Capturing the culture that makes Detroit what it is.

Monthly archive

July 2014

Around Detroit: Ashore Detroit

in Around Detroit by

Michigan is the Great Lake State! This uniquely gives Detroit one of the best fresh water supplies of the world! (Interestingly enough the battle over Detroit water is deeply rooted. Today water shut-offs by the ‘Detroit’ Water & Sewage Department is trending across local and international headlines. If you follow the issue over the years, it’s always been Detroit’s most viable asset.) This provides Detroit with one of the best lake shore lines in the world. Belle Isle park’s world renown look, feel, and nature gives a glimpse of Detroit, Windsor ON, and the Detroit River. Brian Mulloy loves it!

Brian is a friend in business that runs the website DetroitAshore . It provides an online glimpse into the water sports available in Detroit and South East Michigan. “I lived in San Francisco for 10 years. The Pacific Ocean only made me miss the Great Lakes and the Detroit River more. When I moved back, I embraced Belle Isle, and my paddleboard” Brian Mulloy.

Brian’s website features sailing, power boating, surfing, paddle boarding, wind water sporting, and fishing. Ashore Detroit posts stories about the people, businesses, groups, and safety of the Detroit water ways has a home at DetroitAshore . This resourceful website is also insightful. The narrative of the people who are the water sports enthusiasts here are amazing. The enjoyment and commitment of the Southeast Michigan residents who year round make their way to the Detroit water ways is humbling. Against the snow, ice, winter temperatures, summer humidity, and summer heat they stay engaged.

Fishing, King on the Paddleboard (jessica Care moore's Son and 1 of my favorite little homies), and kids on Belle Isle paddle boarding
Fishing, King on the Paddleboard (jessica Care moore’s Son and 1 of my favorite little homies), and kids on Belle Isle paddle boarding

Brian’s commitment to water sports began with an introduction from his late grandfather who lived on Detroit’s Eastside in the Gratiot and Outer Dr neighborhood. Learning to swim at Chandler Park’s pool, there after Brian’s grandfather taught him fishing on Belle Isle. Fishing on Belle Isle welcomed his father and the Chrysler co-workers his father worked with as well. These experiences eventually expanded to skiing and surfing of Lake Huron with his Uncles and cousins. Brian’s experience and love for the Detroit water ways runs deep. Today you can find Brian on Belle Isle weekly paddle boarding (as long as there is no ice, Brian’s paddle boarding in the warmth of a wet suit).

Brian’s website along with other Detroit water sport enthusiasts are expanding this growing culture. Currently there is a RFP (request for proposal) from the State of Michigan for a surf shop for Belle Isle Park. There are kayak, canoe, boat, and paddle board rental services available on Belle Isle Park currently. There are also a number of boat, yacht, and jet ski rental services available at Detroit’s port/ riverfront authority.

I urge of you to take the time to enjoy the Detroit River and sport by visiting the DetroitAshore website and seeing what’s happening.

Detroit is Different Podcast with Henry Tyler

in Detroit is Different Podcast by

Detroit is Different featured the theme of Summer for July of 2014. My podcast guest was Henry Tyler. Henry is a Detroit legend in media and broadcast. Tyler worked on the Detroit classic Dance show ‘The Scene.’ He and RJ Watkins later hosted the ‘The New Dance Show’ and grew to owning TV33 and 88.1fm.

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Mike Will, Mr. & Mrs. Henry Tyler, Theo & Michelle Broughton; Khary WAE Frazier & Henry Tyler; and Michelle Broughton & Donny Hart

On the Podcast we discuss his family’s ties to Detroit from Alabama. In the conversation we discuss the start of his career in media as DJ. Also his experience as a dancer of the TV show ‘Swinging Time’ shot in Windsor ON and hosted by Rob Semore. This is a fun and interesting conversation. Join in and listen. Click Play below

7 O’Clock Saturday Stories: Henry Tyler

in 7 o'clock Saturday Stories by

I believe the voice of Detroit’s community is best heard through two media outlets; The Michigan Citizen Newspaper, and WHPR 88.1fm/ TV33. The Michigan Citizen Newspaper is a family business that has grown for over 35 years. Charles and Teresa Kelly started the paper, and now their daughter Catherine Kelly continues the vision of empowering a voice for the community.

