Otta Benga, Formerly Enslaved
The Epitome of a Nubian Knight

Otta Benga, Formerly Enslaved<br>The Epitome of a Nubian Knight

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"Whenever I use BLACK it relates to some history of Africans in that particular place. It’s the idea of the color BLACK as a metaphor, or as a representation of African-Americans. It’s the notion of BLACK- BLACKNESS - and all its other meanings in relation to the history of race..."

- Fred Wilson

"Most of my fortitude to continue doing the work comes from the moral outrage I feel about the injustices that Black people endure disproportionately daily."

- N. Abdul-Wakil

"In the end, what matters is not skin shade but pan-African consciousness. Loving your complexion, your nose, lips, hair length and texture, no matter what the politics or trends decide, and simply be. That's the problem with us (African folks). We're still learning how to love ourselves. So used to glorifying others and putting others first..."

- Dredlocks Tree

The REEL Black Same Gender Loving Filmography Resource (A 24/7 ONLINE FILM DATABASE)

The REEL Black Same Gender Loving Filmography Resource (A 24/7 ONLINE FILM DATABASE)
Click The Pic To Access The Film Library Database! (166 Films)
LAST UPDATE: Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

ROD's Summer Trip To Michigan (2011) - Part I
DAY 1: 1917 American Bistro / Dabl's African Bead Gallery / Ruth Ellis Center


Say whatever want about the economic climate of the country, and most especially Detroit with the fall of the car industry, BUT BABY, LET ME TELL YOU, THERE IS PLENTY TO CELEBRATE IN DETROIT, MICHIGAN! After having an awesome time at the 25th Annual and Silver Anniversary of the ADODI Summer Retreat in Hamilton, New York, I drove back via Canada (with passport in hand) in our van with some friends to Michigan. I spent the next 7 days, mostly in Detroit, but also in Ann Arbor and Canton, Michigan as well. I had an AWESOME time and wanted to share my adventures and some of the really nice Black businesses that I patronized throughout this summer trip.

So... in my mind there are some compelling reasons to visit Detroit; and if you live in Detroit, there's some places to (re)visit.

I will be posting my trip over multi-part segments.

DAY 1: Monday, July 25th, 2011...

All Photography

Chillin' In The Wee Hours Of Monday Morning
My Friends Louis, Calvin and Curtis

Curtis' Beautiful Art In The House

My Friend Yes Looking at Michael-Christopher's
Newly Published
Coffee Table Book Called

- And YES! The Book Is Available For Sale
At Michael-Christopher's Official Website:

Copyright © 2011 Michael-Christopher

NEXT... later in the afternoon Curtis suggested we go to 1917 American Bistro (aka 1917). I have to tell you: the food was phucking outstanding as well as the customer service...

A Side Wall Mural at 1917. BEAUTIFUL ART!

Click Images To Enlarge

The Manager Brought Out Our Food.
The Blackened Fish, Salmon, Sauteed Spinach
And Smashed
(That's What They Call It) Potatoes
Were So, So Good
Smiley Teeth.gif

Yes And Calvin Were In "Heat" Over One Of The Waiters.
We Found Out His Name Was Robert...

Yes And Calvin were real serious when they insisted I take pictures of him. They were like, "Get some damn pictures!". He's physically gifted, yet (and in all seriousness) was very attentive to his customers he waited on. A very cute brutha all the way around (no pun intended) and nice personality it seemed...


1917 has 2 floors: the main/ground level was where we ate; later on we went upstairs where there is more seating and an outdoor deck. The decor was really nice. There is beautiful art hanging throughout the establishment...

Yes And Calvin Looking Around
At Some Of The Hanging Artwork

The upstairs area, though open to customers, was being improved and a carpenter brutha was working on what appears to be another bar..

Calvin And Yes At "1917" Upstairs On The Outdoor Deck

GO Visit A Black Business Y'all!

1917 American Bistro
19416 Livernois Avenue
(Between St Martins Avenue and S. Outer Drive)
Detroit, Michigan 48221

Official Website:


While In The Car,
I Took A Photo Of These Kids Walking Around In Detroit

Detroit In Known For Their Massive Chains of "Coney Island"
Stores. They Specialize In Hot DOgs...

