‘The New Black Vanguard,’ a tribute to Abbey Lincoln, Taylor Swift dance party, and more things to do in metro Detroit this week

Dec 15, 2021 at 4:00 am
click to enlarge From The New Black Vanguard: Dana Scruggs, "Nyadhour, Elevated, Death Valley, California," 2018. - Courtesy of the Detroit Institute of Arts
Courtesy of the Detroit Institute of Arts
From The New Black Vanguard: Dana Scruggs, "Nyadhour, Elevated, Death Valley, California," 2018.

A Tribute to Abbey Lincoln

Thu 12/16: The late Abbey Lincoln was known as a jazz vocalist who has been compared to Billie Holiday, and was also an actress and activist. According to the New York Times, she was living in Harlem in 1962 when she helped to establish the Cultural Association for Women of African Heritage, and her 1966 essay “Who Will Revere the Black Woman?” first appeared in Dr. John H. John’s first magazine, later known as Black World. Though born in Chicago, Lincoln was raised in Michigan’s Cass County, so it’s fitting that Lincoln be honored at a tribute night at Detroit’s historic Baker’s Keyboard Lounge. That tribute comes from Sky Covington, Detroit Music Award winner for Outstanding Jazz Vocalist. This pair of shows is the latest from the Preservation of Jazz music series “Out of the Mouth of a Woman.” —Lee DeVito

Shows ar 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.; Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, 20510 Livernois Ave., Detroit; 248-383-3385; Tickets are $30.

The New Black Vanguard

Fri 12/17: This traveling exhibition spotlights emerging contemporary Black photographers and a selection of their color portraits, conceptual images, and fashion editorials, some of which have been previously published or featured in ad campaigns, museums, and magazines.The exhibition features more than 100 photographs by 15 photographers, curated by New York writer and critic Antwaun Sargent. Some locally recognizable names among those featured in a supplemental extension of the exhibition called “New Gazes” which will include work by Detroit-area artists like Mishira Davis, Justin Milhouse, Christian Najjar, Ray Rogers, Corey Turner, and Bre’Ann White. —Jerilyn Jordan

Starts at 7 p.m.; Little Caesars Arena; 2645 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-471-7000; 313presents.com. Tickets start at $40.

Isley Brothers and Gladys Knight

Fri 12/17: Why be a queen when you can be an empress? Gladys Knight, known as the “Empress of Soul” — a distinction bestowed upon the 77-year-old icon when she received the Society of Singers ELLA Award in 2007 — is hopping off her “Midnight Train to Georgia” to bless Detroit with a sultry wintertime performance, and she’s not doing it alone. The seven-time Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, and actress who has landed No. 1 hits across multiple genres, was un-bee-lievable as a bee on The Masked Singer, and was featured in Questlove’s directorial debut Summer of Soul (where a young Knight swipes tears away on stage before belting it out), will take the stage — sans bee costume — at the Fox Theatre. Joining the empress are hitmakers the Isley Brothers, featuring two of the current surviving and/or non-retired six members Ronald, 80, and Ernie Isley, 69. The group, since forming in 1954, has released 31 albums, earned spots in the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame, Grammy Hall of Fame, Vocal Group Hall of Fame, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and a square on the Hollywood Rockwalk. Not only does their catalog stand on its own, but several of their most beloved tracks have gone on to take new lives. The late Notorious B.I.G. sampled the Isley Brothers’ “Between the Sheets” for his hit single “Big Poppa” in 1994, not to be outdone by the late singer Aaliyah, who covered a haunting version of the group’s “(At Your Best) You Are Love” on her debut record. No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani also snagged some vibes from “Between the Sheets” for her early aughts single “Luxurious,” too. —Jerilyn Jordan

Starts at 8 p.m.; Fox Theatre; 2211 Woodward Ave., 313-471-7000; 313presents.com. Tickets start at $79.

Taylor Swift Night

Sat 12/18: Grab your heart-shaped sunglasses and get ready to dance like you’re 22, because the Crofoot Ballroom is hosting a Taylor Swift-inspired dance night. This touring dance party heads to metro Detroit just in time for T-Swift’s birthday week. Featuring drinks inspired by Miss Americana herself, you’ll be saying, “I had a marvelous time.” Unleash your inner Swiftie. —Konstantina Buhalis

Doors at 8 p.m.; The Crofoot Ballroom; 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac; 248-858-9333; thecrofoot.com. Tickets are $15.

105.1 The Bounce Holiday Heat

Sun 12/19: The year is 2003, you’re wearing your favorite throwback NBA jersey or jersey dress and crisp, white Air Force Ones (sorry Gen Z, these are clean and creaseless). Nelly’s “Shake Ya Tailfeather” comes across your Sony boombox and you hit your best chickenhead. Those days are long gone, but you can dust off your G-shock and practice that chicken because 105.1 Bounce’s Holiday Heat concert is featuring a few hip-hop heavyweights. Nelly and Ludacris along with “Da Baddest Bitch” Trina will heat up the Fox Theatre on Sunday for a throwback hip-hop show. —Alex Washington

Starts at 7:30 p.m.; Fox Theatre; 2211 Woodward Ave., 313-471-7000; 313presents.com. Tickets start at $79.

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