Tag Archives: Anita Baker

Talent in Detroit

With all of the bad news, crime statistics and potential for receivership under an Emergency Financial Manager (regardless of what Mayor Bing said in his State of the City address a few days ago), we often forget about the talent that is deeply rooted and often overlooked in the City of Detroit. Detroit receives worldwide attention for the North American International Auto Show, the government scandals and the uprise of foreclosures leading to additional blight, but Detroit doesn’t receive the same level of attention for the talent that has grown and exists here. So many people have left the arms of the City of Detroit for the softer, greener pastures of Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York (where the competition is stiffer), in an effort to become break out stars. Many of whom have achieved that goal, while others have been sent running home with their tails tucked.

As I look at all of the talented people in Detroit, I sometimes overhear people stating that they want to step out on faith, leave the city and become successful elsewhere. This makes me wonder ~ If they put the same energy into remaining and working on their craft here, as they put into their plans for exodus, how successful would they become? The same plans a person has to become successful in another city, can be implemented for them to become successful in Detroit. Don’t get me wrong, I clearly understand that Detroit is behind the eight ball in technology, infrastructure, commerce and entertainment compared to larger urban meccas like Atlanta, the bright lights of Hollywood and the always busy streets of the Big Apple. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t improve. Improvement requires people with ideas, just as much as improvements cost money. I sometimes think that we’re getting what we get from our leadership simply because we don’t demand more from them. They have cut the arts from schools, they don’t appropriate Federal funds into the community the way they should and they would rather lay people off from work than have an Emergency Financial Manager uncover their corruption. This results in people losing hope and feeling that the promised land is elsewhere instead of underneath their feet. Those are some of the same issues other large cities have. It’s the national recession. It just hits cities like Detroit harder.

This weekend I had the privilege of attending Fashion in Detroit, an event sponsored and organized by Denise Ilitch (her father is the founder, owner and business mogul behind Little Caesar’s Pizza, the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers), and Joe Faris (Project Runway contestant and Michigan native); two individuals who obviously have business and creativity in their blood. The afternoon was full of beautiful fashions designed mostly by Detroiters. Yes, fashion is present and alive in The D. Have you ever heard of a talented young lady by the name of Tracey Reese? She’s a graduate of Cass Technical High School in DETROIT.  Have you heard of Kevan Hall? He also is a native Detroiter. Shoe designers Shane and Shawn are also Detroiters and graduates of Cass Technical High School. If you didn’t know this, please allow me the privilege of educating you briefly…

Detroit has been fashionable since it was named Motown.  

Then there are the big names in entertainment like Tim Allen, Jerry Bruckheimer, Ellen Burstyn, Francis Ford Coppola, Jeff Daniels, David Alan Grier, Madoon, Eminem, Tom Selleck, Kid Rock, the late Sonny Bono, the late Aaliyah, Blair Underwood, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Bill McKinney, Big Sean, J Dilla, Brandon T. Jackson, Anita Baker, Aretha Franklin, The Clark Sisters, The Winans, and many, many others. The list of heavy hitters in entertainer from Detroit is so long that it would take another 500 words for me to name them all. But I think you get the point. Detroit is full of talent. But we have to nurture its growth. Even if success eventually pulls people from the city, we need those people to be proud of where they came from. It doesn’t hurt for them to come back and visit sometimes. I honestly believe that if the most successful people who originated from Detroit, would occasionally show up and embrace this city as their home. and use their influence to improve the city’s image, the leadership here would be compelled to do a better job representing the community. That’s just my opinion and I could be wrong. But will anyone step up and attempt to prove me wrong with action? Worse case scenario: Detroit receives POSITIVE media attention.

I know that the city requires a lot of work to rise from the ashes of the last several years. I believe that it can be done. I”m working to do my part to change its image. But I’m just one person. And I’ve noticed that the Detroit community hasn’t quite embraced The Brand; mostly because it’s not what they are accustomed to. Michigan is a working class state. As a result, creativity is often frowned upon and viewed as mere craziness. This attitude results in talented people feeling the need to flee to other cities where they hope to be more “accepted”. I’m blessed to have the encourage of my supporters to keep me from feeling defeated by the lack of love I receive from my city. The first major publication to interview me was Rollin’ Out Magazine which is published out of Atlanta. The first talk show to contact me to make an appearance was also in Atlanta. There are a lot of opportunities for me in Atlanta, that I will take advantage of very soon. Taking those opportunities may result in me temporarily relocating, which I’ve planned for when the time comes. But my movie writing career is rooted here in Detroit (more on that forthcoming) and my business is headquartered here. These are things that will always spark me to declare that I’m Imported from Detroit. I hope that one day my city re-embraces creatives and supports the local talent more than it has over the last several years. If not, it won’t limit the opportunities for creatives elsewhere, but it will have a detrimental effect on the way the world views what was once called Motown.

I Don’t Believe in Leprechauns, Purple Elephants and Spotted Unicorns

I’ve never seen a leprechaun, a purple elephant or a spotted unicorn walking around. Much like I’ve yet to meet a wonderful, available, single man that people keep telling me exists and that I should “wait for“. Let me define available in my own terms: he’s not someone else’s boyfriend, husband or fiance pretending to be a single man. He is completely heterosexual. He’s not having a physically, intimate, sexual relationship with the mother of his children or some other woman that he desires to maintain. He’s not still in love with, infatuated by, heartbroken over or stalking his ex-wife, ex-girlfriend or mother of his children. He is emotionally available to cultivate a relationship. He doesn’t have a fear of commitment, an Oedipus complex or violent tendencies towards women. He is ready, willing, able and capable of making spending time with me a priority in his life and wants to get to know me as a person. That’s what I consider available.

