Category: Breaking News Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director
updated 8:57 PM EST, Thu December 5, 2013
Australian and English cricket fans in Adelaide, Australia, observe a minute of silence Friday, December 6, to mark the passing of Nelson Mandela. Mandela, the revered statesman who emerged from prison to lead South Africa out of its dark days of apartheid, died on Thursday, December 5. He was 95.
World reacts to Mandela's death
- Obama: I cannot imagine my own life without the example Mandela set
- Sexwale: "He was embraced even by even white wardens, his own jailers"
- "He had a wicked sense of humor, a twinkle in his eye," Richard Branson says
(CNN) -- Word of former South African President Nelson Mandela's death Thursday sparked an outpouring of responses and personal recollections from around the world.
Here are some of them:
South African President Jacob Zuma
"Our thoughts are with the South African people, who today mourn the loss of the one person who, more than any other, came to embody their sense of a common nation. Our thoughts are with the millions of people across the world who embraced Madiba as their own, and who saw his cause as their cause. This is the moment of our deepest sorrow. Our nation has lost its greatest son."
Powell: Mandela was humble, gracious
U.S. Presidents on Mandela's legacy
David Cameron remembers Nelson Mandela
De Klerk describes meeting Mandela
U.S. President Barack Obama
"My very first political action, the first thing I ever did that involved an issue or policy or politics was a protest against apartheid. I would study his words and his writings, the day he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they're guiding by their hopes and not by their fears. And like so many around the globe I cannot imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set. And so as long as I live, I will do my best to do what I can to learn from him."
Tokyo Sexwale, who was imprisoned with Mandela on Robben Island
"Nelson Mandela demonstrated that leadership is not about power, but on the contrary, about honor. That is what we learned from Nelson Mandela during the dark days with him on Robben Island. Today he is seen as an icon in the world, whose teachings, principles and values need to be embraced by all. He was embraced even by even white wardens, his own jailers, because he demonstrated that through the power of dialogue...people on different sides, former enemies, can come together. That's how we in South Africa were able to resolve our intractable problems created by the racist system of apartheid.
"My cell was only about 2-3 meters away from his cell. His cell was small, but it contained a very formidable and larger than life figure."
U.N. Security Council
"President Nelson Mandela will forever be remembered as someone who gave up so much of his life in the struggle for freedom, so that millions could have a brighter future."
Retired Gen. Colin Powell, former U.S. secretary of state
"I knew him. I had dinner with him. I had conversations with him, and what always struck me was his humbleness. He was a humble, gentle, warm person, even though he was a fighter on the military stage as well as the political stage. ... He approached everybody he met as a fellow human being and equal to him, and that's what I remember."
U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel of New York
"When I returned to South Africa for his inauguration and saw him have as one of his honored guests the prison guard that had kept him incarcerated, I said this is a quality that most human beings don't even think that they're capable of. And then from the jail cell to President of South Africa, what a man, what a life. What an inspiration. And the standard that he's raised for public servants, I know I can't, but I don't know anyone that could ever rise to what he's represented," Rangel told CNN affiliate NY1. "And so, when everything looks disappointing, looks overwhelming, whether you're white or black, no matter what country you're from, I think if you can think of Nelson Mandela's dilemma and how he's overcome it, it'll be an inspiration for all world leaders."
Luol Dong, Chicago Bulls basketball blayer
"I wish they would pause everything so the whole world can give thanks."
"In the end, Nelson Mandela showed us how to love rather than hate, not because he had never surrendered to rage or violence, but because he learnt that love would do a better job. Mandela played with the highest stakes. He put his family, his country, his time, his life on the line, and he won most of these contests. Stubborn til the end for all the right reasons, it felt like he very nearly outstared his maker. Today, finally, he blinked. And some of us cry, knowing our eyes were opened to so much because of him."
Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Group Ltd.
"He had a wicked sense of humor, a twinkle in his eye. He would burst into singing and dancing. And yet at the same time, there was a serious side to him. He set up a wonderful organization called The Elders in order for his legacy to live on. He took time and trouble appointing six wonderful men and women...and he asked them to continue his legacy after he'd gone.
Last Updated on Thursday, 05 December 2013 21:32
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Bankole Thompson Michigan Chronicle Senior Editor
“I have fought against White domination and I have fought against Black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal, which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela in his own words from the dock at the Rivonia trial before the Pretoria Supreme Court, June 11, 1964. After his famous “I am Prepared to Die” speech, Mandela and seven others, including Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Elias Motsoaledi, Andrew Mlangeni, Ahmed Kathrada and Denis Golberg would be convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.
What was their crime?
For standing against a brutal and racist apartheid regime that shamelessly carried out well orchestrated economic subjugation and blatant dehumanization against a race of people in the face of an international community that stood by and watched as Mandela and his colleagues were rushed to prison.
On Feb. 11, 1990, Mandela came out of Robben Island. His release was symbolic as well as pragmatic for Blacks in South Africa and around the world. The essence of his 27-year imprisonment and subsequent release provided the political framework for emancipation struggles involving oppressed people around the globe. From the streets of Detroit, which led mass demonstrations, to the towns and villages in Nigeria whose leaders supported Mandela, the cries of liberation could be heard just as in the film “Sarafina.”
Mandela died today at 95 after a long battle with lung cancer leaving behind a nation that is still mired in the struggle for economic justice for the masses of Black South Africans.
