A group of male dancers from an Atlanta strip club have issued a PSA urging those in Georgia to vote in the upcoming Senate election. Georgia flipped blue last month and helped to hand Joe Biden victory in the Presidential election.
However, all eyes are now on its Senate elections. The incumbents, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, are both Republicans. If voters Georgia elect two Democrats, it will swing control of the US Senate to the Democratic Party.
Ahead of the election last month, a group of female pole dancers produced a video urging people to “Get Your Booty to the Poll“. Last week, inspired by that project, the dancers from the well-known gay club Swinging Richards – plus a couple of actors – did the same.
One of the men closely involved with producing the video was Axel Roldos.
Roldos is an actor but is also currently working at the Department of Public Health, helping run a COVID-19 testing site for the Fulton County Board of Health.
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“I also do work at Swinging Richards. You can never have too many jobs during an economic calamity!” he tells GayCities.
Roldos was raised in New Jersey, before relocating to New York City and then Atlanta to pursue his dreams.
“I started dancing at Richards when I was 21 [in 2013]. At the time, I had just moved from NYC to Atlanta to pursue work as an actor. In retrospect, it wasn’t the best plan. I mean, I was in New York already! But I knew they were doing production for film and television in Atlanta, including my then-favorite show, The Walking Dead, so I just instinctively thought that’s where I needed to be.
Roldos worked with producer Chad Darnell on the video.
“Chad, who would write the copy and direct it, called me and prompted me to do this with him because he knew I was an actual dancer and would know other dancers who may be interested.”
Although Swinging Richards is currently open, Roldos says he’s lost a great deal of work during the pandemic.
“Interestingly, I was living in Los Angeles at the time the pandemic hit. I lost my job working as an administrative assistant. Moreover, I own a multifamily building in downtown Atlanta. All of my tenants were struggling with making rent due to loss of work and then one of them set their unit on fire. As a result, I had to release everyone from the lease. So, there I was, living in Los Angeles, a city known for being unforgivingly expensive, paying a mortgage on a property I couldn’t make money off. So, it just made sense to move back to Atlanta and regroup.”
What’s the situation on the gay scene in Atlanta at the moment: Does Roldos fear how this is impacting the hospitality industry?
“The truth is a mixed bag. On the one hand, Atlanta is a progressive city that does try to respect best-health guidelines and science. After all, the CDC is in our neighborhood. The mayor famously clashed with the governor on the issue of mask mandates.
“But on the other hand, I think pandemic fatigue has worn many people down and much of the younger nightlife crowd aren’t as concerned about COVID – because they are younger and are comfortable with their chances.
With fears for the economy, bars in Georgia have now reopened under strict COVID guidelines.
“Some places are more adherent than others,” says Roldos.
“I definitely fear how this is impacting, not just the hospitality industry, but every industry. The irony behind the push to restart the economy is that we can’t get the economic free fall under control until we get the virus under control.”
The video is bipartisan, but Roldos is happy to state who he will be voting for.
“I’m absolutely voting for the health, jobs, and justice candidates, [Democrats] Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. They are working for Georgians, and by extension, the rest of the country, and are committed to passing meaningful legislation to give everyone the help that they need to be prosperous.”
Some people may raise an eyebrow at pole dancers producing a video to encourage people to vote. But not Roldos. He lives in the district formerly represented by the late US congressman, John Lewis. Roldos sees it as his civic responsibility to be civically engaged and support pro-equality candidates.
“He [Lewis] was staunchly pro LGBTQIA+ himself because gay rights are civil rights, something he intimately understood. Everyone who is part of a marginalized community – women, ethnic/religious minority, disabled, etc – has had and continues to have advancements in their civil rights; people before us fought to have our rights and freedoms and so long as there is work to do, we should all do the same.
“I will always support a cause that advances equity for everybody, as that is what I believe America’s Promise to be.”