Big Sean’s Sean Anderson Foundation recently debuted a brand-new, multiuse production studio at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan’s Dick & Sandy Dauch Campus in Detroit. Over 3,000 visitors were treated to the first look at the completely renovated, reimagined center during the foundation’s Detroit’s On Now block party, which included everything from philanthropic engagement to performances and health screenings.
Shawn Wilson, BGCSM president and CEO, says the unveiling was the culmination of “eight months of hard, collaborative work,” resulting in an event that was “simply powerful.” Wilson adds, “It was amazing. The energy was high and the community was invigorated. Of course, Big Sean was there, and we didn’t have any incidents or tension – it was just really great to see that positive energy here.”
The facility aims to stimulate interest in entrepreneurial and entertainment careers in children and young adults. It’s equipped with a fully functioning stage, video and audio editing equipment, workable lighting modules and countless other state-of-the-art features, for kids with skills in all kinds of areas.
It’s difficult to find even one Big Sean verse where he isn’t giving a shout out to Detroit. If anyone deserves to claim support for the village that raised him, it’s Big Sean. This is the second production studio his foundation has gifted to the city; the first was unveiled at his alma mater Cass Technical High School in 2015.
“There are just so many talented young people in our city that just need the right tools and opportunities to help them reach their full potential,” Big Sean says. Support and encouragement are crucial in a city that breeds so much musical excellence and jump started his own career, he says.
“As a kid, I remember going to the Boys and Girls Club. I know they can help so many kids in Detroit.” The renovation was made possible by a $100,000 grant from the Sean Anderson Foundation to the BGCSM, a significant portion of which went to creating self-care refuges for meditation, yoga and mental health services.
Big Sean has long been outspoken about his own struggles with mental health and its stigma within the black community, particularly amongst black men. Wilson says that in addition to “edutainment” and career guidance, the BGCSM promises to provide “a safe place and caring, connected adults for youth to utilize.”
“It’s really courageous of Big Sean to share his experiences, especially for young black males,” Wilson says. “Influence from someone they admire might (encourage them to) open up, seek treatment, seek a therapist. It might give them the courage to speak out where they wouldn’t have.”
The Dauch center is reimagining what it means to serve the community as a whole. The club is the first in the nation to run a co-working and vocational training space for adults who will be able to use the pop-up shop and innovation labs to bring their ideas to market.
“When we think of businesspeople nowadays, we see a 20-year-old. But a lot of older adults are in the gig economy or trying to get their own ideas off the ground,” says Wilson. Partnering with sponsors like Ponyride, Puma and D’USSE allows the center to level up and reinvent the Boys and Girls Club experience, while still focusing on what’s most important.
16500 Tireman Ave., Detroit, 313-523-4540