The performances of music and poetry at the Celebrate Southwest event this past Saturday were extraordinary. More than one hundred people celebrated African American history month at the free concert at the Ford Resource & Engagement Center (FREC) at the Mexicantown Mercado. The slate of local artists who appeared was impressive.
The Detroit Jazz All-Stars, comprised of some of Detroit’s finest jazz musicians, performed standards highlighting the history of what has been called “America’s greatest cultural achievement.” The band featured Harvey Reed on keyboards, John Douglas on trumpet, De’Sean Jones on sax, Ibrahim Jones on bass, and Butter Hawkins on drums. The group was joined on stage for many numbers by Renee King Jackson, acclaimed jazz and gospel singer, playwright and theatrical performer.
Mosaic Youth Theatre Troupe, a celebrated youth troupe, performing music that included spirituals, African songs, funk and Motown.
Jessica Care Moore, renowned poet and founder of Black Women Rock, performed a tribute to the late poet and writer Amiri Baraka. Jessica also read her poem “You May Not Know My Detroit.”
Mayowa Lisa Reynolds, educator, performing artist and minister, served as emcee. Ozzie Rivera, head of the Community Engagement program at Southwest Solutions, and himself an accomplished musician, lead the organizing of the event. The event is part of the Celebrate Southwest concert series and initiative to celebrate the arts, culture and community of southwest Detroit, which is recognized as the most diverse neighborhood in the state.
Celebrate Southwest is sponsored by the Ford Motor Company Fund, the Ford Resource & Engagement Center, and Southwest Solutions.
To see the Facebook photo essay: Celebrate Southwest: African-American history month concert.