Available is the number one requirement. After that, a man must also be compatible. I have yet to meet someone who conquers available, so compatible is a different task altogether. Which is why I’m eternally married to my shoes, and later this year I will marry a Blackberry® Playbook. Don’t judge me. Both my shoes and the Blackberry® Playbook will enhance my life in a way that a man hasn’t been able to do my entire adult life. They are money well spent and time worth giving.

I’ve learned something about myself that I don’t think anyone else knows. My creativity becomes hindered when I’m giving myself to someone else. I’m happier by myself than I am in a relationship with a man. I’m also tired of “trying” when the man I’m in a relationship with refuses to. I’m tired of giving and not receiving anything in return. It’s too much work without any return on investment. Aren’t relationships supposed to be mutual? I didn’t realize that everyone was taking, taking, taking and believed that giving was not necessary. But that is how it seems to be with the men I meet. So I prefer to be single.

I prefer to travel alone than have someone telling me how much they aren’t having a good time, complaining about where we are, or hating on the people around. I prefer to go where I want to go and do what I want to do without someone else telling me why I can’t or why I shouldn’t. I prefer to have peace of mind and quiet in my home more than having someone who wants to argue or nag about everything. I prefer to cook for myself and eat meals alone than have someone tell me what they don’t like or don’t eat. I prefer to be myself versus being with someone who is trying to control me because they think I need controlling. I prefer to be in my own little existence in this world than have someone who is unhappy with themselves constantly pointing out my flaws to make themselves feel better, as if I don’t already know what my flaws are. I’d rather be single than try to please someone who will never be satisfied, regardless of what I do for them.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy for any and everyone who has a good relationship and marriage. I just realize that I will not be one of those people. I admit that I don’t appreciate those happily committed and married people who constantly tell me that I need to “wait for“, “be patient“, “have faith in“, “pray for” “don’t give up on“, “believe in” men that they claim exist, but themselves can’t seem to find so that they can introduce me to them. I don’t appreciate the men that I know who tell me that I’m a great woman and that they know single, available men, however they refuse to introduce me to these single, availble men because of their own egos or hidden agendas. I don’t appreciate people who tell urban legends of people they know in their senior years who magically found their soul mates, as if I have to wait until I’m ninety years old to be loved and have companionship. I don’t appreciate people who treat single women like we’re single because there ‘must be something terribly wrong’ with us if we can’t snag one of these wonderful (imaginary) single men. I don’t appreciate people who believe that there are equal amounts of single men and women, therefore everyone should be paired up two by two as if we’re boarding Noah’s Ark into marital bliss.

The stories of love lost and found, love shared over millions of miles, love in a nursing home and what not, are romantic, but they are not the standard. They are the exception to the reality that everyone is not going to be with someone forever. People come and go everyday for a reason or a seaon. Some people come into a person’s life with good intentions but that doesn’t mean they are good for that person. I refuse to live a life expected of me by others because they are afraid that I’m going to die alone. I’m not alone. I just live a singular life without a man to share it with. That’s not a reason to pity me or try to feed me false tales of “a man that’s waiting for me somewhere in the universebut I just can’t see him. I have friends, relatives and someone who will bury me once I’m dead. That’s all that I really need.

There once was a time in our society when people introduced single and available men and women to each other. People had children, friends, relatives, etc. that they knew were looking for someone compatible, so they “screened” men and women to potentially match them up with each other. That’s how Tamia and Grant Hill met. Anita Baker introduced them to each other and they’ve been together ever since. Some of the most successful relationships are a result of someone playing match maker out of genuine love and concern for the two single people. They know the character, intergrity, interests, goals and desires of each person and that they might, just might, make a good couple if introduced. If nothing else, they might make good friends. That doesn’t happen anymore. People are either afraid their matchmaking skills will result in disaster, they’re selfish and too egotistical to see someone else happy, or they don’t know any quality individuals to match each other with, although they pretend that they do. I’ve asked several individuals over the years to introduce me to a man, if they know of anyone. Some of them have agreed. I still haven’t been introduced to anyone. But I’m such a great woman. A man once said that there’s a good man somewhere waiting for me, but he’s sorting through all the women without substance. I asked that same man, if that good man is sorting through all the women without substance, how will he ever find me? I never got an answer to my question.

It’s possible that I may not be meant to be with someone. It may not be in the Master’s Plan. God has other things He wants of me as I live today and everyday. He knows that a man might just be an attractive distraction that I don’t need. As much as my heart would like for that to not be the case, I have accepted that everything ain’t for everybody and a relationship may not be for me. I just need everyone else to accept that, too. And even those who disagree with my theory of the Master’s Plan aren’t able to prove me wrong. That’s because these same people can’t seem to find any available, single men for me to meet. They are afraid of making an introduction, setting me up on a blind date or even telling these (imaginary) men that I exist to spark some interest in me. I’m open to all of of those things. These same people can’t even tell me where to go so I can accidentally run into these (imaginary) men by chance. Therefore, until someone introduces me to one of these (imaginary) men, I’m perfectly happy being single.  #FabSingleLife.

If you are a single woman, and you’re always being bombarded by the hopefully romantic, wishful thinking people in your world telling you that the man for you, is just around the corner and you just have to be patient, because they know he exists, tell them to put their money where their mouths are and take you around the corner, point that man out and introduce you to him. When you do this, watch their faces change and their excuses come in abundance.

*Excuse me, can you tell me which one is easier to find: an available man or a leprauchaun, a purple elephant and a spotted unicorn?