Capturing the culture that makes Detroit what it is.

7 o’Clock Saturday Stories: Malik Yakini

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Saturday April 26, 2014 I welcome you to join me for the inaugural Detroit is Different event, 7 o’clock Saturday Stories. 7 o’clock Saturday Stories is an hour long conversation between myself and a guest.

Over time I have developed relationships with a mix of people bridging gaps in gender, race, generation, culture and background. This mix has only expanded my perspective of Detroiters, and the collective Detroit story.

7 o’clock Saturday Stories inaugural guest is Malik Yakini. 7 o’clock Saturday Stories will be held at Le Petit Zinc Restaurant in Detroit’s historic Corktown district at 1055 Trumbull St Detroit MI 48216. ‘7 o’clock Saturday Stories’ is a free event that starts at 7PM and welcomes guests of all ages.

Malik Yakini is a person I admire for his vision, work and dedication. Yakini has committed himself to a family of people throughout Detroit’s community. Visions, work and dedications he’s initiated are Nsoroma Institute, Black Star Community Book Store, Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, D Town Farm, and Akoben Reggae Band. Each initiative is genuinely dynamic and fruitful. Every project he’s involved in has empowered, supported, and championed Black people.

Akoben Reggae Band and Malik Yakini with Nsoroma Institute students
Akoben Reggae Band and Malik Yakini with Nsoroma Institute students

Nsoroma Institue was an African centered school based in Detroit city. Nsoroma Institute focused on teaching elementary and middle school students the legacies, traditions, and culture of African people from 1989 through 2011.

Black Star Community Book Store was a book store located in Detroit’s historic fashion district on Livernois Ave at W Outer Drive. Black Star carried a collection of art work, books, music, jewelry and visual art that expressed African and African American culture.

Detroit Black Community Food Security Network was formed in February of 2006 to address food insecurity in Detroit’s Black community, and to organize members of that community to play a more active leadership role in the local food security movement.

D Town Farm was planted in June 2008, the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network acquired use of a two acre site in the City of Detroit’s Meyers’ Tree Nursery in Rouge Park as the home for D-Town Farm.

Akoben Reggae Band is a revolutionary Detroit reggae band. Akoben creates music with a focus in uplifting people and freedom.

Malik Yakini playing guitar, D Town Farm Turnips, Grandfather Yakini and grandaughter Niara
Malik Yakini playing guitar, D Town Farm Turnips, Grandfather Yakini and grandaughter Niara

I personally have known Malik Yakini for over 25 years. I was a student at Aisha Shule when we met. Yakini was an instructor (he was my big sister Dara’s math teacher). Then, and today, I’ve always called him ‘Baba Malik.’ Baba Malik has also been a big supporter of my hip-hop artistry. In 2006, I considered quitting rap altogether. It was a performance at his annual Black Star Community Book Store music festival that recommitted me. The crowd reception and appreciation was astounding.

Black Star Community Book Store also hosted a fundraiser I held for my first album ‘Preaching to the Choir’ in 2007. It was one of my favorite shows ever. The honorable JoAnn Watson, Rev. Ortheia Barnes, Blues Man Paul Miles, Eric Campbell, Nadir Omowale, Early Mac, Idris Weusi, and a collection of kids I rapped with all joine me. I rehearsed and wrote a rap with the kids. I coined the group ‘my little homies.’ I raised a strong amount of money. Even better, the rap with the kids was too much fun. Maria, Jendayi, and Tamia all held me down (then they were all in elementary and now they’re preparing to take the ACT). My cousin Devin Laster, sister Dara Harper and Father Greg Frazier all submitted visual art I auctioned off as well.

Finally, I’ve recorded music with Baba Malik and his son Andwele ‘Money Wells’ Yakini.

Malik Yakini is a very perceptive and intentional speaker. I feel opening up 7 o’clock Saturday Stories with him will be remarkable. Please join us for this creative conversation.

This event will also be audio recorded and released as a podcast on the i-Tunes network Tuesday April 29 2014.

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