This Week on American Black Journal:

New Neighborhood Vitality Index measures, shares data about how Detroit’s neighborhoods are doing

There’s a new online tool available for Detroit residents, community development groups, local government and others to access timely data about how the city’s neighborhoods are doing. It’s called the Neighborhood Vitality Index (NVI). The information contained in the index reflects the voices of Detroiters, along with community development data, covering a variety of indicators such as health, well-being, feelings of safety, neighborhood condition, renter occupancy, and much more. 

Community Development Advocates of Detroit, JFM Consulting Group and Data Driven Detroit have partnered to manage the NVI and strengthen community development in Detroit. The NVI’s goal is to create a well-coordinated, effective, and equitable system for community development work in the city’s neighborhoods. The Index was created to provide regular access to data that can track changes and outcomes over time. 

Host Stephen Henderson speaks with one of the architects of the NVI, Jane Morgan, president of JFM Consulting Group, about how the data is collected and how it can be used by residents, city officials, foundations and others to measure success, progress and the improvements needed in city neighborhoods. They also discuss how often the NVI will be updated, how it helps differentiate between perceptions versus actual data, and future plans for the index. 

Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth Carter exhibits ‘Black Panther, ‘Wakanda Forever’ costumes at The Wright Museum

Two-time Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter, renowned for her work on iconic films like Black Panther, Malcolm X and Roots, has delved into the artistry of her designs in a new exhibit at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. The exhibit, “Ruth E. Carter: Afrofuturism in Costume Design,” is on display through March 31. It showcases the power of storytelling through costume design and honors ancient African cultures through Afrofuturistic pieces.

Carter’s star-studded career spans over three decades in film, television and theater, and her impressive portfolio of seventy credits bears testament to her talent and dedication. Collaborating with directors such as Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg, Ava DuVernay, and Ryan Coogler, Carter’s costume designs have helped to shape the narratives of African Americans on the big screen. From “Do The Right Thing” to the groundbreaking “Black Panther” and its sequel, “Wakanda Forever,” her costume design work has cemented her status as an expert on period genres and Afro aesthetics. 

Her deep-rooted connection to Afrofuturism, which she defines as the fusion of technology with imagination, self-expression, and entrepreneurship, stands as a cornerstone of Carter’s remarkable career. Her designs bring to life the essence of Afrofuturism, promoting a philosophy that liberates Black Americans, Africans, and Indigenous people from the constraints of slavery and colonialism. Through her exhibit, she showcases her outstanding work but also sheds light on the transcendent impact of representation through costume design in cinema. 

“American Black Journal” host Stephen Henderson sat down with Carter at The Wright Museum to talk about her illustrious career and her exhibit on display. They discuss how she became interested in sewing and designing, the inspiration behind her costume designs, and becoming the first African American woman to win multiple Academy Awards.

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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.