I’ve worked for, and with the Michigan Citizen Newspaper since 2007. Working for the Michigan Citizen Newspaper in 2008, and 2009 I hosted the television program ‘Michigan Citizen Weekly’ on TV33. At TV33 I met a host of guests creating a mix of events, programs, businesses, and organizations. One of the most impactful people I met at TV33 was Henry Tyler. He was my programming engineer. Mr. Tyler’s advice and critique (of which I stubbornly accepted maybe 1/3 of) has helped blossom my humility. For two years weekly I looked forward to visiting and being a part of TV33.

TV 333 and Henry Tyler
TV 333 and Henry Tyler

TV33 is run by RJ Watkins and Henry Tyler. Both are entrepreneurs I admire. Providing people a platform to reach an audience through radio, television, and the internet to change lives is empowering. Often I engage discussions about the stories of Black people, Detroit, and hip-hop’s portrayal in mass media. As much as I enjoy debating (if you know me, you know I do) I’ve come to the resolution that I have a responsibility to share the stories I’d like to honor. Therefore NBC, BET, Fox News, the Detroit Free Press, and World Star Hip-hop all have an alternative I support (thank you for visiting Detroit is Different).

Henry Tyler is my guest for 7 O’Clock Saturday Stories Saturday July 26, 2014. At this event we will discuss his Detroit story. This is a live podcast recording for the Detroit is Different podcast I produce. 7 O’Clock Saturday Stories is a free event. That will be hosted at Le Petit Zinc restaurant in Detroit’s historic Corktown district at 1055 Trumbull Detroit MI 48216 at 7pm.

The Scene, Henry Tyler (looking like Richard Roundtree), and Scene Dancers
The Scene, Henry Tyler (looking like Richard Roundtree), and The Scene Dancers

Henry Tyler’s Biography   

Affectionately called “H.T.” is the Vice President of Productions and Program Director of Highland Park/Detroit based media outlet WHPR Radio 88.1 FM, UHF TV 33 and Comcast Cable 20 Detroit.  Henry is a master behind the camera, in front of the camera, engineering a radio show or hosting his own.  In other words, not much has been conceived of in broadcast media that he hasn’t mastered.  Not only is he a genius when it comes to technical and music history, Henry is the epitome of a ‘go to’ man.

Henry believes that the success of WHPR Radio 88.1 FM, UHF TV 33 and Comcast Cable 20 Detroit has been well worth all his efforts.  He quotes the late Erma Bombeck when he says, “when I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’”

43 in 67 Campaign

in Events by

Over the past three years I’ve been inactive as a hip-hop performer. Launching the Detroit is Different website has welcomed back a lot of my support. I’m thankful for the hundreds of opportunities I’ve had to perform, speak, and host events throughout Metro-Detroit since 2002. Humbled by what I have accomplished, and eager to accomplish more, I’m ready to touch audiences again.

Summer of 2014 I’m leading an event based marketing campaign. The campaign is ’43 in 67’ – it’s an artistic venture in which I will perform, host, interview, and/or speak at a series of 43 presentations in 67 days. The title of the campaign is inspired by the Detroit uprisings of 1943 and 1967.

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The ’43 in 67’ campaign will start Wednesday, July 23, and close Saturday, September 27.The campaign starts with a video interview I will produce and distribute through youtube. The closing event will be my theatrical-style Detroit narrative ‘If Detroit were Heaven.’ This will be held at 5eLement Hip-hop Art Gallery in the First Unitarian-Universalist Church of Detroit located at 4605 Cass Ave. in Detroit’s Wayne State University district.  The gallery is an alternative multidisciplinary arts organization that presents and supports contemporary artists and their work.

My goal is to appear at a diverse collective of events to reach an expansive, intergenerational audience. Strategically, I will develop a social media campaign gathering email addresses, Facebook friendships, and Instagram connections, and Twitter connections. This social media campaign will share a collective of pictures and messages telling the story of the ’43 in 67’ campaign, including its historical framing.

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I’ve selected three songs to perform throughout the ’43 in 67’ campaign:

  1. “If Detroit were Heaven,” an imaginative take on the people, places, and things that I feel would create the setting for Detroit if it were Heaven. This song makes reference to many of Detroit’s strong Black Power political and social figures prominent throughout the 1970s to 1990s.
  2. “It’s So Fresh,” is about my relationship with my maternal grandmother, women of my family, and older cousins. The song is told from my childhood perspective.
  3. “This is it What!” is about a hip-hop, word play-based song regarding my beliefs on metaphysical philosophy.

