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Old school and older school: Mind Fusion cross-fades jazz and hip hop

Sam Spruill, known to many as DJ Handsome Sam, has been managing at Cliff Bell’s, a beautifully restored 30s era jazz venue, for years. Two years ago, while searching for a way to combine his two loves — hip hop and jazz — he concocted Mind Fusion. Spruill says Mind Fusion is “a chance to display talent in the jazz scene in Detroit with a hip hop mentality.” Each event pairs a DJ with either a hard bop jazz ...

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J Dilla’s legacy preserved in the Smithsonian

James “J Dilla” Yancey, the late Detroit music producer whose stardom has grown globally since his passing in 2006, is headed toward enshrinement in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. Dilla’s mother Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey, announced the news at the ninth annual “D.C. Loves Dilla” event on July 17. The legendary hip hop musician will be represented in the museum by his MPC beat machine and his cus ...

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Black burlesque connects ‘History and Her-story’

On July 25, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., the “Unveiling the Hidden Story of Black Burlesque: Connecting History to Her-Story” workshop will be held at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. The discussion and presentation is hosted by International Black Burlesque Performers, a Detroit-based production company. Although the historical and cultural impacts of Black burlesque performers are often o ...

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Poetic Menace continues to revive hip hop culture

Poetic Menace struggled as a Detroit recording artist for over 20 years. The independent MC has gone from the highs of being on stage in front of a packed room and holding his own vinyl record in his hands, to the lows of self-doubt and a music industry rigged against him. But his self-proclaimed marriage to hip hop would not allow him to break free without trying harder to grow with the culture. Today, Poe ...

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Tarot and Tea divines brighter present for Detroiters

Nefertiti comes from a long line of spiritually precocious people. Her grandfather was a spiritualist. His son, a jazz musician, also had the gift. “He used to touch people’s hands and tell them about themselves,” Nefertiti says of her father. “(But) he was frustrated because he had to work a factory job. No one would take him seriously about his spiritual gift. It got to a point where adults would ask him ...

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Award-winning author brings perspective on Haitian crisis to Detroit

On January 12, 2010, the deadliest earthquake in the history of the Western Hemisphere struck the nation least prepared to handle it. Jonathan M. Katz, the only full-time American news correspondent in Haiti, was inside his house when it buckled along with hundreds of thousands of others. Katz chronicles the terror of that day, the devastation visited on ordinary Haitians, and how the world reacted to a nat ...

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Should African hair braiders need permission to work?

Across the country, however, more people need the government’s permission in the form of a license before they can work. A new national report released, July 16, by the Institute for Justice looks specifically at natural, or African-style hair braiding laws and finds that 34 states have severely restrictive braiding laws. ...

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Collaborative concert spotlights the ancestors

“I Do Mind Dying” Live Action Mixtape is set to rock July 19 from 8-11 p.m. at New Center Park in Detroit, featuring live music and art as a dedication to the spirit of those leaders and beloved public figures who have recently joined the ancestors. The show is free and open to all ages as a part of the New Center Park’s free summer concert series. The park is located at 2990 West Grand Boulevard at Second ...

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New Orleans brass band defied tradition to keep it alive

Traditions in New Orleans brass bands run deep. Fusing European marching standards with African polyrhythms in the 19th century, this musical practice gave birth to jazz, which continues to proliferate into new styles worldwide, including hip hop, funk and afrobeat. But with that august legacy comes a certain rigid orthodoxy. In 1990, Lumar LeBlanc was playing snare drum in the legendary Harold Dejan’s Youn ...

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