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  • Thank you, Detroit

    I’m not going to lie to you – this isn’t easy. This week, the final City Slang local music column will be published in the Metro Times (on hardcore band Final Assault), and I have just submitted a cover feature on the women of Detroit hip-hop, to be published next week (8/6). This blog that you’re reading now will be my last one as a regular MT contributor. I have a lot to look forward to. I’m going to be an associate editor at Yellow Scene Magazine in Colorado, a tremendous publication in a beautiful part of the country. But leaving Detroit will be incredibly difficult for me. I love the place. It’s been (amazingly) six and a half years since I arrived, a couple of cases in hand and not much of a plan in mind. I just knew, after three separate research trips for books and a magazine article, that I felt at home here. Metro Times offered me freelance work almost immediately, as did a new website called Metromix (whatever happened to that?) When I arrived here, I had been working as a writer in the UK for nine years, but the help and encouragement I received […]

    The post Thank you, Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers

      We here at MT will be delighted when Mr. Jack White throws out a pitch at Navin Field (at least, we hope he will), but until then, we’ll be happy with his pitch to Santa this evening at Comerica Park.    

    The post Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW)

      Footage from the Gathering of the Juggalos set to clips of Morgan Freeman’s narration from March of the Penguins? Kind of forced, but also kind of beautiful. As the AV Club reports: The oft-sought voiceover champion lends a touch of gravitas to the festival proceedings. Unfortunate scenes of barely clad people having various liquids dumped onto them now carries a quiet dignity as it’s all part of nature’s majestic plan that keeps the world spinning through this elegantly designed and truly wondrous universe. Also, the video is NSFW as there are boobs in it. Watch the clip below:

    The post Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW) appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love”

    It seems like the polar vortex will never end: the weather phenomenon that brought us the most brutal winter on record this winter is to blame for this summer’s chillier-than usual temperatures as well. A couple of bands, though, made lemonade out of lemons (or snow cones out of snow?) by using the icy landscape to film music videos. 800beloved shot the video for “Tidal” in some sand dunes near Empire, Mich., and this week Turn to Crime debuted the video for “Can’t Stop,” the title track of their recently-released album. Even more piles of ice and snow might be the last thing Detroiters want to see right now, but the footage makes for some good visuals that mesh well with the song. Watch the video below:

    The post Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love” appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed

    Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr transferred oversight of the the city’s water department Tuesday to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in an order intended to refocus “efforts to help DWSD customers get and remain current on their water bills,” Orr’s office said today. “This order provides additional clarity to the powers already delegated to the mayor,” Orr said in a statement released Tuesday. “As the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department works to operate more efficiently and communicate more effectively with customers, it is important to ensure there are clear lines of management and accountability.” Duggan will have the authority to manage DWSD and make appointments to the utility’s board, according to a news release. In a statement issued Tuesday, the mayor said he welcomed Orr’s order, adding that officials will develop a plan that “allows those who truly need to access to financial help … to do so with shorter wait times.” “We need to change a number of things in the way we have approached the delinquent payment issues and I expect us to have a new plan shortly,” Duggan said. “There are funds available to support those who cannot afford their bills — we need to do a much better job in […]

    The post Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years

    Rovers Scooter Club, a local gang dedicated to celebrating and riding motor scooters, will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week with a very special ride. Motor City Shakedown, the annual birthday party for the club, will commence this Friday, August 1 at New Way Bar. DJ Grover from Cincinnati will be spinning northern soul, reggae, and ska, according to club member Michael Palazzola. Saturday will feature a ride from Ferndale to Detroit, starting at noon at M-Brew. Palazzola says this is where most bikes will congregate before taking the ride to the city and folks will be prepping by getting some grub starting at 10 a.m.  Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host the after party,  a special event that will feature performances by several bands as well as Satori Circus. That portion of the event will commence at 8 p.m. with performances starting at 9 p.m. It’s free to riders, but the public is welcome to join the party with the mere cost of a door charge. Come midnight, the club will raffle off a vintage Lambretta LI 150. Sunday morning will end the weekend of festivities, with brunch taking place at the Bosco in Ferndale.   

