NewsNo Black Detroit Businesses In Lions Boom Story

No Black Detroit Businesses In Lions Boom Story

It is disappointing that a Detroit institution had to be reminded by its readers that Black businesses exist, but perhaps that is owed to the overwhelming whiteness of the Detroit metro area in general.

Phil Lewis, Black Twitter’s go-to source for news aggregation and a reporter for the Huffington Post, pushing back on the New York Times omission of Black businesses in Detroit in its report about Detroit businesses receiving a boost due to the Detroit Lions playoff run.

In a newsletter he publishes, What I’m Reading, Lewis reported that Chimika Harris, a manager at Cutter’s Bar & Grill, was interviewed by the NYT for their report only to have her comments ommited.

Detroit, which is affectionately referred to as the Blackest city in America, has a 77% Black population, so people noticed when its Black restaurant scene was ignored by the NYT in favor of white-run establishments. 

Ken Coleman, a senior reporter at Detroit non-profit news outlet Michigan Advance as well as a historian of the city, posted on Facebook, “Detroit is 77% Black. 57% of the NFL is Black. Not one African-American-owned business mentioned in this New York Times piece. Wow!” Harris responded underneath Coleman’s post, writing, “I’m very disappointed to hear this The NYTimes did a interview with me for this on Friday.” 

New from me: The New York Times ran a story on how local businesses in Detroit are enjoying the Lions’ success — without mentioning any Black-owned businesses— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) January 26, 2024

Lewis interviewed Dennis Archer Jr., owner of Central Kitchen + Bar, who expressed his disappointment with the narrative that overlooks Black Detroit’s contribution to the economic impact of the Lions playoff run. “Because the city is majority African-American, because of the history of how the city became that way, and because of the number of strong purveyors here, it’s unfortunate when we are not equally represented in the narrative because we are such a strong part of the foundation, the backbone, and story here,” Archer said.

Kenny Valentino, who owns District Seventy8, a restaurant/lounge establishment, said of the NYT exclusion, “With all the revitalization in Detroit, the small, minority, Black-owned businesses are always left out. It does not surprise me.”

The Detroit Free Press, after also being criticized for only including one Black establishment in its initial report on Detroit businesses receiving a boon from the Lions playoff run, ran a piece emphasizing the impact on Black Detroit businesses. At the behest of Starex Smith, who runs The Hungry Black Man, a platform dedicated to reviews of Black-owned establishments, the Free Press sent a reporter out on a bar crawl of several Black-owned restaurants.

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Source: Black Enterprise

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