Detroit’s Eastern Market

in Around Detroit by

Every Saturday in the Spring, Summer and Fall I ride my bicycle to Eastern Market.  From my house on Detroit’s Westside to Detroit’s historic Eastern Market the ride is generally 18 to 20 miles there and back. Marciano Walton (who’s one of my best friends, and like an older brother to me) joins me. The bike ride takes us through my neighborhood, Highland Park, the Boston Edison district, the New Center area, Midtown Detroit, and Downtown Detroit. I find it refreshing to get an in depth look of Detroit from the perspective of pedaling through. On a bicycle I notice so much more of the people, businesses, happenings, and changes in the city. Closing the journey in Eastern Market I’m always finding new and creative people, foods, arts, plants, and things that are uniquely Detroit.

Peppers, Flowers, Lettuce & Peaches
Peppers, Flowers, Lettuce & Peaches

Eastern Market is an open farmers market. It welcomes hundreds of vendors selling a variety of primarily fruits and vegetables. I stock up on spinach, carrots, peppers (of all varieties), cabbage, greens, kale, celery, apples, grapefruit, grapes, pineapples, and pears (I follow my Grandma Vel’s rules with juicing, the greener the better). The quality of the fruits and vegetables for the pricing is amazing. You’ll feel like Popeye with fresh Michigan Spinach!

Along with produce Eastern Market’s Gratiot Central Market carries every type of meat you’d ever want to buy. Seafood, poultry, beef, and pork are comparable in price but premium in quality. The options of ground chicken, turkey, types of sausage, and bacons are keep the market bustling every weekend.

Vinetta Lloyd & I, Shop Play Love Store, and Berts Warehouse BBQ (Jai-Lee Dearing)
Vinetta Lloyd & Me, Shop Play Love Store, and Berts Warehouse BBQ (Jai-Lee Dearing)

My friend Vinetta Lloyd has a boutique that sells clothing & home accessories, and t-shirts. ‘Shop, Play, Love,’ is located in Bert’s Warehouse. Her boutique adds the artistic style of Detroit to Eastern Market.

My favorite place in Eastern Market is ‘Rocky’s.’ Rocky’s is a dry foods store that specializes in spices, candies, nuts, dry fruits, and sauces. My friend Mytao insisted I visit Rocky’s 2 years ago. Since my initial visit I haven’t gone a month without stocking up on spices, or trying new ones. Rocky’s carries a mix of no-salt, low-salt, world, and specialized spices. I encourage everybody to visit and help out your kitchen with some spices from Rocky’s.

Ife on the Drums (Every week he plays outside Rocky's a Detroit legend), Rocky's Greeter, Rocky's spices, and Mootown Creamery
Ife on the Drums (Every week he plays outside Rocky’s a Detroit legend), Rocky’s Greeter, Rocky’s spices, and Mootown Creamery

Another place I often enjoy is Mootown Creamery. It’s an Ice Cream shop. The family business also carries baked goods and home accessories. I think they make a perfect ‘Boston Cooler.’ The owner actually shares the story behind the original ice cream shop that was located in Detroit’s Boston & Edison district that brought the drink to fame. A Boston Cooler is a drink that blends a mix of Vanilla ice creams, Vernors soda, and ice. It’s uniquely Detroit, and definitely my favorite milk shake.

Eastern Market mural, Street performer, and flowers / Sax player
Eastern Market mural, Street performer, and flowers & Sax player

Growing up on Clements

in My Detroit Story by

As a child I grew up on Detroit’s North Westside close to the city of Highland Park. I lived at 1642 Clements next door to my Grandmother Motherdear. My earliest memories of friendships, playing, and establishing individuality began on Clements. It was a very unique setting that I feel has had a lasting effect on many of my life’s interactions today.

Throughout the mid 1980’s through the early 1990’s when our family lived on Clements there were 22 children in my age range. Beginning of course with my sister Dara, there was also Elizabeth, Apryl, Don, Juan, Carlos, Kenita, Brian, Andre, Big Andre, Aaron, Kenny Boy, Paradise, Fransoir, Raenita, Tashiana, Taquila, Shaniya, little Andre, Mike, Shawn, little James, and Teliya. Along with all these children many of our cousins in our age range would often spend summers on our block as well.