In South Africa he is called “Tata,” which means “father”; some say “Madiba,” which refers to the clan he belongs to; and still others call him “Khulu,” which means “great” or “paramount.”
In Detroit we should name a street or an educational institution after Mandela. If the city of London in Britain can erect a life-size statue of Mandela alongside British war heroes, Detroit, which is the Mecca of Black America, should name a street or school after Mandela to honor his legendary lighthouse global statesmanship.
Leadership is not only parading the emblem of being the largest African American conclave in the nation. Leadership means also honoring the lives of those who have been remarkably pivotal in the battle for political and economic emancipation of an oppressed people. Too often the habitual form of celebration in the Black community is to wait for such exemplary leaders to pass away before any concrete show of respect and observance of their legacy is instituted.
It is instructive that Detroit was one of the first places Mandela made his triumphant entry in 1990 for a major rally at the Tiger stadium after his release from jail. It was not surprising that after getting off the plane at the airport in Detroit, one of the first persons Mandela recognized among the entourage (including Mayor Coleman A. Young) that came out to meet him was Rosa Parks, matriarch of the Civil Rights Movement who had chosen Detroit as her home.
“He is the epicenter of the African liberation movement. His magnificent legacy and work is worthy of honor and respect globally,” Detroit City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson told me when Mandela turned 90. “I remember when he came to Detroit for the city-wide tribute. While New York City spent three days raising money for him, Detroit did it in one day.”
Yes. That again is no mistake because to know Detroit’s history is to understand that it is a place rooted in popular struggle and mass mobilization; it is where Martin Luther King Jr. first delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech and Malcolm X gave his “The Ballot or the Bullet” presentation. It is the home of Albert Cleage Jr. where he gave a different meaning to Christianity, emphasizing a Black theology that advocates the empowerment of the Black community. Detroiters, both Black and White, recognized the significance of what was going on in South Africa.
I recall three years before she died, former Detroit City Council President Maryann Mahaffey engaged me in a deep conversation at her office about her view of the world. Mahaffey was not the typical politician.. She was always accessible to the media, myself and other city beat reporters covering city hall for interviews or disentangling any complicated public policy. She was upfront, and always made it clear where she stood: the spirited fight to uplift the underprivileged.
And so in my conversation with Mahaffey she recounted so many stories about her life. But one that stood out the most and showed the nexus between Detroit and South Africa was her arrest in front of the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C., for demonstrating against the apartheid regime..
Out of all her noble work, Mahaffey’s anti-apartheid moment in Washington, D.C., helped to define her legacy as a White woman who did not pander to race and racism but the commonality of the struggles of the underclass across races.
Political freedom is an achievement. Economic opportunities with sound policies that do not undercut the road for real economic transformation is what South Africa and any other developing nation or struggling city needs. Any serious political leadership that aims to empower economically starving communities would work towards creating possibilities and action-oriented programs that would lead to well-paying jobs. A hungry community or nation cannot feed on empty fiery rhetoric as Mugabe is forcing his people to do or sing refrains of “Gloriana Africana.”
Understanding Mandela’s legacy on his death would mean working for economic freedom. Nelson Mandela did his part.
He issued this warning at the conclusion of a London celebration in his honor before a crowd of 46,000.
“Madiba” urged, “Our work is for freedom for all. We say tonight, after nearly 90 years of life, it is time for new hands to lift the burdens. It is in your hands now, I thank you.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 05 December 2013 19:45
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
The auction house Christie's put a price tag on one of Detroit's highest-profile assets - the city's share of the Detroit Institute of Arts collection - but the masterworks might not be worth enough to help the city out of its financial crisis.
Christie's said on Wednesday that nearly 3,000 works controlled by the city are worth between $452 million and $866 million. The appraisal surprised some experts who thought the works, which include masterpieces by van Gogh and Matisse, might be worth more.
The finding by Christie's, hired to place a value on art treasures that have become a point of heated debate over the past few months in the city and its suburbs, could become a contested element of the Detroit bankruptcy if the city tries to "monetize" its masterpieces. The report puts a range of value on 2,781 works owned or partially owned by the city.
Christie's also proposed five alternatives to an outright sale of the art, including using the collection as collateral for a loan to the city.
The holdings represent only about 5 percent of the total number of art pieces in DIA's collection. But Christie's, which sought to appraise the most valuable pieces in the city-owned collection, stated that 11 of those pieces account for 75 percent of the total value of all appraised pieces.
With the finding Tuesday that Detroit is bankrupt under Chapter 9 of the federal bankruptcy code, it is possible the city may seek to monetize some of the artwork. With debts totaling $18.5 billion, Detroit may need to sell all or part of the DIA collection as part of its plan to emerge from bankruptcy.
But the relatively low price range Christie's assigned to the collection could make the art a less vital asset than some observers had expected, said Michael Bennett, a law professor at Northeastern University and a bankruptcy expert who has written about the plight of the DIA.
"If Christie's is saying that we'd be looking at something less than $1 billion, and perhaps something significantly less than $1 billion, in proceeds from a sale, clearly that's not even a drop in the bucket if you bear in mind the magnitude of the financial deficit of the city," Bennett said.
Christie's report did not specify the works that were appraised, but some of the most best-known works owned by the city include an 1887 self-portrait by Vincent van Gogh and Henri Matisse's "The Window," an oil painting of a turqouise-shaded drawing room.
Another highlight: a rare 1566 painting, "The Wedding Dance," by Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder, that depicts a joyous wedding party.
