September + October 2021


Last month, I talked about the beauty of revolution and change. Today, as we get the first year of our own revolution at BLAC under our belts, I’m reflecting on the scrapes and bumps along the way. Here, at the office, we often say, “We are not striving for perfection, we are striving for excellence.”

Perfection isn’t just elusive, it’s a fond illusion. Even if we get to perfection, maintaining it isn’t sustainable. Our humanity keeps that in check. Excellence has quality and merit. It gives us something more distinct to work against.


In striving for excellence, we follow the mantra “Space and Grace”. That is, giving people enough latitude or “head space” to grow and the grace of understanding what it will take for them to get there. Unlike perfection, excellence allows for hiccups and bumps along the way. If we’re honest with ourselves, we have all made mistakes and experienced defeat on our chase to excellence. Space and grace is a humane and a beautiful theory, but it’s hard to put into practice.

For instance, one of our feature articles in the August issue, had a graphical error that made for some curious reading. It’s aggravating and embarrassing. Thank you for the space and grace. Deadlines cause tension, personalities come with attitudes, and sometimes for whatever reason, we can’t grow into the headspace or take the grace that has been given. Conversely, there are folks out there who are unwilling or just plain don’t want to give space or grace. We still love them where they are.

This month’s issue is important to all of us at BLAC. It marks the one year anniversary since we introduced the physical and design changes to BLAC Detroit. The changes were seemingly a group of little things, but from what we hear from you, they have had a big impact. The size, the velvety-soft cover, the bolder, more engaging graphics — these are all things that came out of allowing ourselves space and grace.

This month, in conjunction with the new movie, our cover story celebrates the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin and other female singers and fashion icons. As you flip through the pages, you will also catch our love for some of the greatest music venues in the world we are lucky enough to have here in Detroit. Our style team also takes a fresh look at home decor with Loretta Crenshaw, Detroit’s grande dame of interior design. We have a discussion with the founders of We Run 313 about building a happier, healthier and more connected Detroit through running. We close this month’s issue with pictures from our BLAC StyleMakers event, hosted by our partner Neiman Marcus. Everyone turned up and got their hustle on to celebrate Detroit’s most fashionable.

Enjoy this month’s issue and remember what The Queen said: “You cannot define a person on just one thing. You can’t just forget all these wonderful and good things that a person has done because one thing didn’t come off the way you thought it should come off.” – Aretha Franklin

With Gratitude,

Billy Strawter Jr


RESPECT: the Fashion of Black Female Icons

Feature Editor: Ann Duke                                                                                                                        Photographer: J. Singleton                                                                                                                                        Fashion Stylist: Marv Neal With the current release of Respect, the biopic depicting the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin,...

The Wall: A Detroit Story

Written by Keith Owens, co-founder of Detroit Stories Quarterly         In 1941 the Birwood Wall was built in Detroit. The purpose of that wall, which...

Driving Community: East Side Community Network

A year-long series featuring Detroiters who are driving positive change in their communities. Donna Givens-Davidson, President & CEO,East Side Community NetworkThis experienced, steadfast city servant...

Building Detroit One Run At A Time

WERUN313 is building a happier,healthier and more connected community. BLAC Magazine: The organization was founded May 4th 2019. What was the inspiration for WeRun313?     Joe:...

Growing Community Through Creativity

Doug Jones is a multifaceted artist from Jackson, MI whose practice encompasses everything from paintings and murals to video and garden architecture. Although his...
Ascension Hypertension taking blood pressure

What Do I Need To Know About My Risk For Hypertension?

 Samantha Wein M.D. Contrary to what the name might imply, “hypertension” isn’t defined by overly tense muscles. It’s a measurement of how quickly blood...

A Desire To Do More

Brandon Bedinger has always been an athlete and competitor, always striving to push himself. When it came time for a new challenge in life,...