This Week on One Detroit:

Detroit’s oldest gay bar, Gigi’s, celebrates 50 years as haven for city’s LGBTQ+ community

As the oldest gay-owned bar in Detroit, Gigi’s celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, commemorating a long history as a cultural staple and haven for Detroit’s LGBTQ+ community. 

Gay bars have historically played a crucial role as safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community, providing a sanctuary where individuals can gather, socialize and express their identities freely. That place in Detroit is Gigi’s, which opened in 1973, just four years after the Stonewall uprising that ignited the modern gay rights movement.  

Gigi’s has played a pivotal role in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights and has fostered a vibrant queer culture that continues to thrive today. It’s also home to Michigan’s oldest drag pageant, and the oldest gay bar drag competition title in the country, the annual Miss Gigi’s contest.  

One Detroit’s Chris Jordan sat down with Gigi’s co-owner and general manager Luis Mandujano, who bought the bar in 2020 after being a regular there for more than twenty years, Gigi’s Cabaret show director Nickki Stevens, and bar manager Randy Markoz Santiago to discuss the bar’s history, legacy, and place within the Detroit LGBTQ+ community. 

African World Festival returns for 40th annual celebration in Hart Plaza

Summer is here, and Detroit’s highly anticipated African World Festival is near. The annual festival celebrates 40 years in the city this year from July 14-16 at Hart Plaza. Organized by the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the festival celebrates the arts and culture of the African diaspora.  

The festival began in 1983 and has since become a prominent cultural event in Detroit, drawing attendees from the local community and beyond. Throughout its history, the festival has featured renowned musicians, dancers and performers from local and international backgrounds.  

Traditional African drumming and dancing along with contemporary music genres like jazz, hip-hop and gospel, as well as fashion shows highlighting African-inspired designs and a variety of cuisine to taste from across the African diaspora, are some of the regular features of the event.  

Ahead of this year’s ceremonious 40th anniversary, African World Festival Director Njia Kai talks with One Detroit contributor Cecelia Sharpe of 90.9 WRCJ about what it takes to get the festival going each year and what to expect from this year’s celebration. Plus, Kai gives viewers a sneak preview of this year’s special performances by Parliament Funkadelic featuring George Clinton, Jessica Care Moore and Underground Resistance. 

One Detroit Weekend: June 29, 2023 

Looking for some summer fun in Detroit? From the Rocket Mortgage Classic to the Royal Oak Taco Fest and Anita Baker’s “The Songstress Tour,” metro Detroit has a lot to offer!  

One Detroit contributor Dave Wagner of 90.9 WRCJ shares what you can do around the Detroit area during the June 29 weekend and into next week on “One Detroit Weekend.” 

List of upcoming events:  

  • The Rocket Mortgage Classic golf tournament, Detroit’s largest golf event each year, returns to the Detroit Golf Club this year. The tournament runs June 29 through July 2.  
  • Celebrate the Fourth of July holiday with a stirring “1812” Overture performance, cannon fire and fireworks at Greenfield Village’s Salute to America event in partnership with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The event runs from 5-10 p.m. June 30-July 3 at The Henry Ford Museum. 
  • Kick off the summer with tacos, cerveza and tequila at the Royal Oak Taco Fest in downtown Royal Oak June 30-July 4. The street festival will feature food from over 50 taquerias and eateries, as well as live entertainment, a kid’s zone and more.  
  • Legendary Grammy Award-winning soul singer Anita Baker is bringing her “The Songstress” tour to Pine Knob Music Theatre July 2. The celebrated singer-songwriter will celebrate 40 years in music playing her hits, fans favorites and some new music live on stage. 
  • Take in the deep soul music of Will Downing and Darryl Beebe while gazing at the waters of the Detroit River during a July 5 performance at the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre.  
  • Get ready to experience the ultimate celebration of Hip Hop as the Sterling Freedom Festival takes center stage at the Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 1. 
  • Celebrate Eid Al-Adha with the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn. The Eid Al-Adha Family Party from 1-5 p.m. July 1 will include an exhibit scavenger hunt, special Eid crafts, a storytime hour, and an artisan market with handmade items from local Muslim makers.  
  • Check out some live local music from Toed, Palmer, No Luck, Moon Date and more during the Sounds Like Summer music festival at the Blind Pig starting at 7 p.m. July 1. 

Detroit NAACP commemorates 60 years of fighting for civil rights with June Jubilee celebrations

The Detroit Branch NAACP hosted its vibrant and momentous “June Jubilee: A Celebration of Freedom” during the June 22-25 weekend, four days of events honoring the historic 60th anniversary of the Detroit Walk to Freedom. The celebration paid homage to the pivotal civil rights march that took place in the city on June 23, 1963, setting the stage for the well-known March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. 

Bringing together community and civil rights leaders, politicians, activists and residents from across Southeast Michigan, the events commemorated the spirit of unity, resilience and progress that characterized the inaugural Detroit Walk to Freedom. It served as a reminder of the march’s profound impact on the civil rights movement and fight for racial equality in America.  

The weekend celebrations kicked off Friday morning with the unveiling of a new Martin Luther King Jr. Statue in Hart Plaza, followed by the 60th commemorative Walk to Freedom the day after. One Detroit joined both events to capture these historic moments.  

Watch highlights from the Detroit NAACP’s June Jubilee events, where contributor Orlando Bailey, engagement director for BridgeDetroit, spoke with Detroit historian Jamon Jordan, Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance CEO Charity Dean, Dr. Ossian Sweet Foundation CEO Daniel Baxter, Michigan 6th District Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, Professor Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, and several residents — Imani Foster, Gregory Gunn, Sandra Richardson Smith and Dr. Sharonlyn Harris — who attended the 1963 Walk to Freedom as children.  

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