In its report to the city, Christie's proposed five potential approaches to monetize the collection without having to sell it. Options including use of city-owned works as collateral; long-term leases; and sales to philanthropists who might loan pieces back to the city could be used in combination to raise funds for the cash-strapped city, the auction house said.
"The current robust global art market coupled with the fact that the city-owned collection contains some high-quality and valuable works, suggest this could be an effective financing arrangement," Christie's America President Doug Woodham said about the proposed use of the collection as collateral for a line of credit.
The city could raise money from a traveling exhibition of select DIA pieces and might create a "masterpiece trust," selling shares in city-owned works to other museums, Christie's said.
The DIA declined to comment on the appraisal but said in a statement that it "continues to maintain its position that the museum collection is a cultural resource, not a municipal asset." The museum also said that if the collection were threatened, it would be "committed to taking appropriate action to preserve this cultural birthright for future generations.
Bill Nowling, a spokesman for Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
With Wednesday's report, Christie's has completed two of three phases of appraisal assigned to it when Orr retained the auction house in August: valuing 319 city-owned works on view in the museum's galleries, then appraising pieces in storage estimated to be worth more than $50,000.
The third phase involves lesser works in storage and should be completed later this month.
Christie's sought to appraise the DIA art at fair market value, the price at which a piece would be sold in an appropriate market.
The market for fine art has sizzled this year. Francis Bacon's "Three Studies of Lucian Freud" fetched a record-breaking $142 million in a Christie's sale last month. The Nov. 13 auction in New York brought in $691 million, the highest in art market history, and prompted talk of a bubble.
'DELAYS THE INEVITABLE'
Detroit's options for the DIA could be limited by resistance from surrounding suburbs. In 2012, voters in Detroit and the three suburban counties voted to increase property taxes to help cover the DIA's operating expenses, and suburban officials have threatened to quit sending tax proceeds, which provide about two-thirds of the museum's budget of about $35 million, if DIA art is sold.
But Orr has maintained that the city must value all of the city's assets, including the art. He also has said the city is looking at other assets to monetize, including the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, Coleman A. Young International Airport or other city-owned parking lots or land.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes in his ruling Tuesday warned that asset sales will not provide a solution to Detroit's long-term financial problems.
"A one-time infusion of cash, whether from an asset sale or borrowing, delays the inevitable," he said.
A group of the city's largest creditors last month asked Rhodes to approve an independent valuation of the DIA's collection. Also last month, a federal judge acting as chief mediator in the bankruptcy case put forward a proposal that a group of non-profit foundations could create a fund to protect the DIA's city-owned art.
Last Updated on Thursday, 05 December 2013 23:43
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
Wayne S. Brown, Director of Music and Opera for the National Endowment for the Arts since 1997 and a native Detroiter, has been named President and CEO of the Michigan Opera Theatre (MOT) effective January 1. He succeeds David DiChiera who founded MOT in 1971 and has served as General Director of the theatre since its inception. Dr. DiChiera will remain as Artistic Director.
"We are thrilled to have a man of Wayne Brown's experience and vision to take over the role that David has so capably carried out for so many years," said Rick Williams, MOT chairman. "And we are delighted that David will continue as artistic director, the role that's always been closest to his heart."
DiChiera announced in February that he planned to step down from his role as General Director to focus on the artistic and production side of the theatre. A search committee, including Dr. DiChiera, has been reviewing and interviewing candidates for the position since that time. Brown is the committee's unanimous and enthusiastic choice to join David as the organization moves into the next chapter in its development.
"We considered a variety of candidates with a variety of backgrounds, candidates from across the country, and none of them equaled Wayne's level of experience and enthusiasm for the job. He has a glittering professional record, is a nationally recognized and respected figure in the arts community, and isas thrilled to be coming home to Detroit as we are to have him," Williams said.
In addition to managing grants for music and opera projects at the NEA, Brown directed the NEA Jazz
Masters Fellowships, the nation's highest honor in jazz. Prior to his affiliation with the NEA he served as producer of music programs for the Cultural Olympiad in Atlanta, GA, where he managed music events associated with the 1996 Olympic Games. He also is a former executive director of the Louisville Orchestra and was a founding member of the "Magic in Music" advisory committee for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Brown began his career with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra where he was instrumental in bringing about the DSO's first annual Classical Roots Concert. He is a graduate of the Music School at the University of Michigan.
"Coming home to Michigan to be part of the city's transformation and to work side-by-side with a legend like David DiChiera is a huge honor for me," said Brown. "It's an opportunity of a lifetime and I look forward to building on the enormous strides David, the Board and the staff have made in making MOT one of the premier opera companies in the United States. I can't wait to get started."
"This is a win-win situation for Wayne, for David, for MOT and for the City of Detroit," Williams said. "David has been the inspiration and the power behind MOT for decades and we're blessed that he wants to continue to play an active role. Having Wayne here to lead the team, direct day to day operations, and build the plan for the future was our major priority and will allow David to focus on the part of the business he loves most. We couldn't have asked for a better outcome."
Underscoring the enthusiasm over today's announcement, Marc Scorca, President of Opera America, said, "The appointment of Wayne Brown as President and CEO of Michigan Opera Theatre is tremendously exciting. Wayne will arrive at the company with an established national reputation, an incomparable knowledge of artistic trends and best management practices, and an unparalleled level of goodwill among his opera colleagues. He has a long-standing commitment to Detroit and its cultural community and will build on the strong foundation laid by David DiChiera."
