DTU JOURNAL ENTRY 1: NEW ROADS LEAD TO REWARDING LIFE LESSONS IN DETROIT
Jordan Fisher (NNPA/DTU Journalism Fellow)
Never one to shy away from the challenge of greatness, I recently accepted the opportunity to work with the Black Press this summer in the National Newspaper Publishers Association “Discover The Unexpected” Journalism Fellowship program.
The program is sponsored by Chevrolet and the company’s “Finding New Roads” tagline played through my mind when I traveled to Detroit, Mich., for an immersion trip to meet with representatives from Chevrolet, the NNPA and the other journalism fellows.
When I arrived at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, I was greeted at the baggage claim area by some of the other journalism fellows: Alexa Spencer (Howard University), Darrell Williams (Morehouse College), Taylor Burris (Spelman College), Noni Marshall (Howard University), and Kelsey Jones (Spelman College).
After briefly settling into our hotels rooms of the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, we were quickly called back downstairs, loaded into executive charter buses, and whisked away to an exclusive welcome event at Ladder Company No. 12, a remodeled Detroit firehouse; that’s where Ayron Lewallen (Morehouse College) and Tiana Hunt (Clark Atlanta University), two of the other fellows joined us.
We were greeted by NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.; Chevrolet Diversity Marketing Manager Michelle Alexander; Jamilah Lemieux, award-winning journalist and road trip navigator for the program and publishers and editors from The Atlanta Voice, The Washington Informer, Louisiana Weekly, and The Carolinian, member newspapers of the NNPA.
Just inside the firehouse doors, another special guest was also waiting to greet us: the all-new 2018 Chevrolet Equinox. She was parked at a perfect angle, her orange burst metallic paint shined brightly, so everyone would notice her craftsmanship. Our jaws drooped at the first sight of her beauty. All of the fellows were thrilled when we found out that we’d actually get to drive the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox during a city-wide scavenger hunt around Detroit.
We hopped into the SUVs, in pairs of two, and hit the streets of Detroit with clues for our scavenger hunt. I was the partnered with my Howard sister, Alexa.
Our first clue led us to a famous, boutique clothing store called Detroit Vs. Everybody, founded by Tommey Walker. Rapper Eminem used the “Detroit Vs. Everybody” theme for the eponymous anthem featuring Royce Da 5’9″, Big Sean, Danny Brown, Dej Loaf, and Trick Trick. I loved the store, because it was tucked into a converted basement like a secret vault, as if only a select few had the key to enter. The store possessed so much style and edge, you could just breathe in the culture of hip-hop. The t-shirts were cool with tons of colors and styles to compliment anyone’s taste.
Continuing on our scavenger hunt, our next stop was Dilla’s Delights donut shop (created in honor of legendary hip-hop producer J Dilla), then N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, and finally the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
The most poignant stop on the scavenger hunt was the guided tour of the Wright Museum. During the tour, some of the fellows were moved to tears, visibly shaken, as we walked through the slavery exhibit. The naked, life-size figurines of captured Africans, chained together and stacked on top of each other on wooden planks in the belly of a slave ship, was a sight that none of us were prepared for; it was very hard for us to fathom that our African ancestors had once endured such inhumane conditions. There’s no arguing that the tour was a tough lesson to receive, however, it was a necessary one. It awakened our minds to the harsh truths of our past, while giving us a resolute sense of pride for how far we’ve come to achieve the freedoms we have today. That was the true beauty and reward of the immersion trip.
Jordan Fisher is a 2017 NNPA “Discover The Unexpected” Journalism Fellow and a student at Clark Atlanta University. This summer, Jordan is creating content for The Atlanta Voice, a member newspaper of the NNPA. Follow Jordan on Twitter @ThatGuyJLIVE.
Fellow, The Atlanta Voice
Jordan Fisher is a junior at Clark Atlanta University majoring in Mass Media Arts. Fisher brings a wide array of skills and experience to this DTU journey including serving as an intern for Georgia State Representative Ms. Gail Davenport, being a dynamic host for the AUC radio show Officially Live and being recognized by Future Business Leaders of America. As a DTU Fellow, Fisher hopes his strong work ethic and can-do spirit will help him make the most of this opportunity.