native detroiter


Happy National Aboriginal Day from an NDN Girl in Suomi!

I am biracial (white / Ojibwa). My grandma’s reservation was in Canada but I  was born and raised near Detroit and am currently living in Finland. It’s hard living so far away from your family and country, even harder when you’re literally the only Native in your community, but it’s given me a lot of time to really focus on who I am and what’s really important to me. No matter how far away I travel, I am always Native. I will never lose sight of what is really important. 


Photos by Niko’s Universe

Can we talk about how the killer cop, Jeronimo Yanez, is Mexican-American? While not white, this terrible example of pathological anti-blackness demonstrates to us that white supremacy can use non-black people of color to uphold its systems of oppression. I know for certain that my fellow Mexicans can personally attest to the abundance of anti-blackness that exists in our communities. Jeronimo murdered Philando and I’ve not heard any of my woke Latinx or Mexican friends say a peep. He’s a monster, right? He’s also your brother, uncle and cousin. Y'all, this is where the ally work matters.

Jeronimo, a brown man, was acquitted not because of his innocence, but because the 10 white jurors were able to identify with his light-skinned Latinx version of anti-blackness–and established an intersectional kinship built on hatred for black people.

While not always wielding a gun, members of our community routinely express and enact anti-blackness. This happens through words and actual violence. Philando’s case may be extreme but it is not unusual. As Latinx folks who often benefit from a hierarchy of racism, we must be vigilant and dutiful in confronting anti-blackness in others and ourselves. As allies for black liberation, the onus is on us to do coalition work and be willing to sacrifice privilege and relationships in pursuit of the struggle. As a queer Chicano, I don’t take responsibility for the existence of white supremacy but I certainly admit that I can do more to confront anti-blackness around me and within myself.

As Philando’s girlfriend Diamond stated: “He was pulled over because, per officer Yanez, he had a wide nose and looked like a suspect.” “God help America,” she continued. Yes, God help America but also let us Latinx folks help each other confront and act on the problem. This time, the problem is ours.

- Miguel Garcia

Miguel Garcia is a native Detroiter and Chicano queer mental and sexual health advocate. He currently works for a community health agency based in Detroit and is completing his degree in Boston.

spansh translation: 

¿Podemos hablar de cómo el policia asesino, Jerónimo Yáñez, es mexicano-americano? Aunque no sea blanco, este terrible ejemplo de anti-negritud patológica nos demuestra que la supremacía blanca puede utilizar a las ‘personas de color’ que no son negras para defender sus sistemas de opresión. Sé con certeza que mis compatriotas mexicanos pueden atestiguar personalmente la abundancia de anti-negritud que existe en nuestras comunidades. Jerónimo asesinó a Philando y no he oído nada de mis compañeros Latinx o amigos mexicanos que son consientes de estas estructura sociales o “woke” decir ni un pío. Es un monstruo, ¿verdad? También es tu hermano, tío y primo.
Compañeros, aquí es donde el trabajo del aliado importa.

Jerónimo, una persona de color no negra, fue absuelto no por su inocencia,
sino porque los 10 jurados blancos pudieron identificarse con su versión de anti-negritud al nivel que existe entre Latinx de tonos de piel claras—y estableció un parentesco interseccional construido sobre el odio hacia los negros.

Aunque no siempre manejan un arma, los miembros de nuestra comunidades Latinx rutinariamente expresan y promulgan anti-negritud. Esto sucede a través de las palabras y la violencia. El caso de Philando puede ser extremo pero no es inusual. Como personas de Latinx que se benefician de una jerarquía del racismo, debemos ser vigilantes y obedientes para enfrentar la anti-negritud en los demás y en nosotros mismos. Como aliados para la liberación negra, nos incumbe la tarea de hacer el trabajo de la coalición y estar dispuestos a sacrificar el privilegio y las relaciones en la búsqueda de la lucha. Como un chicano queer, no me responsabilizo de la existencia de la supremacía blanca, pero ciertamente admito que puedo hacer más para enfrentar la anti-negritud alrededor de mí y dentro de mí.

Como dijo Diamond, la novia de Philando, “Lo detuvieron porque, según oficial Yáñez, tenía una nariz ancha y se parecía a un sospechoso.” “Dios ayude a América”, continuó.
Sí, Dios ayude a América, pero también permite ayudarnos a nosotros Latinx a enfrentar y actuar en este problema. Esta vez, el problema es nuestro.