Last Updated on Thursday, 05 December 2013 13:40
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
– Just a month following the election, Detroit Mayor-elect Mike Duggan will give the keynote address at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) 2013 Annual Meeting on Thursday, Dec. 12 in The Music Box at the Max M. Fisher Music Center (3711 Woodward Ave.).
“There is not a cosmopolitan city in the world that does not have a thriving fine arts community," said Duggan. "The DSO is, and will continue to be, a key player in what makes Detroit a great place to live and to visit. I am honored to have the opportunity to reaffirm that fact at the DSO's upcoming annual meeting.”
Based on the themes of People, Place and Purpose, the meeting will also feature performances by DSO musicians and remarks from DSO Chairman Phillip Wm. Fisher; Michael Keegan, Senior Vice President of Supply Chain Management at Chrysler Group LLC and DSO Trustee Chairman and Stephen D’Arcy, Principal of The Quantum Group and DSO Trustee.
The DSO announced earlier this year that its 2013 Annual Fund campaign set a record-breaking pace by raising more than $18.9 million in the fiscal year ending August 31, 2013. This represents a 43 percent increase compared with the 2012 campaign, which raised $13.2 million. Over $6 million of the total came from the exceedingly generous giving of DSO directors and trustees.
Last Updated on Thursday, 05 December 2013 13:18
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Donald James
Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013 was a bittersweet day for Joyce Hayes Giles, assistant to the chairman and senior vice president of public affairs for DTE Energy. On one hand, she was retiring from DTE after 35 years and looking forward to the perks of freedom that most retirees treasure. On the other hand, she was leaving a company that has become a major part of her adult and professional life, and has allowed her to become a friend and change agent to the community.
As Giles looks back over a three decade-plus career at DTE, she has every reason to be proud of her time and contributions to the company and community. Over the years, she has served DTE in numerous senior executive and directorship positions, including such areas as customer relations, material management, administrative services, customer information and physical assets.
Giles remembers her first day on the job in 1978 when she joined the company as its manager of compensation. DTE was known as MichCon. at the time.
“I didn’t plan on being with the company more than maybe three years,” said Giles, who previously worked for the Automobile Club of Michigan and Chrysler Corporation. “Someone at my previous company told me that I would be bored working for MichCon because it was just a sleepy utility company. That person was wrong, as I was given some great challenges and opportunities. When I started working in human resources, I realized that this company was different. DTE treated its employees and customers very well. It wasn’t a perfect culture, but it was evolving.”
In her time with DTE, Giles said there are many memorable moments.
“I loved when DTE became laser-focused on improving its customer service and really valuing its community involvement at a very high level,” Giles said. “I appreciate that the company developed a strong passion for serving the community and allowed me to create and design programs that helped those who needed help. I will greatly miss that part of what I loved doing for the community.”
Over a significant part of her career with DTE, Giles was the face of the company.
“I’ve had so many people come up to me and say, ‘thank you for being so passionate about helping our community,’” Giles said. “For a long time people in the community didn’t know who our officers were. It was important that we came out to be a valuable part of the community. While it’s true that companies are in the business to earn money, there’s more to it than just making money, it’s about caring about people and their communities as well.”
Growing up in Jackson, Mississippi, Giles was taught at an early age to care about people. She also learned that education would be her passport to prosperity and the world. As a youth, she had career aspirations of becoming a psychiatric social worker.
After high school, she went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Knoxville College, a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Detroit, and a law degree from Wayne State University Law School.
Since arriving in Detroit in 1972, Giles has been a true Detroiter.
“This is home for me,” said Giles. “I love the city and its people.”
After she retires on Dec. 1, she has plans to travel. She knows that Los Angeles will be a frequent destination for her because both of her adult daughters live there; one is an aspiring actress, the othe a screenplay writer.
For Giles, total retirement is out of the question. One look at her biography shows a multiplicity of civic and community affiliations — too many to list — that only begin to define her dedication to making life better for others. For her professional and personal efforts, she has received dozens of local, regional and national awards and honors that speak volumes to her leadership and humanitarian acumen.
While Giles won’t reveal all of her post-DTE plans, she did share that she is not leaving her love for serving the community; she will surface again will goals of empowering the people and communities of Detroit on some level.
In addition, Giles will become an adjunct professor at Wayne State University next year, where she will teach business ethics in the school’s MBA program. Also, she is getting married next fall.
“For those who know me, they know that I’m not capable of just riding into the sunset and sitting down” said Giles, with a laugh. “I have to have purpose. I have to continue to do something meaningful to help improve people’s lives in and around Detroit.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 05 December 2013 10:11
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Donald James
He has been called a musical genius, a dream weaver, an international pop culture icon, and a pioneering entrepreneur, all of which only begin to define Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Record Corporation, perhaps the world’s most beloved record label in history.
As the mastermind behind the Detroit-born hitmaking “Motown music machine,” Gordy launched the careers of such greats as Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell, Mary Wells, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Martha Reeves and The Vandellas, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 and many more. From these artists came hundreds of hits, described by Gordy as “The Sound of Young America.”
On Saturday, Dec. 7, in the Grand Ballroom of Cobo Center, the Michigan Chronicle will honor Gordy, a native Detroiter, with its Lifetime Achievement Award at the Legacy in Motion event. While he has received a litany of awards and honors over the last seven decades, this one, according to Gordy, will be special.
