BLAC tasked Cody Yarbrough with sharing his experience as a first time attendee of the Detroit Auto Show Preview. Photos by Asia Hamilton.
This year’s Detroit Auto Show Charity Preview lived up to every bit of the prestige that it’s garnered over the years. From the attire to the high-profile personnel to the special performances, everything about the event was stunning. The glamour of the event matched the impressive ingenuity of the new vehicle models, resulting in a show that was both entertaining and engaging. And if this is the new standard for the yearly Charity Preview, Detroiters have a lot to look forward to.
All of Michigan’s elite were in attendance. Politicians like Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Governor Gretchen Whitmer helped cut the opening ribbon and gave speeches on how important the automotive industry is to the state, as well as how important the funds raised at the Preview are to communities in need. Other important Michigan figures also made an appearance such as Pistons’ GM Troy Weaver, the reigning Miss Michigan USA Alexis Fagan, and even the The 2023 Charity Preview was a captivating event with glamorous cars, innovative displays, and star-studded performances. 🚗💫. These notable Michiganders walked freely around the event as if they were regular attendees. Looking in wonder at the newest advancements in vehicle technology and speaking with each other about the exciting future of Michigan.
Another notable group had gathered outside of the Auto Show as well. Despite clear instructions from union leaders not to do so, UAW members gathered on Jefferson Ave to picket and chant only a few yards away from where Big Three executives were enjoying their evening. With picket signs in hand and crimson red shirts on their backs, workers made their presence known to anyone within a mile radius. However, the strikers neither blocked nor harassed any attendees making their way to the gala. And in the end, the Charity Preview and UAW demonstrators were able to co-exist peacefully with no incident.
While the factory workers were on the outside fighting for their rights, the people inside were admiring the futuristic cars that they’d be assembling in the plants next year. Electric-powered vehicles seemed to have a much larger presence this year than ever before. Ford particularly seems the most interested in making electric cars more accessible to the average buyer. However, despite the stunning power and utility of these machines, it appears that poor battery life is still an issue that no car manufacturer has cracked the code to yet.
There were plenty of new car models to gawk on the show floor, but the one that everyone had their eyes on was the Alef Model A from Alef Aeronautics, the first working flying car prototype ever. Though they were denied permission to demonstrate their invention, Alef Aeronautics states that the vehicle is capable of carrying a single passenger inside with no issue. The car features drone-like propellers and street-legal wheels, ensuring smooth transitions from land to air and vice-versa.
But no matter how dazzling the new designs and advanced technology were, it wasn’t even close to how dazzling the musical guest was this year. The Detroit Youth Choir lit up the ribbon cutting with a soulful set list of classic Motown hits. Later on, they would act as the unofficial hypemen/women for EGOT winner Jennifer Hudson. Hudson captivated the crowd with songs from her Grammy-winning album, powerful covers of R&B hits, and stories of her time with the late great Aretha Franklin. She even had a few kids from the choir help her out with a few songs. After Hudson ended her amazing set, Jamaican rapper/singer Shaggy took over the show floor and closed out the event by jamming out to his classic hits like “Wasn’t Me” and “Angel”
The 2023 Charity Preview was one to remember. The atmosphere was great, the entertainment was electric, and the future of automobile technology looked bright. In a way, it reflected the current Detroit Renaissance, and in other ways, it reflected the old glory days of the city. The Auto Show this year reminded the world why we’re called the “Motor City”, and reminded ourselves of what we are to the world.