I Love Detroit - Sonny Munro - Falcons Interview
Conversations with Americans can run the full gamut of human intelligence, understanding and thought. On a recent trip to Detroit I encountered a white bar tender in his late 20s, working at a renowned restaurant in the city, who seemed fascinated by the sight of a sterling five pound note I was showing a fellow patron. As he inspected it a couple of questions sprung forth. "Who is this woman?" he inquired. I politely responded that it was the Queen, to which he then asked "Is she still alive?" When I told him that she was, he seemed genuinely shocked. "Wow, that is weird, 'cause over here you have to have been dead for at least a hundred years before they put your face on a bill." I ordered another drink and thought of Homer Simpson for some reason.
A rather more inspired and illuminating discourse took place at a run down community centre on the upper West side with a female film/documentary maker, who had spent the past three years of her life producing a fascinating visual profile of two parts of the downtown core that have since been bulldozed and replaced by a motorway, a block of flats and a baseball stadium - 'Black Bottom' and ' Paradise Valley'. Until the early 1960s, these areas housed most of the black owned businesses in Detroit, created a vibrant entertainment and hospitality scene and were home to the majority of black residents in the city, at a period when whites greatly outnumbered them. The shift in population, from the late 1950s, when whites made up 85% of the city's inhabitants, until today, when blacks now represent the very same percentage, is truly amazing, and goes some way to explaining why the outer suburbs of greater Detroit seem to get both greener and whiter as one travels north, away from the city itself. The actual Detroit City Limit is at Eight Mile Road, the boundary immortalized by Eminem and cynically referred to by some local whites as 'The Moat'.
note from the soul source team - sorry but all Robs non-current articles are now clipped due to a future book release - watch out for news of that!