“I could not be more excited than to be honored by the Michigan Chronicle, because the newspaper represents my roots,” said Gordy, during a phone interview from Southern California. “Selling the Michigan Chronicle was one of my very first jobs that I ever had when I was around 12 or 13. The newspaper represented hopes and dreams for me. I outsold everybody because even then I wanted to be the best. I credit some of my successful Motown marketing strategies to what I learned from selling and marketing the Michigan Chronicle to both Black and White customers.”
In addition to his early experience with the Michigan Chronicle, like many Detroiters, Gordy worked in the automobile industry in the mid-1950s. In his 1994 autobiography, “To Be Loved,” Gordy described how the automobile factories impacted the way that he would one day run Motown. His stint at Ford, however, was short-lived. Gordy’s experience at Lincoln Mercury Assembly Plant was much better.
“The minute I walked into the Lincoln-Mercury Assembly Plant and saw how cool it was — no furnaces, fire or hot metal — I knew this was going to be my home for a while,” Gordy wrote. “Little did I know when I started how important to my future that assembly line was going to be. All I knew was those slow-moving car frames were the loveliest sights I’d ever seen. There was a pleasing simplicity to how everyone did the same thing over and over again. I fastened upholstery and chrome strips to those frames being pulled down the line on conveyor belts. It was a snap. I learned it so fast. I could jump into each car as it arrived, do my job, get out and have time to spare. Before long that extra time was devoted to singing and writing songs.”
Gordy, however, wanted to start his own business, even though he was already an accomplished songwriter. A couple of years earlier, he had partnered with his brother, George, to open a jazz record shop in Detroit called the 3D Record Mart – House of Jazz. Not long after, Gordy closed the shop and worked as a salesman for Guardian Service Cookware. But after borrowing $800 from the family’s savings fund, Gordy, with the blessings of his parents and siblings, started Motown in 1959.
Barrett Strong charted the label’s first hit in 1960 with “Money (That’s What I Want)”; the Miracles gave the company its first No. 1 hit with “Shop Around.” From there, the rest is history as Gordy applied what he had learned while working on the assembly line: “Everyone doing the same thing over and over again.” For Gordy, that translated into Motown’s long assembly line, involving artists, musicians, songwriters, arrangers, producers and distributors, all “doing the same thing over and over,” which for Gordy and Motown meant making hit songs.
The company began churning out hit after hit at a high rate of frequency. Motown, and its various subsidiary labels, including Tamla and Gordy, produced well over 100 No. 1 hits and many Top 10 hits under Gordy’s skillful eye and ear from 1960 to 1988. Among the classic hits were “Please Mr. Postman” (the Marvelettes), “Reach Out I’ll Be There” (the Four Tops), “My Girl” (the Temptations), “Stop! In the Name of Love” (the Supremes), “For Once in My Life” (Stevie Wonder), “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” (Marvin Gaye), “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (Gladys Knight and the Pips and later Marvin Gaye), “My Guy” (Mary Wells), “Dancing in the Streets” (Martha and the Vandellas), “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell), “Where Did Our Love Go?” (the Supremes); “Baby I Need Your Loving” (the Four Tops), “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” (the Miracles), “The Way You Do the Things You Do” (the Temptations) and “I Want You Back” (the Jackson 5).
In addition to charting some of the best R&B and pop songs of all time, Gordy was influenced by the Civil Rights Movement and recorded several speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I had Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. under contract, which was strange,” said Gordy, with a laugh. “We did three albums with him, including ‘The Great March to Freedom’ which was his June 23, 1963 speech in Detroit. It was recorded several months before the historic march in Washington, D.C.”
Gordy recalled that Dr. King came to see him because the civil rights leader was impressed by how Motown’s music was about promoting emotional and social integration before political and intellectual integration could happen.
“He told me that he was out there and heard our music and it was always positive for all people,” Gordy recalled. “He was surprised that Motown’s music did not offend anyone, and he loved it. He said that he wanted to do something with Motown, if I was interested. I responded, ‘Are you kidding? I would love to do something with you on Motown.”
While Motown was doing extremely well, reaching audiences across broad social, cultural, and ethnic lines around the world, Gordy had some difficult decisions to make pertaining to expanding his portfolio. He began to look at opportunities in Los Angeles.
In 1972, amid criticism, some of which came from family members, Gordy relocated Motown to Los Angeles.
“My mindset was that I wanted to seek my fortune,” said Gordy. “I wanted to make movies, I wanted to do television and I wanted my artists to have the opportunity to do movies and television and stage plays. I knew that the only place that I could do this was in Hollywood. My family tried to stop me because they told me in California I would be just one of many who were trying to make it in music, movies and television. In Detroit, they told me, I was king. However, I didn’t want any limits put on anything that I was doing with Motown, so I moved the company to Los Angeles.”
Gordy credits Detroit for being the strong foundation that has propelled him to high levels of achievement.
“Growing up in Detroit gave me the best foundation that I could have had,” said Gordy. “It gave me the grit, glamor, strong work ethic and the competitive spirit. The city prepared me for anything and everything that I’ve had to face in life. When I got to California, I had a huge advantage and was stronger than what competition was there because I was from Detroit. So everywhere I go, I always take Detroit with me.”
