December 2020

BLAC December 2020

Art Meets Life

To cap the year of the bizarre, we thought we’d recall the spirit of seasons past. By now, we’d be in full fashion swing with holiday parties, fundraising galas and charming stage shows to attend. There will be none of that, but we thought why not play dress up anyway with 13 pages of lavish looks (Page 32)? It’s a bit of fantasy, a spoonful of sugar, to down with your medicine. The Detroit Opera House served as our backdrop. This time of year, the venue’s calendar would be packed with theatrical productions and glittery events. Instead, we were alone in the space, probably among the first to walk its patterned carpet all year, but we brought the sparkle with us in the form of elegant eveningwear.

In reality, we know this year has been anything but glamourous and the holidays will look a lot different for most of us. Simplicity was the inspiration behind our all edible, locally curated gift guide (Page 22). For the first time, perhaps ever, your extended family may not be getting together, but maybe they’d fancy delicious care packages. That impressive spread of three mains and 12 sides may not make sense this go-round, but one of the best parts of the holidays is the food. If this year has taught us anything, it’s how to scale back. Yes, we’ve learned to trim the fat, except from the wagyu pastrami that we procured from Mongers’ Provision in Midtown. The paper-thin slice of heaven almost literally melts in your mouth. We recommend buying extra to snack on in the car on the way home – and then charging someone else in your house with hiding the rest from you.

We also thought it an appropriate time to consider the role of religion, specifically the Black church, in the fight for freedom (Page 28). The Black church played a starring role in the civil rights movement of yesteryear, but this current, more progressive Black Lives Matter movement is noticeably less connected to the church and its conservative ideals. And the church, in turn, has been slow to speak up about and out against injustices. The holidays also inevitably evoke a spirit of generosity and empathy. If you’ve made it through this year relatively unscathed, you’re one of the lucky ones. While most of us have been wading through months of moderate inconvenience, others among of us have lost homes and businesses and loves ones – and hope. Metro Detroit is home to numerous nonprofits and community-based orgs that could use our help this season. We’ve checked in with a few to find out how we can get involved (Page 12).

On a sweeter note, a new bakeshop promising the perfect cookie prepares to open in Detroit (Page 14), the Detroit Shipping Company offers a rotating retail space rent-free to Black-owned businesses (Page 14) and we caught up with folks enjoying the kickoff to Light Up Beacon Park (Page 49). Plus, find Bakpak Durden’s work on Page 20. The gender-nonconforming artist pushes against the idea that art is for the elite and works to steady a sense of realism and inclusivity.

Enjoy the issue.



Paris Giles

Senior Editor


A Night at the Opera: A Fashion Fantasy

Eveningwear inspiration in anticipation for our eventual return to normalcy.
Black lives matter

The Black Church and Black Lives Matter: A Tricky Relationship

This modern-day Black Lives Matter movement is helmed, in large part, by progressive young people, far less connected to the church and its conservative ideals. Is there still room for faith in the fight for freedom?
gift guide

Arose Such a Platter: An All Edible Gift Guide

We invite you to savor our all edible, locally curated gift guide.

Giving Season

A handful of local nonprofits and community-based organizations that could use your help this holiday season.
Springboard Collaborative

Brittany Merritt, Midwest Executive Director, Springboard Collaborative

This Louisville native heads the local arm of an organization that’s committed to improving literacy and bridging the gap between home and school.
Bakpak Durden

Hyper-Realistic Artist Bakpak Durden Says Art Isn’t Only for the Elite

Picking up oil painting just a few years ago, the artist’s work is emotive, lifelike – and inclusive.

In Style: Dropping Gems

Feeling like a million bucks in rich and royal jewel tones.
Detroit Shipping Company

Detroit Shipping Company Makes Retail Space Available to Black Businesses

The Shop is a free, rotating retail space for local Black-owned businesses.
Good Cookies

Good Cookies Prepares to Open in North Rosedale in Detroit

The bakeshop specializing in cookies prepares to open its first brick-and-mortar in Detroit.
Own Your Story

Own Your Story Campaign Empowers Detroiters to Tell Their Own Stories

Sponsored locally by TandemEd and FORCE Detroit, the Detroit Is Us campaign compiles Detroiters’ stories into an interactive media project.
Dream Rich Art Museum

Dream Rich Exclusive Art Museum Combines Art and Fashion

The Dream Rich brand opens its first brick-and-mortar offering artists a place to showcase and sell their work.

Why Can Telemedicine Be an Effective Health Care Option, Especially for Women?

While we’re trying to stay home as much as we can, health care shouldn’t be sacrificed, and telehealth options make keeping up with doctor’s appointments possible.
Light Up Beacon Park

Light Up Beacon Park

Beacon Park’s winter wonderland, filled with interactive lighting, a giant hot chocolate, other sweet treats and more.