Everyday after school, and in the summer we all couldn’t wait to go outside and play. Football, pick em’ up mess em’ up, hide and go seek, tag, that’s my car, or just talk about each other. I believe my open nature, and personable attitude relates directly to the fact that at 7 years old I dealt with so many personalities and people. Our parents and grandparents all led different walks of life as well. Through the short visits, and talks with business people, unemployed workers, factory workers, retirees, fast food workers, teachers, entrepreneurs, hustlers, mechanics, and lunch aides, I had a loving cross section of society that viewed me as a friend of their children.

I remember in 1989, 90, and 91 drive-by shootings and gangs became more prevalent which put a new perspective to living on Clements. Little James’ father was the first drug dealer I ever knew of. He (Big James) and little James’ mother (who struggled with addiction) lived 2 doors away from my home on the corner. I remember Big James being always (kind of) at odds with my father. Big James let the neighborhood FOLKS (a gang: For Our Lord King Satan) use his home for drug trafficking, and partying through most nights. My Father felt as personable, and smart as Big James was he was wasting his talent. Also he felt the drug activity Big James introduced to our block was dangerous and disrespectful to a neighborhood which supported him and his family. I remember times when Big James could not afford heat, lights, and water and my family and others would send buckets of water to their home. This was always the balance for me to know that the biggest dopeman in my neighborhood borrowed water from his neighbors. Motherdear would always tell us (me and Dara) to stay away from the corner at all costs. That made the allure of going to the corner stronger.

There was also a strong presence of elders on Clements my Great Aunt Marie (who lived across the street), Mr. Male, Ms. McAfee (our babysitter), and Ms. Deemer all would sit on the porch talk to each other and eat fruits and vegetables through summer days. At times of the day you could cruise down Clements and see house after house with seniors eating Georgia pecans, watermelons, and grapes. Motherdear’s favorite (we often shared) was apples and peanut butter which till this day I often have as I reminisce visions of yesterday.

Me and my Big Sister Dara
Me and my Big Sister Dara

For 2 years my older cousin Vicki moved her family into our home on Clements which is a 2 family flat. Vicki married James, and had a daughter Donnah, and son Devin. Vicki was my Aunt Shirley’s eldest child, and James was her husband. James was a basketball star from Alabama who had family here in Detroit. James was a couple years younger than Vicki, and to me as a child one of the coolest people on earth. “James Laster was one of the best basketball players I’ve played against,” direct quote from Charles Barkley. James moved into our home, and within months put a basketball hoop in our backyard which changed my life on Clements.

Before James got our basketball rim we (the boys in the neighborhood) would primarily play pick em’ up mess em’ up. Pick em’ up mess em’ up is a game where you pick any object like an empty pop bottle and use this as a ball and run to the end of the backyard for a touchdown while everyone else attempts to gang tackle you. Everyday we’d end up hurting one another and rarely anyone would score a touchdown. It was fun tackling each other but not fun being hurt. So when I got a basketball rim in my backyard we started playing basketball. Every kid from blocks away that dreamed of being either MJ (Michael Jordan) or Isiah (Thomas) became my friend. I’d never played basketball, and was terrible for about 2 years. After 2 years I became one of the okay basketball players in my neighborhood.

One day when we were playing basketball talking shit like usual, Big Andre was calling all of us ‘dumb kids’ for playing 21. “Why?” I asked him, “You’re too young and don’t know how to play real basketball” was how Big Andre responded. That’s when I made the decision we’d make a team. The Detroit Flames were formed after big Andre left my backyard. “We can play basketball and Andre’s just being stupid. We have a court and I bet everybody would come to see us play” is what I told Don and Juan. The next day Don and Juan showed up with Carlos, Fransoir, and Teliya who all wanted to play. I told everybody, “This is perfect we can play 3 on 3 and have a real game.” Teliya said “I’m gone have to be Jordan, so I need 23” then he and Don started arguing over that and fighting. After we broke the fight up, I realized we needed jerseys. I came in the house asked my mom how can I get jerseys for my basketball game coming up. [My mom has always been reluctant at first mention of my creativity, but she later supported it.] In 2 days, she showed up with the biggest bag of Shoppers World summer shorts and tank tops I’ve ever seen. After she came back I gathered the teams and gave out the uniforms. After that, Carlos asked about the referee. I asked Don to ask his Uncle Benny. I assumed Benny would say yes, because he always bought us ice cream every time the ice cream truck came around. Benny gladly accepted the offer to referee the game. Then I named our team the Detroit Flames (Me, Teliya, little Andre) vs Clements (Carlos, Don, Juan) it was classic.