In 1988, Gordy sold Motown Records to MCA. Motown Records continues to exist with such artists KEM, India.Arie, Ne-Yo and Chrisette Michele, Gordy admits that he is still a supporter of the label. However, his energy these days is in other places, such as with the hit Broadway production, “Motown the Musical.” The play is based on the true story of Gordy and his rise from featherweight boxer to heavyweight music mogul and how he influenced the rise to stardom for a multiplicity of now legendary artists. Gordy wrote three new songs exclusively for the stage production.
“‘Motown the Musical’ is awesome,” said Gordy. “It’s the truth told in an entertaining way. People are loving it and I’m thrilled about that.”
Gordy is also working with a young female singer named Jadagrace. Hehe expects to release something on her next year.
“She has a very special vocal gift and is such a talent,” he said. “I believe she’s going to be a star. People are going to love her.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 05 December 2013 12:59
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Donald James
The days of Mayor Dave Bing’s administration are winding down. In less than six weeks, Bing, after serving a four-and-a-half-year stint as Detroit’s mayor, will pass the baton to Mayor-elect Mike Duggan. The transition of mayoral responsibilities will turn yet another page in Detroit’s long and sometimes controversial political history book.
Most will agree that the city of Detroit was in dire straits when Bing took office in May 2009, compounded by the prolonged trials, tribulations, and missteps of former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, followed by the eventual appointment of an emergency manager and the filing for bankruptcy, all punctuated by rising crime, a steady loss of population, an eroding tax base, and escalating blight.
What did Mayor Bing accomplish during his tenure to improve Detroit?
In an exclusive interview with the Michigan Chronicle, Bing talked about his administration’s mission, goals and accomplishments during his time in office.
“What anyone would say is that my administration brought integrity back to the office of mayor,” said Bing. “I think it was important and was difficult. I think what my administration does not get is credit for the many other things that we’ve done.”
After taking office, Bing said that his administration’s strategies were to focus on stabilizing the city’s finances, improving the quality of life for all citizens, as well as repopulating Detroit. His mission centered on five key areas: public safety, public transportation, public lighting, neighborhood blight and recreation.
Public Safety — The mayor points to his administration’s role in opening the $60 million, state-of-the-art Public/Safety Headquarters that consolidated police, fire, Homeland Security, EMS and IT operations; the donation and deployment of 23 new EMS units and 100 police cruisers from the corporate community; the addition of 100 officers on street patrol or in investigations; and the opening of 14 police mini-stations.
Public Transportation — No city or region can be great without a great public transportation system. Thus, the mayor advocated for the outsourcing of city bus management operations and identified the team to manage related initiatives; Bing played a major role in obtaining $31 million in federal funds for a Regional Transit Authority (RTA) and the future 3.3-mile M1 Rail system that will run along Woodward Avenue from downtown to Midtown.
Public Lighting — According to Bing, his administration pushed for the state legislature and Detroit City Council to approve his proposal to create a Detroit Public Lighting Authority to finance $160 million in new lighting and system upgrades; the plan to light Detroit is being implemented under the city’s emergency manager.
Neighborhood Blight — The Bing administration is on target to demolish 10,000 vacant houses and commercial structures he promised to take down by the end of this year; Bing’s quest to take down the dangerous structures was bolstered by funding solicited from HUD and other federal agencies. Bing’s team also released Detroit Future City, a bold and innovative strategic plan for transforming neighborhoods through the best use of city land. The plan also provided ideas for powering job growth. The strategic framework plan, published in 2012, is laid out in an impressive 347-page book.
Recreation — Bing created the Detroit Recreation Foundation to raise funds to keep city recreation centers and parks open; his Active and Safe Campaign has garnered $14 million from businesses and foundations to upgrade, maintain and operate recreation centers and parks.
In addition to the aforementioned accomplishments, Bing said that his administration was instrumental in keeping General Motors in Detroit when the automaker was threatening to move its world headquarters out of the city, and spearheaded a regional deal involving investing in Cobo Center to the tune of $300-plus million in upgrades and expansion, which paved the way to keep the coveted North American International Auto Show in Detroit and at Cobo for many years to come.
Bing also touts his administration’s proactive involvement in assisting the police department to reach 92 percent compliance with two federal consent decrees; the compliance rate was around 29 percent when he first took office. Bing spoke about his role in forming and maintaining a great relationship with regional political leaders in three surrounding counties, as well as forming an alliance with the Obama administration that was instrumental in delivering needed money to invest in Detroit.
“It’s important for my administration to get the credit it deserves,” said Bing.
“As I’ve always said, it’s not about me because I’m a team player; it’s about those who work in this administration. I want to make sure that the people in this city know what this administration did to help move Detroit forward.”
Bing, along with Gov. Snyder and Goldman Sachs’ CEO Lloyd Blankfein, recently announced a historic partnership that will bring Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business initiative to Detroit. The move will help create jobs and spark economic growth.
While Bing’s administration has reached other significant milestones, the mayor is aware that some people will say he could have done more. Bing, however, is unfazed.
“I’m a pretty optimistic person,” he said. “I always look at the glass being half full, not half empty. I believe there has been too much focus on what didn’t get done, or what we have to do, versus what was done. As tough as it is, I think we have to focus on the positives versus the negatives. The negatives are going to be there; we are not ducking or hiding from them.”
Bing said that his office has had positive conversations with Mayor-elect Duggan and the incoming mayor’s transition team to help in the changeover. The mayor’s efforts to help Duggan during the transition period is the opposite of what Bing received when he took office.
“I was voted into office on May 5, 2009 and started work on May 9,” recalled Bing.