- Miguel Garcia

Miguel García es un nativo de Detriot y partidario de Chicano queer salud mental y sexual. Actualmente trabaja para una agencia de salud comunitaria basada en Detroit y está completando su licenciatura en Boston.

Translation by: Vanessa Velasquez

anonymous asked:

do you have any headcanons about phichit and yuuri dragging white people?

anon holy shit this is the best ask to wake up to

ok……. i feel like phichit and yuuri’s reactions are very lowkey and passive aggressive. they hear some shit from yts and they just do the Eye Contact of Color^TM (ECOC), a known glance amongst poc

like someone, whether it be this random white person or one of the european skaters, would be like “omg thailand! it’s so beautiful and ~EXOTIC~ there!! i heard you eat [insert some stereotype of a ~*weird asian food stereoype*~] there? that’s so weird lol!! but i love pad thai!!” and then phichit while texting on his phone is just like “oh ive never been to europe before! i heard you eat snails there? isn’t that CRAZY??” and yuuri’s just cackling in the background

JESUS oh my god or when some white person would try to lecture you on your own damn culture bc they think they know more about you bc they regularly consume anime or thai dramas…. phichit and yuuri just start talking in thai and japanese because if they know so much then why don’t they just go ahead and talk to them in their native languages?

back in detroit during college either yuuri and phichit will burst through their dorm room and be like “you will not BELIEVE what i just heard today” and probably call in leo and guang-hong too (ECOCs between all the skaters of color tho??? Solidarity.)

ok this is only phichit specifically (and possibly leo too) and know i talk about this a lot, but one of my favorite hcs is phichit never being able to burn in the sun bc his skin is so dark. ik this includes the lighter-skinned asians in the show but i see all these beach day art and i just love the fact that ppl like yuuri and yurio and victor have to worry about getting as much sunscreen on and staying in the shade and STILL get burned where phichit slaps on some sunscreen and is like! hey!!! im jus chillin here i love the sun so much what about you guys? and everyone is Dying

Graffiti Women

Sakara and Anthea

Strohm Hall

The Detroit Public Library, 2/2/17

#8x10 gelatin silver contact print

Marco Lorenzetti

These sisters are native Detroiters and both are in the arts. Sakara is in dance and Anthea is in the visual arts. “This is where I grew up,” Sakara tells me. “This is what made my imagination go wild.” They tell me stories about their glory days in the teen HYPE center. Helping Young People Excel is the teen-focused program at the DPL that provides services and a space for teens to learn, explore or simply hang out. Anthea remembers, “They had a talent show, a dance party, and they brought in mentors as guest teachers on various topics.”  

Graffiti Women celebrates the rise of female graffiti and street artists. Published in 2006, it was written by Nicholas Ganz.


Sufjan Stevens introduces “Detroit, Lift Up Your Weary Head!” on Austin City Limits in 2006. (x)

(Jack White, most famously of The White Stripes, is also a Detroit native. Coincidentally, Sufjan is only 8 days older than he is.)

My favorite albums of 2016 -- so far

10. Lil Yachty: Lil Boat the Mixtape

This mixtape cemented Lil Yachty’s presence on the rap scene. He’d already burst onto the scene with “1 Night” and “Minnesota”, but no one really knew what Yachty had to offer. On this tape—which improves upon “Minnesota” with a remix including Young Thug and Quavo—we see a full showcase of Lil Boat’s talent. In the intro, he references his two aliases: “Today I’m gonna tell you a story about my two nephews, Lil Yachty and Lil Boat.” These two aliases reference his versatility in his raps, whether it’s lyrical swiftness with his bars or melodic sing-rap that sounds like a children’s song—a children’s song from the Zone 6 Precinct in Atlanta.

