Spirited, Devine + Feminine; Love Letters To Detroit

Updated: Sep 22, 2020


By Ayana Bryant-Weekes and fellow Detroiters

Detroit is home to some of the world's most influential people. Lowkey (but really highkey), your fave's fave is probably from Detroit or has been influenced by a product of Detroit #humblebrag. As a global gem, Detroit is quietly producing and diffusing dynamic, God-placed, women who have the privilege of calling Detroit their home. Advance Magazine is owned, operated by, in partnership with and serves many other such women. As we reflect on legacy and the footsteps we wish to leave behind for generations to follow, we honor the shoes we work to fill; we honor our origin story; our birthplace - our hometown.


Photo by Jermme

Brianna McCullough Engineer | @brilimitless


I’ve been trying to find my way back to you ever since I left. What a privilege it is to be a D- Girl, a woman from a city known for producing some of the best woman bosses that you’ll ever meet. But we don’t call them bosses, we call them HUSTLERS. Detroit has provided me with extreme grit, tough skin, and a plethora of food options from the west side to the east side (I’m an East side girl though). I love your warm and dry summers because they're worth the long winters. Just to be in the presence of the culture, the hustlers and the well decorated influencers you have produced has me running back home every chance I get because I know on any given day, there’s no place I’d rather be (and I gotta come home because ain’t no corn beef like Lou’s)!


Photo by Charlie G

Delo Brown Entertainer/Comedienne | @keepitonthsdelo

One tough lesson I had to learn professionally is that everyone does not have your best interest at heart. No matter how much they say they do. Words mean nothing if trust is not there; no matter how good the person’s intentions may seem. Love and loyalty have cost me a lot and I’ve endured losses in silence, but the Detroit Hustle Mentality has given me the tools to ensure that I win out loud! Through all the losses, I’ve been able to reshift my focus back to my main goal, which is to be the one of the greatest entertainers in the world.


Loren D. Hicks CEO of Michigan Fashion Week | @thelorendhicks

Detroit has provided me with so many special memories that I will always treasure in my heart. The one that I cherish the most is driving across the Belle Isle bridge that leads into Detroit’s Landmark Belle Isle Park. I distinctly remember my grandfather and grandmother taking my cousins and I to The Giant Slide. It was such a special day that I will forever cherish in my heart. What makes me love Detroit so much is the “bounce-back” spirit of the city, the people, and the business community. Having that “bounce-back” attitude and spirit reaffirms that all things are possible to those who believe. Detroit remains strong as a vibrant, progressive city that embraces all races and cultures, which continues to make all of us proud.


LaTricia Wilder Owner of Vibe Ride Detroit | @howwevibe

How do I efficiently thank the place that gave my grandparents the escape from the segregated south they needed to live a quality life and see their dreams and aspirations attained by their hard work and grind? Who then birthed both my parents, and gave them the meeting place to then create me! The place that took me from 7 mile and Greenfield to places like DC, NY, LA, Africa, France, the UK, Italy, and Spain by nourishing my perseverance, determination, inquisitive spirit, and providing a side of street education and hustle needed to make things happen.  Detroit taught me that limitations are set by myself only, and anything that I wanted I could have because I come from the city that has proven time and time again that it will not fade, fold, lose, nor quit.  That determination and drive is in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the roads we travel, the schools we attend (Cass Tech stand UP!), and manifests as die hard Detroiters to propel us to the next level. I am imported from Detroit, and wouldn’t have it any other way!


Photo by LeXander Bryant

Charity The Artist Singer/Songwriter | @charity

Detroit, you are my loving mother. You have birthed and nurtured my Black soul. You gave me culture, color and creativity. You placed the most vibrant lingo in my mouth. You taught my taste buds to recognize good food and my ears to know good music. You are the reason for Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and J. Dilla. You are the supreme goddess of creation. Your winters are harsh but your summers are pure joy. There is a love song I have yet to write about riding down Jefferson on an August night - Joe Louis’ fist on my left and your deep river to my right. You are my first and eternal home, Detroit. My chocolate city. My breathtakingly overwhelming sea of brown- ever-resurrecting, rhythmic and rich. I love you deep. 


Photo by VisualsxNik

Darian Cook Owner of 12th & VIV | @darelynn

A feeling I will never forget…

Walking down Woodward Ave. in the heart of Downtown Detroit, and seeing 12th & ViV in a storefront window, next door to some of the best up and coming Detroit owned businesses. I cried tears of joy, because it was a feeling I could never get back. “I can’t believe we made it here...” was something I kept repeating over and over. I was determined to work hard, not complain, and be patient with my success. I had to make my city proud, showing I was worthy of the opportunity to be there. Living in Detroit, people have always treated us like underdogs, and at times I have felt like my business was too. But Detroit has never been disheartened by a NO, and neither will I.


Keely Crawford | Singer/Musician | @heykeelydotcom

The best parts of Detroit are echoed across the world. From Motown to techno, Detroit music has given me a variety of influence to craft my own sound. The heartbeat of this city has carried me from hip hop to soul. Detroit is a place where art and expression has a place to grow and blossom, it is an incubator for pure talent that influences the world. The ripple effect of the Aretha’s, the Diana Ross’s, the Stevie Wonder’s and JDilla can be heard in every note that I sing and song me and my husband’s group Sweet November writes. I carry the soul of Detroit with me and I’m very grateful for the solid foundation and multi levels of musical inspiration the city has given us all.

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