“Because of what had transpired in the last administration, there was nothing for me to put my arms around. There were no plans, data or directions. I focused in the beginning on changing the mindset and culture within the organization (city government) because what was being done, in a lot of cases, we found out was illegal. We couldn’t continue down that road. Mike Duggan will not have that to deal with.”
“I’ve known Mayor-elect Duggan for a long time,” said Bing. “I served on the board over at DMC when he was there. We have different styles and different personalities. We have talked and I have given him a lot of information that will help prepare him for when he takes office. The biggest challenge that he will have is how to work with the emergency manager.
“My personal relationship with the EM is fine. I respect him. He’s smart and is an accomplished guy. But the disconnect has been in trying to run city government.
“When we first got together, it was intimated, discussed and agreed upon that his focus would be on the balance sheet to relieve some of the city’s debt.
“However, somewhere along the line, I think Lansing got too heavily involved and wanted him to take over and run city government.”
He continued, “Kevyn Orr is finding out that things don’t move as fast as he would like. He’s been here for nine months, with nine months to go. When people look at their quality of life, most would say it hasn’t changed that much since his arrival because the problems are so deep and so entrenched.”
Following the early January 2014 inauguration that will install Duggan as the city’s new mayor, Bing will explore numerous options pertaining to his future. He did not confirm or dismiss speculations that he will run for Wayne County Executive or U.S. Congress.
“First, I’m going to do something that I’ve never done before in my life,” said Bing, with a laugh. “I’m going to take about three to four weeks off in the month of January. When I come back, I want to be supportive and help clean up the city and help improve recreation services for our citizens.”
Bing admits has an affinity for the city’s recreation components, as well as with mentoring youth, especially inner-city youngsters. It was as a youth, while growing up in the inner-city sector of Washington, DC, that Bing learned the lessons of character and integrity from his parents and mentors. On the outdoor and indoor courts of DC’s recreation department, he also learned how to launch unstoppable jump shots. In high school, Bing excelled in basketball, while quickly learning that the game would be his passport to prosperity.
During his senior year in high school, Bing was heavily recruited by numerous basketball powerhouse programs, such as the University of Michigan and UCLA. He chose Syracuse University where he went on to earn All-American honors. In 1966, Bing was drafted as the second overall pick in the NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons. He would go on to play most of his outstanding 12-year career with the Pistons.
His commitment to playing the game at its highest level earned him inclusion as one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players of all time. Following his playing days, Bing could have lived anywhere in America or beyond, but chose to remain in this region, where he started Bing Steel in Detroit.
Bing was asked how he wants to be remembered after leaving office.
“I want them (Detroiters) to remember that I stepped up when leadership in this city was being questioned,” Bing said.
“I want people to know that I cared enough to come to the table during one of the most turbulent times in the city’s history and restored integrity, team spirit and hope back into the office of mayor.
“I didn’t do it for pats on the back or for credit because I’m very comfortable in my life and what I have accomplished. I did it because I love this city and wanted to be a part of its comeback.
“After I leave office, I will be around to help this city and its people move forward. I’m not going anywhere.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 December 2013 10:03
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Detroit Branch NAACP
DETROIT -- Today’s decision by United States Bankruptcy Judge Stephen Rhodes ruling Detroit eligible for bankruptcy begins a new chapter in Detroit history. As the bankruptcy pleadings head into their next phase the Detroit Branch NAACP continues to advocate and stand for what is best for Detroit, its residents and retirees.
“We continue to believe that more positive alternatives could have been implemented rather than a rush to bankruptcy accompanied by a rush to end democracy,” said Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, President, Detroit Branch NAACP. “Even Judge Rhodes agrees with us that the City did not negotiate in good faith. This is critical in understanding the consequences which has led to the erosion of the right to vote in the affected communities.
The City of Detroit and other communities around the state should not be placed at a constitutional disadvantage which takes away their fundamental voting rights. We will continue our appeal of PA 436 and its negative impact on Detroit and other cities across the state of Michigan." The Detroit Branch NAACP filed an appeal last week to Judges Rhodes decision to not allow the lawsuit brought by the Detroit Branch NAACP and the Michigan State Conference NAACP to proceed in U.S. District Court. This lawsuit challenged the constitutionality of Public Act 436 and argued that it violates the Voting Rights Act.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 December 2013 14:02
Category: Breaking News - Original Written by Bankole Thompson Michigan Chronicle Senior Editor
Judge Steven W. Rhodes of the United States Bankruptcy Court issued a historic ruling Tuesday morning that Detroit has met the criteria of insolvency and is therefore eligible for bankruptcy, becoming the largest municipality in U.S. history to enter Chapter 9 protection.
"The court finds that the city of Detroit was and is insolvent," Judge Rhodes said from a prepared text that read like a treatise on bankruptcy law. "The court finds that this case was filed in good faith and should not be dismissed."
He said the court has found that the city was generally not paying its debts as they were due, something that emergency manager Kevyn Orr and proponents of bankruptcy have long argued.
Sale of city assets, including the much written about and discussed Detroit Institute of Arts, seemed to have been spared in this ruling, because Rhodes said the city itself has established that selling assets would not address the long-term fiscal issues of the city.
But the city's deplorable public safety conditions, begging for swift reform, was a key component of Rhodes' ruling, especially after Detroit Police Chief James Craig testified about the capacity and conditions of the Detroit Police Department.
"The testimony of Chief Craig established that the city is in a state of service delivery insolvency," Rhodes said in the ruling.
