The newest Facebook 'On the Map' episode about Detroit artists is giving us life

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click to enlarge Sydney G. James. - Screenshot/Facebook
Sydney G. James.

We love to see Detroit artists getting their due. Four Detroiters who have been killing the art and culture game — Sheefy McFly, Sydney G. James, Roula David, and Asmaa Walton — were featured on an episode of Facebook’s “On the Map” series on Thursday. It is straight-up some “Detroit shit,” and we are here for it.

“On the Map” is a travel series about creatives and change-makers around the country, and the Detroit installment is the second episode.

McFly appears in the video as he DJs and talks with a reporter at Spot Lite, a record store and bar on Detroit’s eastside. David is the owner of the shop.

The mural painter, DJ, sneakerhead, rapper, and weed enthusiast tells the camera he’s been painting in his apartment like a madman and “sleeping on canvas” for the last year and a half. Considering that he’s recently sold a couple thousand dollars worth of NFTs, installed a huge mural at the Monroe St. Drive-in, and had a solo show at Spot Lite, that’s probably an accurate statement.

“I always had a chip on my shoulder to show the world how beautiful Detroit is cause we always had just a bad rep like people only know the negativity of Detroit,” McFly says when asked why he never wanted to leave Detroit. “You know, we have so many forces trying to change Detroit, but you still seeing Detroit just prevail just being original and being itself and it’s not too many cities that can do that.”

James tells the story of creating BLKOUT Walls Festival, a mural festival that features mostly artists of color, after noticing a lack of representation in art galleries. Ever driven around the North End neighborhood and seen the mural of Dilla on Oakland Blvd? Well, that was part of BLKOUT Walls.

“Oftentimes communities don’t even really get to experience the art as it goes up in their neighborhood,” James says in the video about the mural festival. “This avenue wasn’t really that busy (Oakland), but now people make sure to take this route so they can see these walls as they travel back home.”

Rounding it out is Walton, founder of the Black Art Library — a library-turned museum exhibit featuring Black artist monographs, children’s books, memoirs, and beyond.

The video is a love letter to the Motor City, signed by Detroiters who are doing the damn thing. You can watch the whole episode below.

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About The Author

Randiah Camille Green

After living in Japan and traveling across Asia, Randiah Camille Green realized Detroit will always be home. And when she says Detroit, she's talking about the hood, not the suburbs. She has bylines in Planet Detroit News , Bridge Detroit , BLAC magazine, and Model D . Her favorite pastimes are meditating...
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