According to Wikipedia: Coney Island hot dog (also Coney dog or Coney) refers to a natural casing beef hot dog, topped with an all-meat beanless chili, and diced or chopped white onions with one or two strips of yellow mustard. The variety is a fixture in Jackson, Flint, Detroit, and southeastern Michigan. Despite the name, the "Coney Island" preparation style has little direct association with Coney Island, New York itself, beyond a recognition of the birthplace of the original hot dog.

I'm from Coney Island, Brooklyn, and so... WE ARE THE ORIGINAL CONEY ISLAND, Baby! I LOVE YOU Detroit, but you bitin' (aka copying) y'all!

NEXT... we went to Dabl's African Bead Gallery/Mbad Museum. I HAVE NEVER SEEN SO MANY BEADS IN ONE PLACE IN ALL MY LIFE..

MBAD'S African Bead Museum
6559 Grand River Avenue
(between W. Grand Blvd and Dexter Avenue)
Detroit, Michigan 48208

(313) 898-3007

Official Website: mbad.org

Bead Gallery Hours: 12pm to 7pm Mon-Sat.

We are a major repository for African artifacts- including sculptures, textiles, pottery, and bead works dating back hundreds of years, from countless cultures throughout Africa.

We also carry the finest selection of beads for sale.

We offer guided tours (by reservation) and have 3 outside Public Art installations:
- Iron Teaching Rocks How To Rust
- The N'Kisi Iron House
- African Language Wall

We look forward to seeing you!

Calvin, Yes and Myself (Not Pictured) Were Greeted By A Brutha
(DAMN! I Forgot His Name - Sorry Bro!) To The Gallery


It Was A Little Tempting To Purchase That
Walking Stick/Cane
Beautifully Designed/Crafted!!

These Are The Drums Out Back On The Side Of The Building.
The Brutha In The African Mask Playing Them Said
He Positioned Them There On Purpose

Because It Makes The Drum Sounds Travel For Blocks
When The Sound Bounces From The Brick Wall

I Figured It'd Make For An Interesting
Artistic Self-Portrait Mirror Shot


This IS A Wall Much Further Out Back
As Part Of The Mbad Museum.
I Thought I Caught The Sun Nicely

A Little Lens Flare Is Good For Ya!

Well, there's only one original "BIG ROD" so I think someone co-opted my name and changed it around. I'll take the flattery...

NEXT... we stopped off at the Ruth Ellis Center. Ruth C. Ellis was a Black same gender loving woman. She was an activist who transitioned and believed to be the oldest SGL sistah at 101 years old.

The center is a safe haven for Black SGL youth in Detroit.

Ruth Ellis Center
(Founded: 1999)

77 Victor Street
Highland Park, Michigan

Ruth Ellis Center Overview:

The Ruth Ellis Center is one of the nation's three, and the midwest's only agency dedicated to serving homeless LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-atractional, Transgender and Questioning) youth.

The LGBTQ population is overly represented in the runaway and homeless youth population. The needs of these young people include shelter, food, clothing and healthcare and may also include addressing the problems of addiction, alcohol abuse and sexual exploitation. LGBTQ street youth also face the added burden of dealing with internal conflicts and social ostracism.

Official Facebook Page:

Magazine and Pamphlet Resources

Bulletin Board Resources

A Laundry Pantry For The Youth To Wash Their Clothes
And Have Shoe s To Wear

The Kitchen Area

Birthday Remembers For Ruth Ellis

The Computer Center Area

Calvin Reading The Wall Materials

The Youth Created Multiple Murals
On The Side Wall Of The Ruth Ellis Center

And I Thought Only In New York City!
Detroit Has Their Hot Rod Rides, Too!

ROD's Summer Trip To Michigan (2011)
- Part II
DAY 3: Motown Museum / KICK's 2nd Annual Boat Ride


  1. OK, so when I go to Detroit must stop at 1917 Bistro every day and eat all my meals there and ask for Robert as my server! LOL!!!

  2. LOL! Yeah, Greg! Definitely hit "1917".

    Robert wasn't our waiter, but Calvin and Yes wished he was. They had me take the pictures you saw.

  3. Hey Greg,

    I had every intent on being at BedStuy Pride, but I was so tired the night before and slept through the day.

    I did have my camera ready to go shoot and meet my heterosexual male cousin at the event, but ala I never made it.