Hello, Detroit--By Sammy Davis Jr.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Culture of Detroit

The culture of Detroit, Michigan, has been closely associated with various forms of popular music in the 20th century, notably with Motown. The city's culture has also been associated with the automobile, as well as by the large role industry plays in the city's economy.

Music and performing arts
Music has been the dominant feature of Detroit's nightlife since the late 1940s. The metropolitan area boasts two of the top live music venues in the U.S. DTE Energy Music Theatre (formerly Pine Knob) was the most attended summer venue in the U.S. in 2005 for the fifteenth consecutive year, while The Palace of Auburn Hills ranked twelfth, according to music industry source Pollstar. Detroit's major performance centers include Orchestra Hall home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Opera House, the Fox Theatre, Masonic Temple Theatre, the Fisher Theatre, and the Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Through the 1950s Detroit was a jazz center with stars of the era often came to Detroit's Black Bottom neighborhood to perform.One highlight of Detroit's musical history was Motown Records success during the 1960s and early 1970s, founded in Detroit by Berry Gordy, Jr. and home to popular recording acts including Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross & the Supremes. Also during the late 1960s, Detroiter Aretha Franklin became America's preeminent female soul artist, recording on the competing Atlantic Records label.

In the late 1960s, Metro Detroit was the epicenter for high-energy rock music with (MC5 and Iggy and the Stooges), the precursors of the punk rock movement. Rock acts from southeast Michigan that enjoyed success in the 1970s were Bob Seger, Ted Nugent & The Amboy Dukes, Alice Cooper, The Romantics and Grand Funk Railroad as well as more recent acts like Marshall Crenshaw, Kid Rock, The White Stripes, The Von Bondies and Madonna. The Detroit area is also generally accepted as the birthplace of the Techno movement, which has grown from local radio and clubs to dance venues worldwide. The three musicians most frequently credited with giving birth to Techno are Derrick May, Juan Atkins, and Kevin Saunderson. Detroit hip hop rose to prominence in the late nineties with the emergence of Eminem. Other Detroit hip-hop artists include Insane Clown Posse, Aaliyah, D12, Royce Da 5'9" Teairra Mari, Obie Trice,Trick Trick, Rock Bottom, Street Lord'z and the late Blade Icewood, Slum Village.

The Renaissance Center's Winter Garden is the site of the annual "Fash Bash", a major fashion event traditionally held in August. Coordinated by the Detroit Institute of Arts, the event features celebrities and models showcasing the latest fashion trends.

In 1991, a cultural phenomenon began among hair salons which evolved into the Detroit Hair Wars. A showcase of fantastical hair piece creations, often using human hair as the main content, has since become a national trend among African-American hair-styling tours.

Festivals and events
Detroit has three major events that are associated with the automobile industry: the North American International Auto Show (January), Society of Automotive Engineers world congress (April) and the Woodward Dream Cruise (August). Annual music events in the city include the DEMF/Movement/Fuse-In electronic music festival (May), Ford Detroit International Jazz Festival (September), and the Concert of Colors, a summer music festival. The Comerica CityFest is traditionally held in the New Center area around Independence Day.

The Windsor-Detroit International Freedom Festival features a fireworks display over the Detroit International Riverfront and coincides with U.S. Independence day (July 4) and Canada Day (July 1). The Tastefest and Detroit Thunder Fest hydroplane race take place in July. Detroit Fashion Week happens in August. The America's Thanksgiving Parade, originally the Hudson's Thanksgiving Day Parade, is one of the nation's largest and has been held continuously since 1924.

The day before Ash Wednesday, or the festival of Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday, is more frequently celebrated locally as "Paczki Day" by the large Polish population. Many Metro Detroiters join in the festivity by indulging in jelly-filled donuts called paczkis.

Founded in 1907 by two Russian immigrant brothers in Detroit, Faygo pop remains a Detroit tradition. Detroit was also the birthplace of Vernors ginger ale, the longest-surviving soft drink in the United States, Better Made potato chips and the Coney Island restaurant.

The Bayview Yacht Club sponsors the annual Port Huron to Mackinac Boat Race as well as a number of other regional and local regattas.

Recently added events include the Motown Winter Blast in February and the Detroit River Days celebration in June.

Black culture
The City of Detroit has had a large and thriving black community since the 1920s, when many African Americans moved to northern cities to find work in the then-booming industrial sector. This Great Migration continued through the 1960s. Paradise Valley and Black Bottom were early centers of black culture in the city, which were later leveled to build a freeway and high income apartments. By the mid-1970s, African Americans formed more than half the city's population.

Many black churches are located in the city, including the historic Second Baptist Church, which assisted runaway slaves. A monument to the Underground Railroad was erected in 2001 at Hart Plaza downtown.

The Shrine of the Black Madonna of the Pan-African Orthodox Christian Church was founded in 1953 by the Rev. Albert B. Cleage. Rev. Cleage was an influential figure in the Black Power Movement both nationally and locally. One of the churches' institutions is the Shrine of the Black Madonna Cultural Center & Bookstore, one of the nation's oldest black-owned bookstores.
The Graystone International Jazz Museum documents
jazz in Detroit.

In 1959, Berry Gordy founded Motown Records, one of the first black-owned record labels. Over the next decade, a number of top artists, including The Supremes, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, signed with the label. The company relocated to Los Angeles in 1972, but the city has seen new movements develop since then, including disco, funk, and hip hop music.

Detroit has produced a large number of black athletes. Perhaps the most legendary is Joe Louis, heavyweight boxing champion from 1937 to 1949. Louis is memorialized with a sculpture of a giant fist at the intersection of Jefferson and Woodward Avenues, as well as in the name of Joe Louis Arena.

Detroit has an emerging section of hip hop artists from the inner city, such as: Blade Icewood, the Street Lord'z, Tone-Tone, Y.B.I., Trick-Trick, Big Herk, and Rock Bottom
Detroit has a reputation as one of the finest centers of soul food in Michigan, with a number of highly-regarded establishments.

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Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) By Marvin Gaye

Dah, dah, dah, dah
dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah

Rockets, moon shots
Spend it on the have nots
Money, we make it
Fore we see it you take it

Oh, make you wanna holler
The way they do my life
Make me wanna holler
The way they do my life
This ain't livin', This ain't livin'
No, no baby, this ain't livin'
No, no, no

Inflation no chance
To increase finance
Bills pile up sky high
Send that boy off to die

Oh, make me wanna holler
The way they do my life
Make me wanna holler
The way they do my life

Dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah

Hang ups, let downs
Bad breaks, set backs
Natural fact is
I can't pay my taxes

Oh, make me wanna holler
And throw up both my hands
Yea, it makes me wanna holler
And throw up both my hands

Crime is increasingTrigger happy policing
Panic is spreading
God knows where we're heading
Oh, make me wanna holler
They don't understand

Dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah

Mother, motherEverybody thinks we're wrong
Who are they to judge us
Simply cause we wear our hair long

Detroit's Downtown

Don't Look Back Detroit, Keep on Pushing

Detroit as the Temptations hae said, we have to keep on pushing and not look back. We have to leave all our troubles behind us and look forward to a brighter future for not only the citizens of Detroit but the city of Detroit. We have to keep on walking Detroit and keep on pushing forward as we leave our past behind. Stall Tall Detroit and look for a future of Greatness as we as Detroiters strive and survive together.