For the past few months, I’ve wrestled with the idea of writing this post. A few months ago, I read a piece written by Nolan Finley titled, “Where are the black people?” The editorial took a look at black involvement in Detroit’s booming developments. At first, I have to admit – and with no shade to Mr. Finley – I was shocked that he actually wrote this piece. Normally his views on various topics are often different from my own. But I commend him for giving the conversation some major spotlight. As a matter of fact, I wrote a similar DVoice piece in October 2014 which came out previous to his.
As a Detroiter first and Midtown resident second, I do get excited about certain projects happening in the area. Yes, I was excited for HopCat to open. But I wasn’t excited enough about “Crack Fries” to stand in line at 5 a.m. I love french fries, but the only time I’m getting up that early is if my wife yells “Fire!,” a vacation or if Beyonce’ says my name.
A quick caveat… I have a thing for designer/colorful socks. The good thing about them is they make a great fashion statement, and they are easy to spot in the laundry. But every now and then, I will ask my wife, “Where are my socks?” In her very confident voice, she replies, “Did you look for them?” Eventually I walk away in laughter because I know I didn’t give any effort in looking for them. Then with little effort, I eventually discover what I’m looking for.
Without effort, I can easily list a number of new and established black-owned businesses that have contributed to Detroit’s resurgence. I’m always tempted to provide a list of where we (black people) and our successful ventures in the D may be because so many people see it as a difficult task.
Let’s take a look at some amazing ventures in the D such as The N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art led by one of the coolest and smartest guys in Detroit, George N’Namdi. If you’re looking for a home, try the Midtown-based City Living Detroit founded by Austin Black II. Are you looking for a cool spot to grab a bite to eat? Try The Grille Midtown at the Woodward Gardens Block Development. They have the best grilled cheese I have ever consumed. It’s also pretty cool to note that the entire Woodward Gardens Block Development is black-owned. Not only does it include The Grille Midtown, but also the 61-unit, mixed-use Woodward Garden Apartments and the popular Garden Theater.
So yes, there will always be a need for more black-owned businesses in Detroit’s development. It’s extremely important to the city’s growth. But let’s not exclude the ones that are here. Let’s support them. And if we aren’t at a certain location or function, don’t just ask where we are. Look for us. It’s possible that we may be somewhere else.