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Introduction - page 4

From Enslavement to Empowerment the Story of Tusk Liquor Brand

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Elephants travel in packs and as a family. The story of the Tusk liquor brand connects deeply to that concept on many levels. Maurice ‘Mo’ Morton shares the story of how land originally purchased after his ancestors’ enslavement created Tusk spirits. After enslavement, Mo’s great 5x grandparents purchased over 50 acres of land stolen through racial discrimination and later returned to the family in 1906. The disconnect from the farm in Halifax, VA, only recently brought the family back to tend the land. Upon wishes of Mo’s grandfather to his living decedent daughter, retired from the federal government and committed to not sale, lease, or lease her family’s land. Today collectively, the family built a hemp farming business that now produces Tusk spirits of vodka and rum. In this interview, hear the dynamic story of ingenuity, family, and entrepreneurship. At the Garden Theater, Tusk was another favorite at the inaugural Taste of Black Spirits event on Saturday, February 19, 2022.

Tusk Spirits Rum & Vodka produced from Hemp seed | | Halifax, VA | Instagram: @tusk_the_brand |

For Kings Not Gods is the Vodka and Whiskey Made in Detroit

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For Kings Not Gods is the brand launched by Greg Martinez Jr. The Southwest Detroit native spent his first career building a growing automotive business and now is into the business of liquor. FKNG will undoubtedly lead to what you think, but it’s a perfect brand for the Whiskey & Vodka that carries the name. Listen to how the brand and business began and is expanding daily. FKNG Vodka & Whiskey took the stage at the inaugural Taste of Black Spirits Saturday, February 19, 2022, at the Garden Theater.

FKNG – For Kings Not Gods Vodka & Bourbon | | Detroit, MI | Instagram: @fkngvodka  @fkngbourbon

Dr. Kenfense Chike shares knowledge from his Ph.D. in African Centered Education & Africana Studies in American Education

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Dr. Kenfense Chike joins Detroit is DIfferent for a fruitful interview about African Centered Education. His personal experience teaching at Aisha Shule and NSOROMA Institute only drove his Ph.D. on the topic. Currently, he is one of the eight instructors leading the Black Education Workshop Series hosted by Alkebu-lan Village every Saturday through March 26, 2022, 8:30 am – 1:30 pm (at Alkebu-lan Village & Online virtually). We discuss the call to action for African Centered Education and the spiritual values, confidence, and knowledge. Dr. Chike also shares what it took for these institutions to start. He provides how his Academia journey began from the Wayne State University protest for Black Studies on campus. How the Aisha Shule’s Pyramid Performing Theater African Drum and Dance supported the students protesting and locking themselves in at WSU sparked his interest. Kenfense explains how African Centered Education is a movement from revolution and the fight for independent schools (Freedom Schools). The Black and Brown people in this land want to build their children up with self-knowledge. Dr. Chike shares the naming brand of Aisha Shule; being a home for ‘the Gifted Child’ was a foundation of value. The spiritual sustenance African Centered Education provides a whole family.

From Dayton to Detroit and the world of music, film, and performance for Tamara Jewel

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Based on a True Story (BOATS) is the ep debut album effort from vocalist Tamara Jewel. Jewel’s vocals lace the soundtrack of many of Detroit’s most known hip-hop anthems (Payroll Giovanni, MJ the Don, and many others) and at the start of 2022 she released her first solo work. In this Detroit is Different interview we explore her start from Dayton OH (another D) to come to Detroit. The choir, church, poetry beginnings that led to her embracing the stage today are what sparked her journey connecting her creativity to the world. Jewel talks about the collective work of writing songs in unions with other artists and how to ensure the business is taken care of. BOATS is Jewel’s personal effort mixing personal experience and artistry to give songs like ‘Mr. Rebound’ and ‘If it Aint Love.’ Jewel’s approach to the studio and work ethic of recording for self and production is her love and science. Finally, learn about Tamara’s love for acting on stage and film as well.