9. Kendrick Lamar: untitled unmastered.

Holy shit. This album blew me away. When it came out, I wasn’t very excited. We were just coming off of the 2015 seminal release of To Pimp a Butterfly, which made more of an impact on American culture than I can even explain. This album seemed like throwaways from TPAB sessions, but I was wrong. It indeed was a collection of demo tracks that didn’t make the album, but that’s because it seems more like the tracks didn’t fit the concept of the introspective, nearly Dylan-esque protest album from 2015. It’s eight tracks of Kendrick’s new jazz-hop sound and it hits harder than arguably any other Kendrick Lamar project on the first listen. Kendrick didn’t send any message this album; he’s content at the top of the rap game. This seems to be Kendrick paying homage to fans – giving them new music – than an important album. It’s not going to impact culture or be recognized as a legendary work of art like Lamar’s previous two albums. That doesn’t mean it’s not just as good, though. Because it is. This will be a hidden gem of Kendrick’s discography when it’s all said and done.

8. Payroll Giovanni: Big Bossin, Vol. 1

Cardo Got Wings is an established producer in the hip-hop world, working with the likes of Wiz Khalifa, Domo Genesis and Nef the Pharaoh. Payroll Giovanni is a legend in the Detroit rap scene, but hasn’t seen a ton of publicity outside of the Midwest. The two had worked before in the past, but teamed up to create Big Bossin, a great album to enter the summer. You wouldn’t think a Detroit native and a Texas-based producer would create a west coast rap album, but here we are. The album doesn’t have too much depth – it’s classic Payroll rap over orgasmic, deep bass production from Cardo – but it’s a perfect combination and a perfect summer soundtrack.

7. James Blake: The Colour in Anything

I’m a sucker for albums that create an intense feeling. Listening to James Blake’s newest project, the pain and paranoia is almost tangible. Each time I put it on, I feel like I’m walking through the pouring rain thinking about everything there is to think about in life. In addition to the album’s feeling, this is Blake’s most cohesive effort yet. The strong keys combined with the scraps of what’s left of Blake’s EDM influences that he ran with at the beginning of his career create beautifully chaotic noise. Blake’s production gives way to accompany his almost surreal, ethereal voice. It’s an ominous, fragile voice that perfectly captures everything James Blake is about in his music.

6. Kanye West: The Life of Pablo

I could say a lot about this album. Although, after Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book, it’s becoming evident that Chance may have been the main architect of the album’s organic gospel sound as well as its driving force lyrically, this album still is quintessential Kanye West. In a 180 degree turnaround from the anger-fueled, experimental Yeezus, this album comes from a positive but confused place of Kanye’s heart. The sequencing is chaotic, something I wasn’t a fan of at first. Over time, though, I’ve realized that the sequencing was on purpose. Kanye may be happy, but he’s at a crossroads in his life. He’s cemented himself as a hip-hop legend but wants to keep pushing towards a new frontier, which has had its obstacles. It’s fitting that as this album was rolled out, Kanye was concurrently losing his mind on Twitter. Lyrics have never been Kanye’s strong suit – did you hear him get washed by Chance on “Ultralight Beam”? – but he has some nice moments over some smooth beats. He also enlisted some of the best help you can get with Chance, The Weeknd, Andre 3000, Swizz Beats, Rihanna, Metro Boomin and more. This is yet another seminal Kanye West album that I can’t wait to see age.

5. KAYTRANADA: 99.9%

Some albums don’t need a lot of explaining. One listen through KAYTRANADA’s debut album and you can feel the infectious rhythms coupled with fun, loopy synths and catchy samples. It’s almost like a mix of classic house music with the soundscape of Madvillainy-era Madlib. The Haitian, dancehall influence gives the album depth and creative freedom. Just like KAYTRANADA, the majority of guests (BADBADNOTGOOD, Anderson .Paak and GoldLink, just to name a few) are artists exploring new genres and experimenting with new sounds. One area of Kay’s expertise is his ability to develop chemistry and work with a wide range of artists with varying styles. This album is a collection of new experiments and creative artists all wrapped up in a mellow aesthetic that only KAYTRANADA could create.

