Thornetta Davis will peform at Detroit Symphony Orchestra poetry and music night

This unapologetically Black event series is hosted by Detroit spoken word artist La Shaun phoenix Moore

click to enlarge Poetry and Music host La Shaun phoenix Moore. - DETROIT SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Poetry and Music host La Shaun phoenix Moore.

Detroit spoken word artist La Shaun phoenix Moore will host a night of poetry and music at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Sosnick Court on Friday.

Poetry & Music: Nothin’ But the Blues will feature poetry from Emmy award-winning poet Scott Woods and live music by Detroit’s boisterous Queen of the Blues, Thornetta Davis.

The event, much like Moore, who curates the event series, is unapologetically Black.

“That’s no ‘g’ on nothing,” Moore specifies about the event’s name over Zoom. “I do Black-ass events because I want to see Black people shine and let us know there are no barriers, there are no ceilings that can prevent us from going out here to create beauty and magic in the world.”

Moore has been curating the poetry and music series at the DSO since 2018. Her past events have included poetry themed around everything from social issues to love. She also curated Detroit rapper Miz Korona’s Healer and the Heartbreaker EP release party. This time Moore is giving Thornetta Davis her flowers.

“She’s represented this city so well, so we should make sure that we come out and support her with hometown pride,” Moore says. “Outside of the blues, one of the things that Thornetta does is houses a lot of love for women in her bones, so she’s really big on sisterhood and collaboration.”

From the first moment Moore met Davis several years ago, the love and support for each other as Black artists were clear. Davis came to an open mic night Moore was hosting at Cliff Bells at the time and completely shattered the notion that women with similar talents should hate on each other. There was no diva mentality, just two women who both wanted to see each other win.

“She came and said ‘a lot of people told me that I wasn’t supposed to like you because you sing like me and we’re both big brown Black girls. So I had to come up here and see what this phoenix was about because they’re not gone pit us against each other and we’ve never even met’” Moore recalls. “She took off a bracelet and a ring that had on her finger and she said, ‘we’re sisters now.’ Then she got up on stage and started singing for free at the open mic.”

Moore notes that Poetry and Music is not a “100% clean show,” though people can and do bring their children. Don’t complain later if the poets get a little too real for your kids’ ears, though. You’ve been warned.

Live performances of the event were paused during the pandemic and Moore and the poets transitioned to an online streaming format, but they came back in person in March 2022.

Fellow Detroiters Jazmine Jamai and KeeBie Mitchell will also perform on Friday.

Though the event does invite national acts, (Scott Woods is from Columbus), Moore says she wants to put the spotlight on Detroit’s contributions to art and music, emphasizing that “there’s no such thing as 'New Detroit.'”

“Detroit has been here,” she says. “Think about what Barry Gordy did with Motown… We have some of the best, lauded artists — Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross — they’ve all come out of this city so there is still that underlying pride. Despite all of the stigmas that have been put on this city by the media, Detroit is much more than violence and disenfranchisement. There’s a lot of beauty here, and I love being an artist in Detroit, Michigan. There’s no national or regional act that can come in and bullshit this city.”

Poetry & Music: Nothin’ But the Blues starts at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 24 in Sosnick Court; 51 Parsons St., Detroit. It will be held inside the DSO at the Cube in the event of rain. Tickets are $20 or $100 for a VIP table. Folding chairs will be provided, but bringing your own chair or blanket is encouraged. For more information see dso.org.

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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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