Oct 31, 2008
The Blue Bloods and The Brothas
When I was 15, it was a very good year. Or at least a good summer. The summer of 1979 was the summer of my first real gig. I was a busboy at the venerable Motor City institution The Detroit Club. At the time this club represented the epitome of WASP male privilege. Women ate in a separate dining room and the only black people around were the waiters, cooks, and other busboys. This joint was about as blue blood and old school as it could be.
Nonetheless, it is in this joint that I got my first taste of the game, as it were. The opportunity to see these rich and powerful men in their element for a whole summer gave me a first hand encounter with the way the proverbial other half lives, literally. On the other hand, working with a bunch of grown-ass black men in this racially segregated environment exposed me to some other life lessons, the same kind of lessons that you typically learn in the street. By the end of the summer, you couldn't tell me nothin' as I freely moved between the blue bloods and the brothas with relative ease. I saw things that summer that most will never see and the lessons learned are with me to this day; good, bad, and ugly.
So it was a bit weird to read that like everything else in Detroit these days, The Detroit Club is in a financial cramp. The declining membership tells it all; "Hard times/spreadin' just like the flu/watch out homeboy/it just might get you." Even blue bloods are hurtin'.
Yet the strongest evidence of The Detroit Club's decline can be found in the section of the story where former mayor K2 walks out on his bill without paying. See what happens when you open up your admissions policies! You know how they do.....