    The post Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Malcolm X — still controversial

A recent biography stirs debate as the iconic black nationalist is honored in Detroit

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Malcolm X in 1960

Ask Herb Boyd about Malcolm X and he'll tell you about his first meeting with the man who forged a path for his political development. He'll tell you about being a young black man in late '50s Detroit enthralled by the magnetism and brilliance of the convict-turned-minister. Based at the Nation of Islam's Mosque No. 1 on Linwood, Malcolm X castigated the white man as a devil, called on the Herb Boyds of the world to rise up and embrace their blackness; the Nation of Islam's decades as an "obscure sect" were at an end, largely thanks to the dynamic proselytizing of its No. 1 spokesman.

Boyd will tell you about the power of the firebrand's handshake, the warmth of his smile — "I always remember the smile he gave me" — about seeing him a half-dozen or so times subsequently in Detroit and New York, about joining the Nation to follow Malcolm, leaving when he left ("it was over for me"). He'll tell you about once, while in the military, hitchhiking across Europe to North Africa in hopes of meeting up with Malcolm X's entourage in Casablanca. 

Ask Boyd about the late African-American scholar Manning Marable and he'll tell you that they worked together on radical causes. He'll praise Marable's seminal 1980s book How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America, for instance, and his introduction to the reissue of Detroit I Do Mind Dying, about Motown radicalism of the 1960s and 1970s.

So Boyd, a noted New York-based author (and one of Metro Times' founding editors), admits to a certain discomfort about where he finds himself now, the point where the unfinished legacies of two men intersect in discord. 

"I was a member of the Nation of Islam and a member of the Black Radical Congress with Manning Marable, and I sort of have a bird's eye view on both of these individuals. I get sort of conflicted sometimes when I talk about both of them, both of whom never had a chance to enjoy the fruits of their labors."

Malcolm X died in a barrage of gunfire on the stage of the Audubon Theatre in New York in 1965. Gunmen connected to the Nation of Islam were convicted, but the identities of all the killers, plotters and possible government provocateurs are heatedly debated to this day. Also debated are Malcolm X's final positions and philosophy and the meaning of his life, notwithstanding The Autobiography of Malcolm X, the posthumously published book that has became a best-seller and a classic.

Marable died April 1, 2011, following a years-long battle with sarcoidosis, a battle that he'd lost despite undergoing a double lung transplant the year before. Three days after his death at age 60, his long-awaited biography of Malcolm X was published. Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention should have been Marable's crowning achievement, and in some quarters it was received as such. It came with cover endorsements from leading African-American academicians Henry Louis Gates, Cornel West and Michael Eric Dyson; laudatory mainstream press reviews followed, from The Boston Globe to The New Yorker. Finally, last month, Marable's Malcolm X won a Pulitizer Prize for history. The committee hailed "an exploration of the legendary life and provocative views of one of the most significant African-Americans in U.S. history, a work that separates fact from fiction and blends the heroic and the tragic."

But the reception to the book has been far more complex among African-American activists and scholars, where besides praise there've been numerous critiques and outright dismissals. Dozens of errors have been underscored, conclusions attacked, interpretations challenged. Marable's suggestions of a homosexual liaison and marital infidelities, for instance — that elsewhere may have been interpreted as "humanizing" — have been challenged on evidence and intent. 

The controversy has led to what's largely a rebuttal of Marable's work in By Any Means Necessary — Malcolm X: Real, Not Reinvented (Third World Press), with Boyd as a co-editor along with Kwanzaa founder Maulana Karenga, political scientist and strategist Ron Daniels and poet-author-publisher Haki Madhubuti. 

Like Boyd, Madhubuti, who grew up in Detroit, will be enacting his own homecoming as he joins Boyd and others for a day honoring Malcolm X at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. 

For Madhubuti, Marable's work is "an attack on [Malcolm], his family and, by extension, all conscious Black people ... white supremacist slander." 

Boyd, talking by phone from New York the other day, recalled his own initial reaction to the book as "engrossing," despite the "sins of commission and omission" that jumped out for him. But he watched the controversy grow, including attacks on things as basic as the "reinvention" in Marable's subtitle. The view of the editors, said Boyd, was that "reinvention seemed to suggest a kind of manipulative self-promotion on his part for personal gain — and Malcolm was never about any kind of personal gain." 

Boyd wonders what kind of book Marable might have written had he not been racing to finish while battling for his life. He thinks Marable may have rethought some interpretations and certainly would have caught glaring errors. 

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