4. Beyonce: Lemonade

Ok, I’m going to say it. This is the best pop album since Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange. Beyonce attacks the songs with intensity than she ever has before. The delivery of the “video-album” was Kanye West-esque, with an accompanying film with the album. It was quickly realized that this album was a statement against her husband, Jay Z, which only sparked public interest about the album. The project itself, though, is what makes the album so incredible. The genre bending blues-folk-rock-soul sound that Beyonce implements in this album is breathtaking. From Jack White guitar-shredding on “Don’t Hurt Yourself” to the empowering folk ballad of “Daddy Lessons”, the album explores areas of sound that Beyonce has never done before. The most powerful point in the album comes on “Freedom”, a strong-willed protest song with none other than Kendrick Lamar. The magnum opus of the album, though, is the last song and the most popular single, “Formation”, a statement about the black experience in America, more specifically black women. This album is Beyonce’s best work today – and that says a lot. Middle fingers up.

3. Car Seat Headrest: Teens of Denial

After flipping on the first track, “Fill in the Blank”, I knew that I was in store for a great album. I was captivated by the band’s raw energy channeled through a completely new Indie Rock sound. My issue with a lot of Indie Rock is that it’s eerily close to elevator music. It can be boring and artists in that genre are slow to adapt to new, changing styles. Car Seat Headrest sheds all of the preconceived notions of indie rock bands in this album. The punk-rock, 90’s grunge sound wrapped up in a Yo La Tengo-esque aesthetic makes for a very expansive, unique soundscape. My favorite part of the album, though, comes from lead man Will Toledo’s songwriting abilities. The album is essentially an hour long story about drugs, depression and loneliness. Common themes of bad trips of pyschedelics, apathy, giving up and a lot of drinking appear throughout the project. I want to categorize this project, but I can’t; it’s genre-bending. And that’s what makes it so great.

2. Lil Uzi Vert: Lil Uzi Vert Vs. The World

The world has been put on alert. We saw a lot of Philly’s newest star before this project, with his guest appearances on Young Thug’s Slime Season 2 or his collaboration with Playboi Carti (“Left Right”) in addition to his LUV is Rage tape from last fall. This project is a full showcase of Uzi’s ability. The melodies over weird (for lack of a better word) Don Cannon and Maaly Raw beats in addition to his unique cadences over classic Metro Boomin production gives a little heat to Uzi fans of all shapes and sizes. It’s clear to hear an Atlanta rap influence on this music as well as a very heavy rock influence (Uzi says Marilyn Manson is one of his biggest influences), something that we’ve never heard before.

1. Chance the Rapper: Coloring Book

Damn, Chance. The 23-year old’s 3rd official mixtape could not have delivered more. While  2013’s critically acclaimed release Acid Rap became a legendary underground mixtape of sorts, Chance the Rapper’s next 3 years had been relatively quiet. He collaborated with the Social Experiment to create a live instrumentation album that reeks of positivity—Surf. Although that project got generally favorable reviews, it wasn’t what fans wanted from Chance. I know I was worried about the young rapper’s career path. Towards the beginning of 2016, though, things started to shift. It was rumored he was working with Kanye West on his new album, The Life of Pablo. We didn’t know how much Chance contributed to the project until the release, when we basically found out that he was the architect of the album’s general sound. It all comes to fruition in his verse on the intro track, which catapulted Chance into the national spotlight. The release of his new tape was important, because the eyes of the country were keyed in on Chance. And he delivered. The tape was an embodiment of Chance’s evolution. He’s at a different place than he was during the drugged-out confusion of Acid Rap. He’s a father and has realized how successful he is. All of that gave way to a heavy gospel sound to the album, which was beautifully accompanied by Chance’s excellent songwriting and catchy melodies. The rap throne is Chancellor Bennett’s for the taking.

While everyone’s busy being disappointed by the Funimation dub, let’s take a moment to imagine Yuri on Ice with actual realistic voice acting.

Imagine the Japanese characters speaking in perfect Japanese around each other, the Russian characters speaking in perfect Russian around each other, and everyone speaking English in mixed-nationality scenes.

Imagine Yuuri speaking English with an accent that’s appropriate for his background (Japanese native speaker, lived in Detroit for years).

Imagine Viktor and angry!Yuri speaking English with Russian accents, and maybe even attempting some random Japanese here and there.

Seriously, the thing that most strains my suspension of disbelief in this show is the fact that every single person talks in perfect nihongo without this fact being commented on at all. Usually that’s fine but this is an INTERNATIONAL CAST we’re talking about. Not that non-Japanese can’t speak Japanese fluently, but people would at least comment on it or praise them for sounding exactly like native speakers… and having Japanese accents when speaking what is supposedly their “native tongue”. 

