March 2021

BLAC COVER March 2021

Where the Heart Is

Along with handwashing and masking up, some other sound advice came out of the early days of lockdown. They told us to make our homes as comfortable and peaceful as we possibly could, because we’d be spending a lot of time indoors over the next … few weeks. It’s been a year, and we’re still at home. While we may not have found the ardor to eliminate all from our lives which does not spark joy, we have discovered a greater appreciation for our homes, for what we can accomplish there and for the people who inhabit them.

For our cover story, we ventured to Palmer Woods and to a midcentury home built in 1959, the first residential project by the late architect Irving Tobocman who designed 400 structures across the world before he died in 2017 (Page 48). Our homeowners, Kizzmett and Harold Collins, purchased the property in 1999, attracted to its unique façade and Tobocman’s layout, conducive to indoor-outdoor living. Over the years, the pair filled the space with works of art collected during their travels and pieces of sentimental significance, and, in 2018, they called on interior designer Jeanine Haith to bring it all together. 

Our kids have also had to learn what it means to make the most of your home environment. Most schools have been closed for in-person learning since last spring, with administrators scheduling virtual classes and parents makeshifting kitchen table workstations. We wonder: What effect is this isolation having on students’ social and emotional wellbeing (Page 44)? The grown-ups remember the skills tests. We learned a lot in school, only some of it by way of textbooks and blackboards. Are crucial lessons being missed? One Detroit family tells us how they’re coping. And Detroit Promise and Detroit College Access Network offer college preparation tips for students and parents, from applying for scholarships to choosing the right school (Page 40).

March is Women’s History Month and as we peer back let us also consider how we can get involved and make a difference in the present. We’ve scouted a handful of local organizations that center women and girls, and could use your time and attention. Also, in a bit of cheeky fun, we’ve got an all-pink beauty and fashion roundup, from powdery pastels to bold magentas (Page 36). And we check in with sculptor Austen Brantley and learn how he’s shifted his attention to public spaces while working to disrupt our idea of beauty, strength and masculinity (Page 30). Among additional offerings in this issue, you’ll find the latest in new books, TV and film (Page 33). Notably, The United States vs. Billie Holiday comes to Hulu. In this Lee Daniels adaptation starring Andra Day, we watch Holiday as she stands up against censorship and fights for a lady’s right to sing the blues.



Enjoy the issue.


Paris Giles, Senior Editor

home decor

The Art of Design: Palmer Woods Moderne

Kizzmett and Harold Collins walk us through their midcentury home, designed by famed architect Irving Tobocman, and dressed up with the help of designer Jeanine Haith and a thoughtful sprinkling of African art.
Palmer Woods

BLAC Photo Story: Palmer Woods Moderne

Photographer Barbara Barefield walks us through this midcentury Palmer Woods home designed by famed architect Irving Tobocman, and dressed up with the help of designer Jeanine Haith.
Zoom School

Social Studies: Considering the Effects of Zoom School Isolation on Kids’ Mental Health

Much has been discussed about whether this setup allows our children to grasp all that they need academically, but what about their social and emotional learning? One Detroit family opens up about how they’re trying to stay afloat in a sea of strange.
College prep

5 Things to Remember When Preparing for College

College preparation tips for parents and students from Detroit College Access Network and Detroit Promise.
Women's History Month

8 Local Orgs to Support in Honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History...

From reproductive health to STEM education, these local groups are all about girl power.
Austen Brantley

Sculptor Austen Brantley Reimagines Beauty, Strength and Masculinity

The artist has shifted geared toward more public works that invite community contemplation.

In Style: Pretty in Pink

Revving up the girl power in sugary pastels and spicy fuchsias.
New Black books and movies

Pop Art: New Black Books, TV and Movies

Recently released and ready to download and stream.

Subscription Service Goodpluck Delivers Fresh, Local Produce Right to Your Door

Owner Chening Duker’s Ghanaian roots influence his commitment to a connection to food and local farmers.
G.L.A.M. Body Scrubs

G.L.A.M. Body Scrubs Settle in on Walmart Shelves

The newest line from Amarra Products is all-natural and available at select Walmart stores in all 50 states and online.
Central City Integrated Health

Dr. Kimberly Farrow, President and CEO, Central City Integrated Health

This physician heads the ‘one-stop shop’ health care center committed to offering high-quality care to Detroit’s most vulnerable groups.
Family history

Ask the Expert: Why Does Family History Matter for Your Personal Health?

Obesity, diabetes and hypertension – all ailments that disproportionately affect the black community – have strong family ties.