soul & marginalia.

scribbler of songs & singer of poems. cultivating my sense of wonder. bibliophile. funkateer. latebloomer.

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Posts tagged "DETROIT"

When @5egallery took over their building, they gave it new life, color, love, flavor. Now their #Corktown building is in jeopardy. We’re blowing up the web to raise $14K by tomorrow. If you can, please give a few bucks to keep #5e alive in #DETROIT. The streets and the community need its light.

Not too late to save #Detroit’s @5egallery. We’ve raised over $8K of $14K they need to stay open: Give what you can. Visit their page for giving incentives—$40 gets you a dope tshirt over $500 and you could receive a commissioned art piece by one of #5eGallery’s many talented artists - plus some great goodies in between.
You can donate from their website or jump straight to @Paypal: by check can be made payable to:

5 Elements Arts Foundation 2661 Michigan Avenue, Detroit, MI 48216.

Help save @5egallery by donating as little as $20. @DjSicari5E & the crew need to raise $14K by MONDAY. Donate @ If you love #Detroit, if you love #hiphop, if you love kids & artists having a place to collaborate, to learn & be loved like home, throw your $20 on the pot to help 5e keep & buy their building. The @Paypal email is Retweet. Regram. Repost.

Late Night Singing Pajamathingeething… 

Just posting a couple videos that I recorded tonight. I’ve been preparing for my show at Derby City Espresso on 2.16 and worked myself into a singing for the YouTube universe kinda mood. So, the first video is me jamming au naturale to The Temptations’ “Just My Imagination.”  Yaaassss.

The second song is an original arrangement of the spirituals Balm in Gilead & Motherless Child—called simply, “Balm”—that I shared with the good people at the Detroit Spiritual Festival at the end of January. There was no recording of the concert (I almost cried when I found out), so I wanted to share this song with you folks. 

So, yeah… I hadn’t thrust any late night videos on the unsuspecting interwebz in a while, so there ya go :)

Be encouraged, y’all. And send me good vibes as I round the bend on finishing this dissertation (and the crowd goes wiiiild).



Many thanks to Detroit Indie Music Reviewer, Meika Cole, for this lovely review of Diurnal Movements. It feels great to get some hometown love. Check out more of Ms. Cole’s reviews on her blog:

If you’re near Louisville and you’d like to celebrate the album’s release with me on Oct. 14th, click here for the details:

Keep on pushing, 



for Detroit


“And when the groove is dead & gone,  you know that love survives, & we can rock forever…”      

—MJJ’s “Rock with You” on Epic Records


Though now the motown sound is dirge

the smoking dragons have ceased

even to sputter, the migrations

have begun, again

& the city, beautiful, that only snacked

itself for decades has begun to eat its

tail in earnest, smaller, smaller gorging  collapsing  starving, again

& much has returned to seed

perhaps, as god intended swallowed up in grief

& the ground is poison now,

perhaps, choked by the soot & fumes

from earth to sky—

my mama’s buried there


& the wounded city lies gaping, abandoned, 

still smoldering from the burning

storefronts, the white-hot combustion

of black rage turned inward,

& there is no chorus, no doo-wop

no tambourine, handclap no soulful croon  no wonder


only the mournful taps of

shined black shoes steeling for the inevitable weight that only the pallbearer knows 

but you don’t hear me though—

my mama is buried there


we who keep time with the pulse

in our pockets, the beat

in our soles, know deep in our funky hearts


that sometimes, the miracles

don’t really get cooking

until after the second bridge. 

Green, Yalonda JD. “Time (for Detroit).” Reverie: Midwest African American Literature (2010): 48-49.


This poem was originally written after viewing and reading TIME magazine’s article about the “beautiful ruin” that Detroit is/has become. Detroit is my forever home. I was honored when Reverie Journal — based in Detroit — accepted my poem for publication in its 2010 issue. 

I decided to post this poem after viewing part one of the video Detroit Lives with Johnny Knoxville. I’m posting all three parts— they’re about 10 mins each — for you to view. 

There is life in Detroit. It is not a black cesspool. It is not a wasteland. Detroit is not ruin or myth. Detroit is not dead. Detroit ARE NOT dead. People live and thrive and imagine in Detroit. It is a wonder. Detroit lives. My daddy grows his own greens in his backyard. 

There is life and green and possibility and germination there. 

Detroit is. And will be. 


Detroit Lives:

Part I:—3

Part II:—3

Part III:—10

Toward creativity & light & life,


When’s the last time you had a sho nuff can’t-speak-sweaty, blush-when-I-see you, can-you-see-me, do-you-know-I’m-alive, can’t-help-it, bonafide, Grade A crush? 

