April 2021

BLAC Cover April 2021

As We Know It

When the weather warms in Detroit a palpable electricity starts to materialize. I live in a downtown-adjacent apartment near the river and it seems as if that energy gets funneled south and unleashed right here. It’s truly something to behold. The synchronized rumble of chopper engines sliced by the bass from our favorite tracks. The sparkling clean cars and their drivers that treat parking rules as suggestions. The conversations exchanged across streets. It’s Black art.

And there’s an extra charge in the air this season. After being locked down for a year, it’s clear that we’re itching to get back to life. Listen, we can’t throw all caution to the warm breeze quite yet, but as we continue to vaccinate the most vulnerable among us and more opportunities for hanging outdoors arise, let’s look forward. 

One thing we can do is start to pack away those sweatshirts and leggings. Wait, I mean, not all of them – let’s not get crazy here. But, as comfy as an elastic waist is, I miss real clothes! We know you must be too, and, so, we’re delivering eight pages of spring fashion, from florals to neon to denim (Page 40). You might spot a familiar face in those pages. Fun fact: One of our models is the poised Carole Gist, the first Black woman to win the title of Miss USA in 1990. She’s accompanied by the lively Bria Anderson, styled by Marv Neal and shot by Boswell Hardwick.

We also dive into the idea of inclusive fashion (Page 36). The Black Lives Matter movement ushered in an era of reckoning felt across industries, fashion especially. We’ve since seen luxury labels buddy up to independent brands, consumers are all about buying Black and the powers that be seemed to have pulled out a chair. Timeless or trendy? 

On Page 30, we also consider art as an investment as last year’s uprising also reignited the conversation around building Black wealth and cultural reverence. One Birmingham collector couple along with art dealer George N’Namdi share their secrets. About art: We check in with two new exhibits. Dual Vision at MOCAD pairs local artists for a dialogue on collaboration (Page 24), and No Gyal Can Test at Red Bull Arts uses a mashup of mediums to recall the vibe of Jamaica’s dancehall scene (Page 22).


April is also Autism Awareness Month, and parents will discover potential warning signs to keep an eye out for, and helpful tips and resources for families with a diagnosis (Page 18). Oh, and speaking of classic Detroit energy, for 313 Day we swung by a handful of nostalgic spots and photographed them and the people we met along the way (Page 50). Why? Because old Detroit ain’t dead yet. 


Enjoy the issue.


Paris Giles, Senior Editor

spring fashion

BLAC Photo Story: Spring Fashion

Spring is here and as we shed our sweatpants and slippers, we look to embrace fashion, hope and a future with a little less distance and a lot more style.

Fashion Forward: Inclusivity

The status quo has been done away with across industries, including fashion. Creatives and consumers are calling for a long-overdue makeover – and equity paired with inclusion is what’s on trend.
art investing

Investing in Art: A Sound Money Move?

Considering art as an investment opportunity? An area couple shares their strategy.
Deja Milany

Fiber Artist Deja Milany Reimagines Braiding Hair and Cornrowing

The artist says she’s committed to creating safe spaces - but also an escape - for Black people.
Bryan Lewis

Bryan Lewis, Executive Director, EcoWorks

This Southfielder with a lifelong commitment to community leads a nonprofit that’s committed to environmental justice, and to equitable, sustainable solutions.
uterine fibroids

Ask the Expert: How Do Uterine Fibroids Affect Reproductive Health?

Uterine fibroids are most common in Black women and can cause symptoms like heavy bleeding, painful cramps and urinary issues.
autism resources

Signs of Autism, and Resources for Families

Because early detection is key, Dr. Tisa Johnson of the Henry Ford Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities teaches us what to look out for – plus resources for families already dealing with a diagnosis.
No Gyal Can Test

‘No Gyal Can Test’ at Red Bull Arts Detroit Recalls the Vibe of Jamaica’s...

Artist and designer Akeem Smith recalls his familial history to tell the tale of dancehall.
Dual Vision

MOCAD’s ‘Dual Vision’ Pairs Local Artists for a Group Exhibition

The project matches 40 artists of different disciplines for a ‘conversation’ on collaboration.
The Pose Experience

Interactive Selfie Museum Settles into Southfield

The Pose Experience allows guests to make use of 10 Instagram-worthy backgrounds for the perfect photo.
Lingo Coding Kit

Aerospace Engineer Aisha Bowe Introduces At-Home Coding Kit

Lingo Coding Kit lets kids complete projects and make gadgets with a STEM focus.