As we bid farewell to 2023, it’s impossible not to reflect on the important stories that shaped our local landscape in Detroit. From commemorating the anniversary of a historic civil rights march to conversations around Asian American representation in the arts, Detroit has been a hub of cultural exploration. We’ve delved into the rhythmic heartbeat of Detroit’s hip-hop history, told the story of one of the city’s oldest gay bars, confronted the harsh realities of climate change in Detroit’s neighborhoods, and continued important conversations on the future of work. Here are our top 10 stories from 2023.

From Detroit’s Walk to Freedom to the March on Washington: 60 years of civil rights legacy

As the nation commemorated the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August, attention turned to the significant role that the 1963 Detroit Walk to Freedom played in shaping that civil rights march. One Detroit Senior Producer Bill Kubota explains the tie between these two historic events and how they changed civil rights in America.

Inside the minds of Gen Z: What the next generation thinks about the future of work

Will Michigan’s Gen Z population stay in the state, pursuing their dreams here and contributing to the state’s prosperity? Three members of Gen Z talked with Future of Work host and One Detroit producer Will Glover about their future hopes, the careers that interest them, and whether they plan to stay in Michigan after graduation. This conversation comes from One Detroit’s Future of Work Town Hall “Gen Z in the Workforce” and continues our team’s cumulative, ongoing conversations involving the future of work and workforce development in Michigan.

All-Japanese, Japanese American creative team re-imagines ‘Madame Butterfly’ for Detroit Opera

Detroit Opera kicked off its 2023-2024 season with a re-imagining of composer Giacomo Puccini’s classic opera, “Madame Butterfly.” Traditionally the opera has faced scrutiny for its depictions of Japanese women and culture. One Detroit producer Sarah Zientarski got a behind-the-scenes look at the production, led by an all-Japanese and Japanese American creative team, which challenged the traditional narrative and introduced a more culturally resonant portrayal of the opera. One Detroit Senior Producer Bill Kubota also talked with AAPI artists and activists about how Detroit Opera’s new rendition addresses these cultural concerns.

Michigan caregivers are providing care for their loved ones. Who’s caring for them?

Caregiving: It’s a responsibility that those of us with aging loved ones may inevitably face. On some days, it can feel as if those responsibilities might push some Michigan caregivers to their breaking point. In collaboration with the Detroit News, One Detroit Senior Producer Bill Kubota and reporters Sarah Rahal and Hayley Harding report on the life adjustments and challenges many Michigan caregivers face when caring for their loved ones.

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

Gay bars have historically played a crucial role as safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community. 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. As the oldest gay-owned bar in Detroit, Gigi’s celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, commemorating a long history as a cultural staple and haven for Detroit’s LGBTQ+ community. 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 has the story.

Detroit’s rap roots: The history of how Detroit created its unique hip hop style

It’s not the birthplace of hip hop, but Detroit has certainly created its own unique hip hop style since the genre landed in the city in the 1980s. Driving drumbeats and low, brooding piano chords have become the building blocks for the city’s unique style, and its influence can be heard across the city and nation. In celebration of hip hop’s 50th anniversary, One Detroit contributor Bryce Huffman took a deep dive into the history of Detroit hip hop and how it’s still evolving today.

One-of-a-kind Detroit Fine Arts Breakfast Club paves way for the city’s emerging artists

At the Detroit Fine Arts Breakfast Club, you won’t find any fancy wines or cheeses. You won’t find any breakfast either, but you can find a community of mixed-media artists showcasing, seeking advice on, and selling their work. And it’s all uniquely Detroit. One Detroit Senior Producer Bill Kubota visited the Detroit Fine Arts Breakfast Club for a look at the weekly experience and how it’s paving the way for the city’s Black and brown artists.

Weathering the floods: Detroit neighborhood faces uncertain future due to climate change

Across Detroit the effects of climate change are evident. In the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood on the city’s lower east side, overflowing stormwater drains, contaminated waterways and flooded basements are just a few examples of how the city’s aging infrastructure struggles to keep up with our changing climate. One Detroit Senior Producer Bill Kubota visited Jefferson Chalmers to see how flooding is impacting the area and learn about some resident-led solutions being proposed.

Michigan playwright Heather Raffo re-imagines ‘9 Parts of Desire’ play as new film with Detroit Public Theatre

When Michigan-born Iraqi American playwright Heather Raffo got the opportunity to re-make her seminal 2003 monologue play “Nine Parts of Desire” as a film, it was more than just a chance to bring her play to the screen. It was an opportunity to write a whole new version. One Detroit’s Chris Jordan got a behind-the-scenes look at how Raffo’s play was adapted as a screenplay.

Fostering refugees: Ukrainian families find new home with metro Detroit Armenian community

Since Russian military forces invaded Ukraine in 2022, several Ukrainian families have flocked to the United States to seek refuge, with many young refugees finding a new community at the AGBU Alex and Marie Manoogian School, a K-12 school in Southfield. One Detroit’s Bill Kubota talked with students, teachers and administrators at the Manoogian School about opening its doors to Ukrainian refugees and how some students are responding to the war.

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