(And it’s not like Japanese VAs can’t do impressions of what they think is “Japanese as spoken by foreigners” - note that Yuuri’s coach in the first episode spoke Japanese fluently but with a stereotypical American accent. It’s just that Japanese audiences can’t take people speaking like that seriously, so it’s usually used for throwaway/joke characters.) 

Lose Yourself

Sitting home with the Tigers game muted, doing my ACLS Heartcode recertification online modules, and all I can think of through the acute CVA module is how someone needs to do a ZDoggMD-style parody rewording of some popular song for stroke awareness. 

Native Detroiter that I am, Eminem immediately popped to mind.

“His face is sweaty, speech weak, one arm’s heavy…”

Bad Denim founder Erin Fridja on the 6-jean rule, the unfashionable world of maternity and the jeans she'd never wear

Whether you count yourself as a dedicated follower of fashion or not, the perfect pair of jeans is something which unites us all.

When it comes to shopping for them, however, many of us would rather endure another snap election.

That is, unless you find yourself in Bad Denim — a shop which, contrary to its name, is dedicated to decidedly good jeans.

Its founder, Erin Fridja, an achingly cool Detroit native and long-term Londoner, has spent 14 years working in denim production, designing for brands including MiH Jeans, Victoria Beckham and Whistles, as well as the denim offering for Alexa Chung’s hotly anticipated debut fashion line, before trading the cutting room for the shop floor three years ago.

When we meet in her designated denim den on Lower Clapton Road, Fridja is 36 weeks pregnant and looking ridiculously chic in a Rachel Comey indigo denim smock. As she talks, her speech is peppered with a constant stream of jean jargon, from altered straight no. 4s to high As, which comes from her years learning everything there is to know about denim inside out and back to front.

But her approach to her customers is all about making the process of finding your new denim soulmate as straightforward as possible. “Jeans are a lot like bras — people can be a bit traumatised from their past shopping experiences,” she says. “I have so many people come in and tell me they’ve never found a pair of jeans that they loved before and — I don’t say this to brag but — nine times out of 10 after a conversation with me they leave with what they want. It’s so satisfying.”

The trick to Fridja’s magic matchmaking touch lies in one, ingeniously simple concept — trying stuff on. Though this in itself is an experience in Bad Denim, thanks to the uniquely designed changing room shaped like a vagina and decked in pink flamingo wallpaper.

“You’ve just got to try them on,” she insists. “If you run a tape measure over all of these 27s, they will all be different. They’re adjusted for stretch, height of the rise, etc. It’s not consistent.” In line with this ethos, Fridja uses herself as a guinea pig. “I try everything on myself — before the bump, at least — and I think, would I buy this? That’s how I decide what’s in the shop. It’s a lot of instinct and heart.”

She also launched an alterations service to ensure a made-to-measure fit. “One of the most common things I see, even on the most beautifully well-cut pair of jeans, is that gaping at the back of the waistband. It’s not because the jeans are badly designed, it’s because everyone’s got different body types and so waist-to-hip ratios vary.” Incidentally, Fridja also uses this service to offer an antidote to the unfashionable world of maternity jeans, modifying regular jeans by adding elastic to the side seams, as well as sourcing low-rise styles from Kings of Indigo which feature a hidden elasticated back.

She doesn’t believe in bestsellers — “the shop is so small, everything has to be a hit. It’s different for buyers from a big shop who have a certain number of formulas to fill. For me, it’s just about what I love” — but she does have some personal favourites. Levi’s 501 Skinny — the iconic style with a slightly slimmer leg — has “flown”, while Bad Denim was chosen as one of the few shops to stock the brand’s coveted Altered Collection of deconstructed denim classics.

Fridja is also passionate about championing little-known labels. Her ones to watch this season include LA label Eve, which offers high-waist flares and relaxed overalls with an old-school flavour, and new-in Brit brand Keji designed by former Net-A-Porter buyer Katie Green, which boasts directional, raw denim designs.

She also has one reassuringly simple formula for all of our wardrobes. “I try to think of a tiered denim structure,” she says. “You’ve got your basic, everyday jeans and you’ve got your more exciting, fashion-forward style. Within those two categories, you can have a few different fabrics and washes. I think every woman should own six pairs of jeans — one pale, one mid and one dark rinse in each of those two styles. It’s as simple as that.”

