I took some time away to sit back and observe my hometown. I watched as Detroiters walked like zombies through Thanksgiving and Christmas. Although most of us found jobs near the end of 2012, nobody is making what they use to. We were ecstatic to see 2013! All the negative press of the 2012 hung around us like thick morning fog and we were anxious to put it behind us. Yet here in March, the future of Detroit is still very much unclear.
Detroit has now been officially declared a financial disaster area. Governor Snyder is set to announce an Emergency Financial Manager for the city of Detroit any day now even though the Emergency Financial Manager law was voted down in elections last November. How you like that for democracy? It wasn’t like City Council and previous 3 Mayors didn’t know the city was going broke. It just seems like every other bit of foolishness was more important. Like chasing women, fighting with each other, and listening to Marvin Winans complain about strip clubs. City Council is now fighting to keep an Emergency Financial Manager out of Detroit while current Mayor Dave Bing is opening the door. The City Council feels it Detroit doesn’t need a EFM (Emergency Financial Manager) and can fix its financial problems on its own. If that is true, this should have been prevented a long time ago. The current City Council should put more effort into finding solutions and let those solutions speak for themselves. Mayor Bing has acknowledged that Detroit needs help and has conceded that an EFM maybe necessary. In short, what Governor Snyder wants, Governor Snyder gets. This has made Bing very unpopular among Detroit’s citizens.
The people have a right to be upset. Not only with Mayor Bing, but also City Council. And not just current Mayor and City Council, past elected officials as well. Can’t blame it all on Kwame. Detroit is too large to operate at a loss for so long. Once the economy took a downturn, Detroit became a dry riverbed with all its flaws exposed. Now in 2013, the citizens must be forced to lie in that bed. Holla if you hear me.
Greetings people!!! I hope everyone is still praying for our city. Judging by the news, we need it now more than ever. I know many of you are angry and discouraged by the actions of a few, but good people still make up the majority of our city. Now, onto the business at hand!
In a prior blog I envisioned 2012 as a big year for Michigan artists. It appears that I was right. Kai Mann released “30 Day Notice” and Andrea Daniel released “Like Gwendolyn” earlier this year. Both books received great reviews. Also, the anticipated Indie film “Sext Messaging” began filming here in Detroit; at the end of February. However, March is bringing in the big guns!
Motown Writer’s Network founder Sylvia Hubbard is releasing her latest book, “Hope Is Love”. This Saturday, March 10th, you can get your hands on a copy and meet with Sylvia at Tom’s Oyster Bar on Jefferson in Downtown Detroit. Sylvia has published 28 books prior to this one and promises to release at least one more before the year is over. This is pretty extra-ordinary for a single mother of three!
March also has another female powerhouse throwing around her literary weight. Fresh off tour performing in the Netherlands with the Dutch group Wunderbraun, poet and singer Rosemarie Wilson is ready to release her second book entitled “Out of Darkness into Light”; and I had the pleasure of reviewing this book ahead of time. If you want to know what I thought of it, you can read my review on the back cover of the book! Also, on March 16th at Manila Bay Café, Rosemarie Wilson will be hosting her Birthday/Book Signing and Release Party. I will definitely be in the building!!
This year is starting off great for our authors and artists, but I have one question, where are our male authors? C’mon fellas, let’s step it up… Including me!!!! I am currently working on my debut piece, but in the meantime, let’s support our entire family of Detroit artists. Only by supporting each other can we become great as a whole! Holla if you hear me!!
February 4th was an ordinary day for most , but for the Belle Isle Aquarium, it was the most important day since it’s closing in 2005. For one day only they were open with actual fish; donated from various private collections. Although they only had eight tanks up and running, the most important thing on the minds of the volunteers, was giving life to one of Detroit’s most cherished landmarks. The volunteers worked long and hard to give the aquarium a proper spit and polish. Belle Isle Conservatory Board Member Vance Patrick has been a long time champion for the aquarium and told me “We got in panic mode 6 months ago.” Patrick along with curator Gary Balduc made sure that the tanks were in tip-top shape for their aquatic inhabitants. All the hard work paid off as Mr. Patrick opened the front door to the aquarium and over 5o faces peered at him through the glass; anxious to enter.
The people kept coming and coming. In the first hour, 400 people made their way through the doors and the line increased by the minute. People in Detroit were finally getting a piece of their history back and they were not going to miss their chance to experience it. The weather was beautiful and it made standing in line that much easier. Some waited over an hour. Gabriel Girard of Detroit said “It’s worth the wait; I don’t know when I will get a chance to go in again.” The line moved steadily until 2pm, then it was time to feed the Shark and the crowd gathered to observe the impressive specimen in action. The aquatic themed artwork that decorated the unoccupied tanks was also impressive.
The Aquarium was buzzing once again but not everyone got a chance to come inside. While on a special tour of the bowels of the aquarium, I received a call from my cousin Karen who informed me that the line was extremely long and down the block and she doubted that she could get inside before the Aquarium closed. I felt bad for her because she drove all the way from Ypsilanti and didn’t get a chance to enjoy the Aquarium as we did as kids and I could hear the disappointment in her voice. I could easily tell that she wasn’t the only one. As time drew near to close, some people felt like my cousin Karen and left the line to make their way to their vehicles. Many looked back while walking hoping to get another chance one day. That is my hope as well.
At the end of the day, over 4,000 people got a chance to go inside of the Belle Isle Aquarium. Many of them put a dollar or two in the donation box, giving what they could to help keep the aquarium going. Other organizations around metro Detroit also came and showed their support. One patron even offered to install Wi-fi in the building; free of charge. Donations given were not enough to fund the complete re-opening of the Belle Isle Aquarium. And unfortunately given Detroit’s financial situation, chances of receiving additional funds from the city to re-open are also slim. But there is hope.
On February 4th, Metro Detroiters joined with the volunteers of Belle Isle Aquarium to show that we want our aquarium back! Vance Patrick and his team of volunteers continue to maintain the Aquarium on a daily basis. And they continue to seek donations and explore all avenues to secure funds to re-open. I pray that we all get our aquarium back soon! Holla if you hear me!