Crush Pt. 1 is track #3 from my album, Diurnal: Movements.  It’s been one of my favorites since the beginning of the project. Love this song & I share it on Twitter (or anywhere else) when I see somebody crushing. Give a listen.

Have you ever wondered why they call it a ‘crush’? I think I know…


p.s. Download the album for $8. Order the cd and receive an instant download of the album for only $10.

As a product of the Brazeal Dennard Youth Chorale, and student of African American choral musics, this hits hard. Keeping my ears open for the arrangements. I want to be there when he’s laid to rest. James Abbington will be playing organ at the services. I know all of the music will be impeccable. 

In peace & song, 


06 Jesus Is All I Need by jdgreensoul

17 If I Can Help Somebody by jdgreensoul


These are from the same concert by The Brazeal Dennard Chorale (Detroit), circa 1998. Features original songs/arrangements by Lori Hicks and Stacey Gibbs, and early performances by yours truly (the second solo on If I Can Help Somebody), Lori Hicks (before she was an opera diva), Angela Birchett (on both songs) and Lori “L’Renee” Hollins (the second solo on If I Can Help Somebody). We were all just on the other side of high school. 

Many thanks to the homie, Marcus Collins, for digging these up. I got choked up listening to “If I Can Help Somebody.” That song changed my life forever. High fives to anyone who can find more (and even earlier) performances. 

In the spirit of Sankofa, 


Looking for articles that discuss the layoffs mentioned in my previous post [], I found a letter from Joyce Schon, the attorney representing Detroit’s teachers to Prof. George Shirley. I am aghast. Please see the bold:

Hello, Professor Shirley,

I am an attorney for the Detroit Board of Education in a lawsuit against Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb, over academic control of DPS. Bobb has given layoff notices to every music and art teacher in the district, including those at Cass Tech and Detroit School of the Arts. He plans to have one citywide chorus, one orchestra, one band etc, as extra-curricular activities that students may only qualify for only if they have good grades. Any music or art classes or programs in individual schools would be supported, if at all, only with private funds.

The School Board’s plan includes music and art in every school at every level, with a lobbying effort at the state and federal level to increase funding for art and music education.

Please accept my great admiration of your accomplishments and your career. I am a product of DPS schools, a life-long classical music and opera-lover, and a great believer in music as one of humanity’s greatest accomplishments. I personally cannot bear the possibility that Detroit’s students could be denied the very classes that I considered my lifeline for survival and growth as a student and as a human being.

We believe that removing art and music teachers from virtually all public schools would result in irreparable harm to the children of Detroit. Could you talk to us on the phone about these two counterposed educational visions for fine arts education for Detroit students?

Unfortunately, time is very short. We begin our trial on Friday, May 21. If you are in the country and could talk on the phone, please call me on my cell at your earliest convenience.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration of this urgent matter.

Joyce Schon

Please help by passing this along and sending your stories. Please. 


One of many singing pics from my hs days:

Senior photo in my choir dress, my second skin:

We can’t let this happen, 


This is a call to action,

I just got word on Facebook from Nina Scott, my high school choral director, that the Detroit Public Schools has laid-off ALL of its Fine Arts Instructors. I am a proud graduate of Renaissance High School in Detroit. Renaissance is a college prep magnet school that, for the last 15+ years, has had a stellar choral program. We toured the country, ventured overseas, won scholarships to colleges throughout the US, sang for our craft and for our lives. 

I am stunned, puzzled, incredulous. distraught.

I am who I am—as a musician and a woman—because of my years participating in our choral program. I can’t imagine what a hell Detroit’s schools would really be without the arts…

Please find Ms. Scott’s call for our participation to save the arts in our schools:

DPS has laid-off all Fine Arts instructors. They plan to offer one all city choir, band, orchestra, and a traveling truck for art. Help us save fine arts in DPS.

Contact Robert Bobb and the board’s (our) lawyer Joyce Schon, tell how fine arts impacted your lives.

Schon's next court date is Friday, let's give her ammunition.

So I’m calling all musicians, painters, dancers, dj’s… if you were a black, white, brown kid in DPS that was saved by the arts in your school, please send your stories to Mr. Bobb and Ms. Schon at the addresses above. 

Consider how our city’s—our children’s—future would look like without the presence of fine and performing arts: there could be no one, even, to paint such bleakness. 

Please, let’s unite to protect the arts in Detroit’s Public Schools,

Yalonda JD Green

'98, musician and choir nerd

RHS Varsity Chorus, Renaissance Singers, A Chord, Brazeal Dennard Youth Chorale, Renaissance Ladies, All-City Honors Choir

[See continuation here: ]