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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Image Is Everything!



I've been debating about whether to write about this one or not and I guess the I's had in this case. There are so many reasons why this show is a bad idea for the City of Detroit and I wonder was any of these things considered when this show was pitched around the table of the ABC Television Network. The image of our fair city has been damaged enough through the advent of crime and violence, problems with in our school system, lack of jobs, unemployment rate is skyrocketing, problems with our Police Dept and now this. It's seems almost as if we have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous, from the First 48 TV fiasco and now a TV drama centered around the crime in our city. When will it all end?

From one perspective you could argue that as a city we should be honored and proud that a television network like ABC would like to use our city as the backdrop for their new crime drama. I mean out of all of the city's in the country they could have chosen they decided to pick ours. And, we should be grateful. Detroit, even amidst its current trials and tribulations, is still a city with a rich history, and heritage and one that should be shared with the entire world through the medium of TV. From MoTown; with the Temptations, Four Tops, Aretha Franklin, Berry Gordy and many others, to the Motorcity; Ford, GM & Chrysler, this city's story is definitely worthy of being told. And, this is certainly one argument in favor of Detroit being selected as a feature city for a new television show.

But, unfortunately there is another perspective, which is probably the closest one to the truth.  And, that is none of the reasons outlined in the first perspective for Detroit being chosen as the feature city for a crime drama on a national TV network are the real reasons we were given such an honor. The name of the show itself tells you what is going to be the primary focus of the show, "Detroit 1-8-7." 187 is the numeric code for the crime of "Murder." And, by titling the show this way, you are telling everyone that watches that not only is the focus of the show, but you are indirectly saying that this is a prevailing characteristic of the featured city. I am personally insulted by the name of the show, because it is playing up the stereotype that Detroiter's have had to deal with for a long time. Detroit is the "Murder Capitol of the World," & "It's not safe to live in Detroit," are just a few of the stereotypical statements we hear periodically in our travels in and outside of the State of Michigan. It is the violent images of our city that gets front page news; it is the scandal and controversy that seems to plague our city that gets the lion share of the national news coverage. From the scandal surrounding former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to the constant violence and crime in our city.

Former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick recently sentenced to a maximum of 5yrs in prison for parole violations

You can tell from the trailer for the show that has surfaced on YouTube what the focus of the show is centered around. The most dilapidated, impoverished and crime infested areas of Detroit will serve as the background for the show. And, I guess if you're going to have a crime drama called Detroit 1-8-7, you are not going to Rose Dale Park, or Sherwood Forest or some of the other nicer places in the city. You're going to Mack & Bewick, Gratiot & Chareliox. I think you get my meaning. But, my question is, is that fair to the image of the city. Will people watching this show get a fair representation of the reality of our city, or will it just be another over -played stereotype that really needs to go away?

Another aspect of all of this I would like to address before I bring this post to a close, is all of this really just a stereotype of our city or is there a larger percentage of truth that maybe we as Detroiter's are not willing to accept? Yes it is not comfortable being referred to as a stereotype, but are they really just reporting the facts about the city, and we just can't handle the truth? I can recall an incident that sort of helps me to put some of this controversy into perspective about all that is going on in our city. Back on April 30th, I remember taking my family downtown to the "River Walk" behind the GM building downtown. A beautiful family park with a great deal of potential. In fact, as we were enjoying the scenery the Friday evening we were down there, it was around the time of the Dateline CBS Special that was done on our city. And, we were conversing about how this area should have been featured in this news report about Detroit, inasmuch as it seemed that the report centered around the stereotypical rather than the practical and concrete matters of our city. And as we were walking back to our car parked in a structure behind the Ren Cen, we noticed a commotion off in the distance. Young people were moving very fast towards us as if they were trying to avoid something, we inquired about what was happening and were told that it was a fight taking place. We naturally begin to move a bit faster towards our vehicle. When we get to the parking structure, just a few steps away from the car, several gun shots rang out. And, a horde of commotion ensued. It was like a scene out of NYPD Blue and we got our belongings together and our family got in the car and got out of there. My point being, this was the closest I have ever been to gun fire, let alone anyone else in my family including my two small children. And, reoccurring violence like this that takes place in the heart of our city continues to promote the stereotype we want so badly to disappear. So there is a bit of truth and hype in all of this, and Detroit must begin to exorcise its demons in order for us a city to move pass all of this.

What are you thoughts about this television show? Do you agree with our estimation of this controversy surround our city? Please leave us your thoughts and opinions on what you think should happen? Should the show be canceled before the 1st episode ever airs? I'm interested to know you thoughts.


Pastor Nimmons
www.michaelnimmons.com

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