This morning, Dan Gilbert's Bedrock Real Estate posted a short film on Facebook called Anthem of Us,
and it features Detroit's very own Big Sean doing an unscripted voiceover while we see different shots of the city. The film was directed by Detroit's Stephen McGee
The video has drawn major internet traffic since it was posted this morning, and people are giving it a positive review. There are stunning shots of the skyline, the Detroit River, and Belle Isle that make you really appreciate Detroit's beauty. Plus, Big Sean says some lines like, "that energy that reminds you, reenergizes you, and gives you faith in whatever you're doing … That's how you know you've made it home" and "it's inspiring to work for something you believe in," just drive the point home.
But, and I say this but it the nicest way possible, does anyone else find this video kind of ... cheesy?
No? Just me? Well, let me explain. Maybe this 4-minute long video reminds me of a Pure Michigan ad, except we have Big Sean speaking instead of Tim Allen. There are the cliché shots of people working in an urban farm, riding their bikes at Slow Roll, and entrepreneurs showcasing their Detroit brands. All of this is great, but haven't we seen it before? Haven't we established that Detroit experiencing a renaissance? You can't go a day without a news outlet (oh hai!) commenting about the expansions of apartments and retail spaces in Midtown, the QLINE, or the new hockey arena. The Detroit Renaissance narrative is shoved down our throat. We get it.
I'm all about supporting the city in every way possible, and I go to bat for it when my Chicagoan friends from college talk shit about visiting. But the video does seem like yet another effort to brand Gilbert & Co. There's a difference between being proud of Detroit and turning it into a sales pitch. It just seems disingenuous to me.
And you know what? Maybe this video is for the people who don't know how great Detroit really is. But it does seem there are bigger fish to fry if we want to continue to make ALL of Detroit a better place for its residents, not just those who live in walking distance of the new light rail system.
I'm proud of Detroit, and I'm proud of what this video showcases. The shots are absolutely beautiful, and it makes me hopeful that, as a young person, I have an opportunity to thrive in this city and make a name for myself. But this video just rubbed me the wrong way. Anyone else feel the same?