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Jazz Café presents ‘A Man Can Change’


By Steve Furay

Special to the Michigan Citizen

DETROIT — Detroit’s spoken word community hosts a wealth of great talent, and Joel “Fluent” Greene is often at the center of the festivities.

On Oct. 5, his showcase “A Man Can Change” returns to the city for an evening that promises a packed house.

Showtime starts at 9 p.m. at The Jazz Cafe inside Music Hall, located at 350 Madison. The show will feature local poets Jah X-El, Jar the Poet, Prostell TJ Thomas, Black and Yusef Bunchy Shakur, along with other surprise guests. Tickets for the evening are $10.

This is the sixth production of the show for Fluent, who sees the showcase as a growing opportunity for men in Detroit’s creative community to explore the bounds of a man’s role in society. In addition to the artists, he has also included neighborhood activists like Shakur from the Urban Network Cyber Cafe to lend their perspectives to the audience.

“I’m always changing up the themes every month,” says Fluent. “One month was about love, another month was about change, this time it’s called ‘The Upside of Down’ because it’s all about creating out of adversity.

“Detroit being so gritty and raw, you see poverty and run-down houses, but at the same time the art that comes from here is really genuine. We’re authentic people here.”

Honesty is always at the heart of great poetry and the idea of a man’s change is true to Fluent’s life, both as an artist and person. He hopes the poetry presented will be an inspiration for others to want better for their own lives.

“I’m in a place right now where I’m improving myself,” Fluent told the Michigan Citizen. “I want to be a better man, I want to be a better father, I want to be a better person in general. It’s nice to do this show and work with people. It’s like self-therapy in a sense because I’m on a personal mission but at the same time I get to have a showcase that displays other positive men from the city. We’re all doing positive things; we’re using our talents in a good way.”

Part of Fluent’s self-evolution has been to understand his place in Detroit’s creative community. As a 15-year veteran of the spoken word scene in the city, going back to his days as host of Cafe Mahogany, many people gave him opportunities for the spotlight. Now is his time to give back to others.

“I think my responsibility now is put people on, be a bridge from this to that — any way I can do it, I want to do it.”

“A Man Can Change” is a showcase for male artists, but the event always begins with a woman blessing the stage. This month, the ladies will be represented by singer Sky Covington, plus sounds by DJ LaJedi.

“Even though it’s a male showcase,” says Fluent, “I always have a sister come up and do something first, just to open it up and pay respects to the women, and then we do our thing. But always a woman touches the mic first.”

For information about “A Man Can Change” at The Jazz Cafe at Music Hall, Detroit, visit, or call Fluent at 313.455.7118.

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