The people of Michigan aren’t afraid despite what you may have heard.
Look at this image and study the faces, see the pride and joy on each one of them and then just imagine you can taste the smoky flavor of barbecued ribs that’s floating thru the streets. This man calls himself the Latin Lover and he does hip-hop like I have never experienced it before.
All we hear said about Michigan these days is that the economy is in the poop-er, unemployment may reach 20 percent and GM has called it quits. Well, forget everything you’ve heard because this girl has something to say that may just change your mind. She took a little road trip to the Motor City this weekend and it taught her a thing or two about the great people of this state. This journey restored her faith in the spirit and resiliency of our people here in Michigan. We are alive and well in spirit and talent and we aren’t giving up!
Yeah, all the produce looked this good. It was a beautiful sight!
For years I have been saying that I wanted to visit the Eastern Market for a little fresh produce, blooming flowers and ethnic food. This market is right in the heart of Detroit and it’s not very well publicised throughout the state. I conned a few family members into taking the hour and a half trip to the city with me and I’m glad I did. I couldn’t believe what I saw, what I had been missing and how I felt when I left. There was a lot of ethnic food ( we ate at the Taste of Ethiopia) and more beautiful produce under one roof than I had ever seen. The miles of gorgeous flowers were irresistible but they weren’t what inspired me most.
This woman is Jackie Wilson’s daughter. He was a Detroit native who’s voice got him inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Her singing of “God Bless the Child who’s got his Own” shook me to my core.
I arrived at the market that morning not feeling particularly good or hopeful about Michigan and it’s future but what I experienced that day changed my mind forever. Although I live a short drive from the Motor City where Motown began and the car industry thrived, I’m ashamed to say that I never really took the time to experience the talent and the energy that made Michigan, magic. I was more concerned with the west side of the state with it’s trendy shops and the beautiful beaches of Lake Michigan.
This is Alfonse Lawrence AKA The Maker. Alfonse played the inner city clubs starting at the age of 16 but took a job as a tool and die maker when disco moved in, hence his nickname “The Maker” but after 30 years in the trades he’s back and has just put out his first cd. He was tucked away on a back street making R & B music and it was wonderful. I bought his cd “Evidence of a Party” and enjoyed his soulful sound all the way home.
After milling around the endless rows of flowers and vegetables and other wares that artisans had to offer we made our way to the Motown Room to sit at the sidewalk cafe/bar for a spell. With a drink in hand and a comfy seat I experienced raw talent like I had never seen before. I am both amazed and proud of the people who call Detroit their home.
The singers performing were just people off the street that took to the microphone and rocked the crowd. As the music played people got up and moved to the sound without a care about who may be watching. There were kids break- dancing and a woman in her eighties that grooved her heart out.
In this spot not one person was thinking about GM’s failures, the rising unemployment rate or the shrinking value of their home. There were more smiles per inch than I ever remember seeing in one place. The talent of these every day people who took to the microphone was unbelievable. Now I know why Motown is a legend and Detroit was and still should be a proud place to call home. The people weren’t afraid to be themselves and the support they received was both inspiring and beautiful. There was pride, individuality and talent that mingled with the smoke of freshly barbecued ribs that slowly wafted over the buildings and out of sight.
Are you hungry yet? You should be. The mesmerising smell of smoked meat invaded every one of my senses.
I left there feeling as though I had seen the true Michigan and understood for the very first time the spirit and tenacity that made our state a great place to call home.
Here’s the princess grooving with great-grandma.
I hope you feel inspired to check out some great places and people in your state this summer. You might be surprised by what is just around the corner.
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