Detroit Hip-hop has roots that reach through the 1990s, connecting rappers, producers, and DJs. DJ Butter was one of the first hip-hop DJs with an official mixtape, I remember. Kill the DJ was an album he pressed up thousands of albums independently distributing and marketing. In this Detroit is Different interview, we discuss J Dilla, Proof, his start in Highland Park with hip-hop, and more. Today DJ Butter helps anchor the work of J Dilla and others. He joins me for a Detroit is Different interview while in town visiting from the West Coast to produce a concert with Boldy James.
Mentorship and seeking brotherhood were tenets of life that guided Greg G Mac McKenzie at an early age. The master emcee of hip-hop helping lead vocals for Detroit’s eclectically African-centered band experience of Mollywop opens up about his journey as a child. Boxing, hip-hop, and joining a gang were his understandings of brotherhood until destiny connected him with the Alekebulan Village. In this Detroit is Different we talk about how his past was an anchor for today.
T Barb’s laugh, smile, and joking style have been a beckon of light in tough times and a gateway for business opportunities. The lifelong Detroiter groomed in the Mackenzie neighborhood is now a national brand. The Vegan Chef, Author, Business Consultant, and Comedian are hats she wears, but her personality anchor her in any things. Learning about her journey through a rougher childhood connected her to becoming a social worker. See what an invitation to a comedy night connected her to a new passion and more. T Barb is a creative offering the feel, energy, and thought of making the irony of Detroit life into comedy.
The original interview with Charlie Becham was fun, engaging, and eye-opening. Today he is back to talk more about his life story. The one-man stage play is now a film shown on Thursday, November 11, 2021, at 7 pm at the Charles H Wright Museum. His story opens up about the targeting of leaders and public officials under a microscope from the FBI. This interview explores in more detail the roles public officials play in Detroit politics. This is another piece of the puzzle into the wit, character, and savvy of being smart while honoring public service. Charlie Becham is a Detroit signature in 6 Mayoral administrations, and one of the best Detroit is Different interviews.
Yasmin Majid was inspired by her neighborhood. As a child, the legacy of Langston Hughes, witnessing her family support Malcolm X, and watching the start of the Black Panther Party reach New York inspired her. Yasmin’s work with the Party placed her in journalism assisting with the Panther Paper, information dissemination, and supporting artists. Working alongside the likes of Assata Shakur and Afeni Shakur, Yasmin is part of the strength of the legacy of Brilliant Sisters that led the Panther Party. Today her work is centered around freeing the many political prisoners that were nation-building and community organizing for the Black Panther Party. In this fruitful discussion, we speak on women in the Black Panther Party, Political Prisoners, and the role the Black Panther Party plays with the Langston Hughes Library. Yasmin Majid blesses Detroit is Different with information and grace.
Harold Taylor is from Black Los Angeles. Taylor’s swagger and vibe ooze the essence of the LA street smarts well aware of Black consciousness. Taylor was a comrade and soldier in arms with the late LA Black Panther Party leader Bunchy Carter. Taylor’s work organizing churches for the breakfast program and recruiting attendants for the political education classes placed him in high regard throughout Los Angeles. In this interview, Taylor opens up about Bunchy Carter, community organizing, and Black Los Angeles of the 1960s. Harold Taylor shares perspective and vision in this interview of what was, is, and can be with Detroit is Different.
Arthur League was born in Tennessee. Growing as a child in the American South through the 50’s and 60’s being Black instilled discipline and willingness in Arthur. From TN his journey landed him in Los Angeles where he was drawn to the Black Panther Party. Protecting the neighborhood against destructive elements of dope pushers and Police brutality was the work of the Black Panther Party Arthur took up. A month after joining the Party he faced the charges and conviction of firing and fighting officers. Upon his release from incarceration, Arthur has stayed true to revolutionary works. His Detroit connection and bond with Yusef Shakur was sparked more than 10 years ago at the United States Social Forum. Arthur League joins Detroit is Different to talk about Community and more in this candid interview.
Colleen Ivana Jones, also known as Vonnie Pill, is a less seasoned Detroiter that is making a big impact on the city’s art scene. She is the art director for the Juneteenth Jubilee Detroit Committee, a proprietor of Lifted Literacy and Arts organization as well as Luxana Body & Locs. She is very adamant about including and uplifting local artists by creating events that will showcase the talent Detroit has to offer. Within this interview, she highlights her artistic influences, her talented family, the power of words, and her journey as a “functional artist.”