You Need Them On That Wall
There are always those stories that a writer wishes he or she had done first, and this Metro Times piece from Detroitblogger John ranks right near the top of my list.
I grew up off Mack Avenue in Detroit and passed these painted signs every single day as a child. Some were better than others, but somewhere in each of them, I always managed to find something affirming about myself and/or our community. (Around my way, when I was a kid in the '70s, a man who went by the name of "Cherokee" was among the best of 'em all. I heard he died a while ago, but you can still see some of his work on cinderblock storefronts along Mack.)
As a hip-hop head, I used to wonder why breakdancing and rap took hold in my neighborhood when graffiti didn't. And I can't help but think that, in some small way at least, it had something to do with the daunting standard these guys set. Hastily scrawling "Darrell Wuz Here" in black Krylon kinda lost its appeal when you then turned around and saw some guy twice your age hand-painting full-on Afrocentric nativity scenes across a giant wall. (And back then, you never EVER painted over their stuff.)
Hand-painted wall signage was standard decades ago. Good to know the tradition lives on here in the D...