There were about 14 different types of lawn chairs in the sun with old people and a couple of girls. This was the first time everybody was playing with girls watching so we couldn’t look bad. Ms Theresa who lived across the street made hot dogs and my mom bought Bettermades and Hawaiian Punch for everybody. The game began as I led everyone in the Black National Anthem which I learned from my time at Nataki Talibah. After that we played one of the sloppiest basketball games ever played. Travels, doubles, carries, fouls, but we had fun. The game went to 30 points with 1 and 2 point baskets. My team won the game but it was very close. I remember after the game cleaning up then playing basketball all night because I and Carlos didn’t want to stop.

It was rare that we could all play for so long without any fights or anybody quitting. As the seniors, girls, and my parents looked on it felt like we were professionals. At this time in our lives some of the most important people we all knew were watching us play a game we played for fun. My father vividly remembers the way all the guys followed my instructions to clean up the backyard, make posters, invite fans, and get support. My Dad felt it was odd for a 10 year old to manage a group of other guys his age whereas I felt it was the same as playing with my friends as I always have. It is definitely one of my fondest memories on Clements.

7-3-2014 WAE Music A

Dear Summer, I know you gone miss me/ For we been together like Nike Airs and crisp tees

in Coming Attractions by

“Dear Summer, I know you gone miss me/ For we been together like Nike Airs and crisp tees” Jay – Z Dear Summer

Thank you all for the response and love. Detroit is Different thus far is being encouraged by you all. I’ve gathered more support and appreciate it.

The July 2014 theme is ‘Summer.’ I’m going to share more music, stories, and places that have captured a Detroit Summer (shout out to Jenny Lee and the students at Detroit Summer!).


Also in July I begin my artistic campaign “43 in 67.” “43 in 67” is an artistic venture in which I will perform a series of 43 presentations in 67 days. The title of the campaign is inspired by the Detroit uprisings of 1943 and 1967.

The ’43 in 67’ campaign will start Wednesday, July 23, and close Saturday, September 27.The starting event is still to be determined. The closing event will be my theatrical-style Detroit narrative ‘If Detroit were Heaven.’ This will be held at the 5e Hip-hop Art Gallery in the First Unitarian-Universalist Church of Detroit located at 4605 Cass Ave. in Detroit’s Wayne State University district.  The gallery is an alternative multidisciplinary arts organization that presents and supports contemporary artists and their work.

My goal is to appear at a diverse collective of events to reach an expansive, intergenerational audience. Strategically, I will develop a social media campaign gathering email addresses, Facebook friendships, and Instagram, and Twitter followers. This social media campaign will share a collective of pictures and messages telling the story of the ’43 in 67’ campaign, including its historical framing.

I’ve selected three songs to perform throughout the ’43 in 67’ campaign:

  1. “If Detroit were Heaven,” an imaginative take on the people, places, and things that I feel would create the setting for Detroit if it were Heaven. This song makes reference to many of Detroit’s strong Black Power political and social figures prominent throughout the 1970s to 1990s.
  1. “It’s So Fresh,” is about my relationship with my maternal grandmother, women of my family, and older cousins. The song is told from my childhood perspective.
  1. “This is it What!” is about a hip-hop, word play-based song regarding my beliefs on metaphysical philosophy.

Detroit is Different July 2014 “Summer”

COMING ATTRACTIONS (Tuesday’s & Thursday’s):

TUES JULY 1, 2014/ ARTICLE: COMING ATTRACTIONS

THUR JULY 3, 2014/ MY DETROIT STORY: Growing up on Clements

TUES JULY 8, 2014/ WAE MUSIC: “Hot Summer Nights”

THUR JULY 10, 2014/ BACKGROUND & BREAKDOWN: “Hot Summer Nights”

TUES JULY 15, 2014/ AROUND DETROIT: Eastern Market

THUR JULY 17, 2014/ AROUND DETROIT: Deloris Bennett Park

TUES JULY 22, 2014/ WHAT IF: What if Boblo Expanded

THUR JULY 24, 2014/ 7 O’CLOCK SATURDAY STORIES PREVIEW: TBA

SAT JULY 26, 2014/ 7 O’CLOCK SATURDAY STORIES: TBA

TUES JULY 29, 2014/ DETROIT IS DIFFERENT PODCAST: TBA

THUR JULY 31, 2014/ DETROIT LOOK: If Detroit were Heaven Photography

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