arrested at the Dubai International Airport on possession of drugs for personal use charges. Although the arrest took place on May 19th, there are speculations that the producer extraordinaire will feel the effects for years to come. Austin, originally sentenced to four years in prison, was pardoned only a few hours after the sentencing by Dubai’s ruler, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. With all of the excitement from the pardon, one might think that Austin’s camp would have lots to say about the experience, but if you think so, you’re way off. Representatives from Austin’s team have been ever-so-quiet about the entire experience; many speculate that Dallas requested to remain quiet until he could grant the first interview to one of his favorite Atlanta radio stations, V 103, but many feel as though the 34 year old producer is keeping quiet to preserve his huge fan base. Austin is known all around the world for his movies, Drumline and ATL, guest appearances on TV shows, discovering Atlanta singer Monica, Rowdy Records, D.A.R.P. (Dallas Austin Recording Projects) , and even nonprofit work with kids, but is this enough to make America and the rest of Austin’s backing dismiss his cocaine conviction? If you even have to think about an answer, try to imagine the game without Dallas Austin. You’d have to take away Another Bad Creation, songs by Boyz II Men, Pink, Madonna, and TLC; you might even go as far to say take away a third of TLC’s inspiration, seeing how Austin is father to Rozanda “Chilli” Thomas’ son. Take away Atlanta’s 2004 G-8 Summit speaker; take away Mayor Shirley Franklin’s right handman, and choice for Atlanta’s new theme song, “The ATL”. Austin will definitely be affected by this mishap, but will this be the situation that leads to his demise? I’m sure that a large portion of Austin’s followers are straddling the line of forgiveness, but for those true Austin fans, I’m sure it will be more difficult to wheedle. Nonetheless, I hope that everyone learns a valuable lesson from Austin’s experience: no amount of fame or fortune withholds you from the law, but positive endeavors could be the one thing that’ll lead to forgiveness.