The sweeping ruling, which was watched across the nation, will have wide impact on financially troubled municipalities and is significant because Detroit became the first city in the nation to seek chapter 9 protection on July 18 when Orr filed.
The judge also ruled that pensions of retirees can now be slashed because, "If the 10th Amendment prohibits cuts of pension benefits in this case, then it would also" prevent cuts to other debts. However, he quickly noted that until there is a plan of adjustment that is determined to be fair and equitable, he will not approve any dire cuts to pensions.
Labor lawyers and representatives of retirees have been arguing that pensions are protected under the state constitution.
But Rhodes countered that argument in his ruling when he explained that, "It has long been understood that bankruptcy law entails the impairment of contracts."
At the heart of the legal challenge to Detroit's filing for bankruptcy was if Orr, the emergency manager, had negotiated in good faith.
Rhodes said the city did not negotiate in good faith but that the timing of the entire process did not allow for that and it was, as he put it, "impracticable," referring to pre-filing negotiations.
In a rather interesting choice of words, Judge Rhodes said even though the city did not negotiate in good faith with the parties involved, "the totality of the circumstances" the city was facing showed that Orr filed for bankruptcy in good faith.
The Detroit Branch NAACP, labor and other groups objected to the bankruptcy filing, claiming it was a fixed plan from the beginning, especially after some of the revelations that came out in the depositions.
Rhodes addressed that as well, saying that many people in Detroit hold on to that narrative.
"In some particulars, the record does support the objectors' view," Rhodes said, but warned that was not enough to convince him otherwise.
"Certainly the court must conclude that the bankruptcy filing was a foregone conclusion, at least in 2013," Rhodes said.
On the controversial EM law, which has been the basis for opposing Orr's appointment, Judge Rhodes said, "The popularity of a decision to appoint an emergency manager is not a matter of eligibility under federal bankruptcy laws. The City of Detroit is a municipality," while calling the protest and testimonies in court on Sept. 19 against bankruptcy "moving, compassionate, compelling and well-articulated arguments."
Judge Rhodes' decision now sets the stage for what will go and stay in Detroit as far as satisfying billions owed to creditors as well as the fate of pensioners.
Detroit Mayor-elect Mike Duggan was one of the first leaders in the city to respond to the historic ruling.
"This is a day in Detroit's history that none of us wanted to see. Now that Judge Rhodes has ruled the city eligible for bankruptcy, we are about to move into the Plan of Adjustment phase that is likely to define our city government for years to come," Duggan said.
"I'm going to do everything I can to advocate on behalf of Detroit's future in this process. We need to make sure the retirees are treated fairly on the pensions they earned and we need to make certain we come out of bankruptcy in a way we can afford to provide the quality of city services the people of Detroit deserve."
Emergency manager Orr, who now holds the cards moving forward, hailed the federal court decision.
"We are pleased with Judge Rhodes' decision today, and we will continue to press ahead with the ongoing revitalization of Detroit. We look forward to working with all our creditors — pension funds, unions and lenders — to achieve a consensual agreement on a restructuring plan that balances their financial recoveries with the very real needs of the 700,000 citizens of Detroit," Orr said.
"We are making good progress. In addition to today's important decision, Detroit has transferred its electric operations and customers to DTE Energy and begun a program to improve city lighting. It has announced plans to privatize trash collection that will save $6 million a year while improving services and adding curbside recycling. It has invested in sorely needed equipment for its police, fire and other first responders.
"The city also has arranged, pending a court hearing later this month, $350 million of post-petition financing to improve its financial condition, lessen some of its debt obligations and make much-needed investments."
Orr said the city is also committed to the federal mediation already under way aimed at resolving disputes with its creditors and "we fully support U.S. District Court Chief Judge Gerald Rosen's efforts to find additive solutions, particularly from the philanthropic community, to the city's financial issues."
He said time is of the essence and that he and his team will move forward as quickly as possible.
"We plan to submit a Plan of Adjustment in the coming weeks, file a Disclosure Statement early next year and work to exit Chapter 9 protection by the end of September," Orr said. "We hope all parties will work together to help us develop a realistic restructuring plan that improves the financial condition of Detroit and the lives of its 700,000 citizens."
Mark Schauer, the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor of Michigan in 2014, also responded to the ruling in Detroit, the state's largest Democratic constituency.
"It's time to rebuild the great city of Detroit. How we got here isn't as important as how we build a better future for Detroit's families, businesses, and neighborhoods," Schauer said. "As the bankruptcy restructuring plan advances, Gov. Snyder and Kevyn Orr have a responsibility to uphold Michigan's constitution by protecting hard-earned retiree pensions over Wall Street creditors."
The gubernatorial candidate said he "strongly urges Gov. Snyder to empower Mayor-elect Duggan to lead the city's day-to-day turnaround efforts. It's time for Detroiters to lead Detroit."
The DIA responded that it will continue to support the city's efforts to address the financial crisis while maintaining that, "the DIA art collection is a cultural resource of the people of Detroit, the tri-county area and the entire state of Michigan. The museum's collection is the result of more than a century of public and private charitable contributions for the benefit of the public.
"Protected by a charitable and public trust, the collection has survived several municipal fiscal crises and financial downturns, including the Great Depression, free from threats to its existence."
Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 December 2013 09:59
Digital Daily Signup
Sign up now for the Michigan Chronicle Digital Daily newsletter!