“Detroit’s got soul,” my friend Simone says as we stand on the corner of Riopelle Street and East Fisher Service Drive. We’d spent the better half of our day touring the city’s most soulful spots like Kuzzo’s Chicken & Waffles and the birthplace of a distinct style of soul music itself — the Motown Museum.
Though she’d been in town for but a brief weekend, I was grateful to watch her capture the essence of the city I fell in love with at first sight. Simone, much like myself a year ago, was viewing Detroit from the lens of a New Yorker. She’s witnessed the boom of creative cultures in Brooklyn, Harlem, and other neighboring cities. And yet at an intersection in Eastern Market, she was enchanted.
Simone and I are creatives by nature and by trade — she, a branding officer at a N.Y.C. startup, and I, the interim editor of this publication (you’ll now be seeing me here monthly, by the way). Between snaps in front of a few choice murals in the Market, we conclude that our shared affection for Detroit is rooted in the creative energy inherent to this city.
We’re in awe of the artwork that was born here — from Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry Murals, to the work that his wife Frida Kahlo painted during her time by his side — and celebrate local collectives, like those featured on page 59, that are committed to ushering in the next great artists that will produce their biggest works here. We admire the folks reviving old landmarks that once gave platforms to local talent. On page 35, read about how fellow transplant Sean Patrick is drawing crowds back to Willis Show Bar, the performance venue that has reopened after a 40-year hiatus. And a departure from the harsh attitudes that our hometown neighbors are notorious for, we’re refreshed by the Midwestern charm that is etched in the DNA of some of the region’s most notable talents. Voice actor Rob Paulsen attributes much of his success to these inherited attributes on page 42.
In this issue, our editors echo Simone’s sentiment, and celebrate the many creatives upholding the soul of the city, and all those who support their crafts.