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How Drake’s SXSW Strip Club Docuseries ‘Magic City’ Walked a ‘Fine Line’ With Nudity: ‘The Art Is Being Celebrated’

New Drake-produced doscuseries “Magic City: An American Fantasy” debuted at SXSW Monday night to a roaring crowd packed with friends, patrons and fans of the project’s titular iconic Atlanta strip club, Magic City.

After the first episode of the three-part doc, which does not yet have a distributor or platform attached, was screened, producer Cole Brown and director Charles Todd fielded a few questions from the audience, including “Was there anything too explicit to put in the documentary?”

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“We wanted to walk a fine line with nudity, in particular — where you can’t make a documentary about a strip club and not have any nudity, it just isn’t true to form — and you’re trying to tell the true story,” Brown said. “At the same time, we didn’t want it to be salacious, gratuitous. We wanted to use it in such a way that you’re getting an image of what this place is. But if you go to Magic City, you see all the anatomy.”

Per the logline for the “Magic City” doc, “In 1985, phone salesman Michael Barney — friends call him Mr. Magic — puts his slick-talking gift to work, opening a small strip club in Atlanta. He plays DJ, bartender and bouncer while his only dancer separates men from their money. But soon, the celebrities arrive. Athletes from Michael Jordan to Shaq clamber to the club, DC The Brain Supreme mints an iconic hit record from the DJ booth and Outkast tests songs by watching the girls dance. Within a few years, Magic City would become the most famous strip club in Atlanta, and soon, the world. But when Mr. Magic gets sent away to federal prison, the empire he’s built may crumble.”

Magic City alum Gigi Maguire, who is one of the subjects in the doc, backed up Brown’s point about “not being salacious and not being vulgar” with a story about why she decided to appear nude for the “Magic City” doc, despite having left that chapter of her life behind.

“I am 12 years retired from Magic City, but y’all all just seen my titties,” said Maguire, who joined Brown, Todd and “Magic City” producers Jami Gertz and Jermaine Dupri, on stage. “And during that day when we were doing our studio filming, I had no idea that they were going to request this. And I remember them coming to me like, listen, we have this scene and we don’t know how you’re gonna feel, but here’s the vision. And I’m like, ‘Y’all want to see my titties? OK!'”

Maguire explained her casual answer had a serious argument behind it. “The reason is because I did not feel in any way that it was done in a sexual context,” Maguire said. “I understood the vision of the artistic value of what they were trying to achieve and I had no problem with agreeing to show these titties.”

She added: “Strip is art, and the art is being celebrated, clearly.”

Aside from producing the project, Drake is also featured in the doc talking about his experiences at Magic City alongside fellow celebrities including Shaquille O’Neal, Killer Mike, T.I., Nelly and Big Boi.

Additional executive producers include showrunner Bayan Joonam, Brown, Gertz, Dupri, Adel “Future” Nur, Peter Nelson, Devin Chanda and Alex Kaplan.

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