Los Angeles, New York, and Leeds Alabama impact the approach of his art but Devin Laster’s Detroit roots center his Actions

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Watercolors and acrylics are the paints Devin Laster loves. Laster’s Pop Art collection has featured Beyonce, Wolverine, the Obama Family, and many more. His take on colors, shadows, and shapes adds character to all people he captures. In this Detroit is Different feature we explore so much of what has led Devin to his passions. Devin’s first love for acting and performance began while attending Cass Tech learning under the tutelage of the historic Ms. McCormick. Devin shares what he learned then appearing in the Cass Tech production of School Daze and so much more. Devin provides insight on how being present of mind and availability through production has led to more and more opportunities. Living in Los Angeles now and formerly living in New York City, Devin opens up about the New York and Harlem feel. How working on the ‘Sweeter without Sugar’ film provided him a film credit at the age of 17. Finally, Devin talks about his current short film projects connecting him to work with Studio Lumumba and others.

Shimekia Nichols shares how Green Justice, Family, Education, and Community Work is African-Centered

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Living, working, and raising a family in Highland Park has committed Shimekia Nichols to a mission larger than just her own. The Executive Director of Souladarity has rich roots grounded from her family’s background in Detroit’s Southwest neighborhood 48217, known for being the most environmentally polluted zip code in Michigan. After that, in keeping pace with her creative, African-centered, and knowledge-seeking mother, Shimekia followed suit. An Aisha Shule & W.E.B. DuBois Preparatory Academy graduate Shimekia’s African-centered orientation to the world is put to the test as she and her organization work to restore the streetlights that were repossessed by DTE Energy in 2011. In this interview, she shares stories of her experience at Aisha Shule, one of the first African-centered institutions in the state; and the instruction there assisting in her confidence and journey. Shimekia shares how traditional 9-5 work left her disinterested and unfulfilled. The void led her to volunteer at D Town Farms, Detroit Food Security Network, and We The People Detroit. Witnessing the unified effort, peopled pace and strategic brilliance of Baba Malik Yakini and Monica Lewis Patrick inspired the path Shimekia walks today. Today she leads Souladarity, a small but mighty non-profit housed in Highland Park that has become a locally and nationally recognized leader in energy democracy that aims to be a model of energy resilience and Just-transition toward clean and community-owned solar. This movement in red, black, and Green environmental justice is a journey she shares as a Black woman with the goal of liberating divested communities and empowering them to become self-determining and subject matter experts in the solutions that address their own needs. Shimekia remains humble as she provides an understanding and balances style when it comes to the Black community and the Green Justice movement.

African Centered Family, Education, & Food are Jefani Edison’s Orientation

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Faniz Bites is the brainchild of Jefani Edison. The daughter of one of Detroit’s premier attorneys (Jeff Edison) has a business in meal prep, seasonings, and catering. Jefani opens up about her upbringing with parents centered in Pan-Africanism. Jefani talks about her love for Nataki Talibah and Howard University. Learn about her perspective on the similarities and differences between the chocolate city of Washington DC and Detroit. Jefani shares about her time working and managing LePetit Zinc as a Black woman operating a French restaurant in Detroit owned by a Black woman (Karima Sorel). Finally, Jefani talks about her business and how to connect with and her seasonings. Get a better understanding of how she personalizes meals for diets, taste, people that don’t cook, and people that can’t cook.


Deolis Allen III opens up about guiding the minds of Young Black Men navigating Today

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Michigan is a mid-western heartland welcoming people worldwide for beautiful Autumns, rich apples & cherries, and American tradition. The essence of the state through the lens of a Black Man magnifies the dual consciousness highlighted in literature by Ralph Ellison, Amiri Baraka, Richard Wright, Yusef Shakur, and many more. Deolis Allen III joined Detroit is Different to share his story giving an insightful perspective to this all. Allen was born in Ann Arbor as his parents finished their collegiate journeys at the University of Michigan. Allen’s parents eventually settled in the Highland Park community to stand as a presence of intellect, value, and success inside a Black community. Allen opens up about Cass Tech, Eastern Michigan University, and the role of Black men in the community. He provides a grand historical overview of the relationship between young men and older men. A member, facilitator, and teacher of the Better Men Outreach program, Allen shares how basketball has been a key in developing relationships and instilling value into young Black men of Detroit.

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