Of course, she doesn’t follow her own advice. “It’s ridiculous the number of jeans I own. I have about 15 to 20 which I wear all the time but I must have more than 100 in boxes in my house. I need a denim room.”

A self-confessed “fabric purist/snob”, Fridja hails the Seventies as the golden age for denim and harbours a “deep, deep love of a denim all-in-one”. She’s also — as the name suggests — fully on-board with a faux pas, from double denim to white jeans. “People say to me ‘I’m scared to do white’,” she says. “But you put on a white T-shirt or a white shirt and you wouldn’t think twice about not wearing that because you might pour marmalade down yourself.”

Having said that, she does still have her no-nos — such as cut-off-your-circulation spray-on styles. “I think a lot of people got stuck in the super-skinny rut. We try and focus on life after super-skinny.” She is also anti-ripped jeans. In fact, the current trend for jeans which are more skin than fabric inspired the name. “Have you ever seen absolutely terrible, ripped-to-shreds jeans and thought to yourself ‘that’s such bad denim’?”

One thing she’s very pro is the concept of denim dressing for any occasion — no matter how formal. “You could totally wear denim to a wedding,” she says. “Like a jumpsuit with heels and amazing chunky earrings. Definitely.”


Midnight Adventures || Josh & Mandy

It was becoming a habit, these little late night adventures between them. Well, did two already count as a habit? Especially since she hadn’t even said yes yet? For Joshua, it did count. She would say yes, he knew it.

Mandy had a show this evening, a little bird had tweeted him that, and he had made the quick travel over to the location. He hadn’t revealed himself, though, only after the show when all salary was paid and all grime and sweat showered off, the Detroit native hung around way too casually close to the women’s locker room, a little paper bag in his hands, waiting.


Birthday Bro-Date || Josh & Pat

Joshua was no big fan of his own birthday. What was so special about it anyway? But the birthdays of his friends? Oh, he celebrated them with an enthusiasm only he could muster! While he had kidnapped Mandy to a (illegal) midnight visit to a petting zoo, his plans for Pat were less elaborate and over the top – but they still came from his heart. And hey, he had let him choose, so…

As announced, the Detroit native let himself into his friend’s home, donned with a backpack, but without the promised bag of confetti. Instead, he was armed with a can of Silly String and a small party popper filled with confetti. That should be enough and would be annoying to clean already. Armed and ready, he went on the hunt. “Oh brother!”, he called out, his voice chiming happily. “Where art thou?”


Marvel’s New Leading Lady 

Simone Missick isn’t a household name … not yet. But the actress will add some much needed female adrenaline to the Marvel Cinematic Universe when she joins Netflix’s Luke Cage (September, 2016). Missick will step into the role of Misty Knight, a bionically enhanced detective, who teams with the eponymous Luke Cage to clean up Hell’s Kitchen.

Long before her superhero coming out party, Missick, who’s also credited under her maiden name, Cook, landed diverse roles in television and film. Her most notable projects include The Road to Sundance, A Taste of Romance, and guest-starring in popular shows Ray Donovan and Scandal

Missick is a multi-talented performer, who grew up singing, playing the violin and sports. A graduate of Howard University with a major in English and minor in Theater, Missick spent years perfecting her craft, including time spent in Oxford, England, participating in the British American Drama Academy, before returning to her native Detroit, Michigan, to perform in regional theater. 

Twitter: @Simonemissick

IMDB: Simone Missick


Meeya Davis, 23
Detroit Native Creative

Before the snow fall.

This was my first shoot where I got the creative freedom to style however I wanted.

I like timeless looks that all generations are able to see themselves wearing. I think that helps to keep you relevant in this ever changing fashion world.

Photos by Bree Gant

9 gorgeous photos that prove “every body is a ‘good body’”

“Every body is a ‘good body.’”

This is the philosophy of Gabi Gregg, deemed “the founder of the blessed fatkini movement.” A Detroit native and the creative genius behind the fashion blog GabiFresh, Gregg spoke with Mic about her swimsuit line of nine bikinis she did in collaboration with swimsuitsforall.  

“No one deserves to feel shame over the way they look”