Featured photo courtesy of the Wolverine Bar Association Facebook page.

This Week on American Black Journal:

62nd Annual Barristers’ Ball returns to Detroit, celebrates the legacy of Motown music

Detroit’s legal community is gearing up for a night of celebration and philanthropy as the Wolverine Bar Association & Foundation prepares to host its 62nd annual Barristers’ Ball on April 20 at the Marriott Renaissance Center. The event is a cornerstone of Detroit’s African American legal community. 

This year’s theme, “Motown: Back Down Memory Lane,” pays homage to the rich cultural heritage of Detroit’s legendary Motown era. Attendees can anticipate a dazzling red carpet experience followed by the President’s Reception featuring live musical performances, a silent auction, and more.  

The Barristers’ Ball serves not only as an elegant black-tie affair but also as a vital fundraiser for the Wolverine Bar Association & Foundation’s initiatives. Proceeds from the event are dedicated to supporting internships, scholarships, educational courses, and mentoring programs for Black law students. Additionally, the funds raised contribute to providing legal assistance to underrepresented communities, addressing the critical need for more African American representation in the legal profession. 

Wolverine Bar Association President Diane Hutcherson and State Bar of Michigan Diversity Director Gregory Conyers talk with “American Black Journal” host Stephen Henderson about the purpose of the Barristers’ Ball, the current state of diversity in the legal profession, the importance of African American legal representation for people of color, and the challenges Hutcherson and Conyers faced during their journey to become attorneys.

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump talks social, racial justice during The Wright Conversations

Renowned civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump recently graced the stage for the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History’s The Wright Conversations lecture series. Crump’s appearance offered profound insights into pressing issues of social justice and legal advocacy. 

During his remarks, Crump discussed the need for justice and equality in contemporary society. Drawing from his extensive experience in the legal arena, he shed light on the challenges faced by marginalized communities and emphasized the role of advocacy in creating change. As the founder and principal owner of Ben Crump Law, Crump has solidified his reputation as a stalwart champion of civil rights, earning the moniker “Black America’s Attorney General.” 

The Wright Conversations series, curated by Neil A. Barclay, President and CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum, serves as a platform for dynamic discourse on pivotal issues ranging from civic engagement to cultural heritage. By hosting esteemed speakers like Benjamin Crump, the series aims to foster insightful conversations that resonate with the Detroit community and beyond. 

Watch an excerpt from Crump’s address, where he talks about achieving racial and social justice and making this world a better place for our children’s future. Plus, watch the full lecture here.

2024 Detroit Jazz Festival artist-in-residence Brian Blade and The Fellowship Band perform

The Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation has announced acclaimed drummer, composer, and bandleader Brian Blade as the artist-in-residence for the upcoming Detroit Jazz Festival. This two-time Grammy Award winner musician is set to take center stage during the Labor Day weekend festivities. The 2024 festival will take place from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2 in downtown Detroit. 

Hailing from Shreveport, Louisiana, Blade grew from his gospel roots to becoming one of the most revered jazz drummers in the nation. As the 2024 artist-in-residence, Blade will not only participate in multiple performances but also actively engage with educational initiatives and community outreach programs spearheaded by the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation. 

Among the highlights of Blade’s residency was a special festival preview event at the Gretchen C. Valade Jazz Center on the Wayne State University campus on April 10 featuring an exclusive performance by Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band. Watch a portion of Blade’s performance.  

Blade’s band, The Fellowship Band, boasts a discography spanning 25 years, with seven critically acclaimed recordings to their name. From their debut album in 1998 to the latest release, “Kings Highway” in 2023, Blade and his ensemble have consistently pushed the boundaries of jazz, captivating audiences worldwide with their innovative sound. 

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Watch American Black Journal on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on Detroit Public TV, WTVS-Channel 56.