Unfiltered: Marcel Friday on Creating a Voice for the City
Since the blog began, we have tried to give an accurate portrait of Detroit and its people. One way reporters find material is to do a lot of reading. To that end, I stumbled across a Web site that I think really says something about the city.
Welcome to WHUTUPDOE! Its creator, Marcel Friday, is a 25-year-old Specs Howard graduate who worked for Universal Music Group, the Detroit Pistons as a freelance television broadcaster and MGM Grand Detroit as a marketing representative.
The site has a hip-hop appeal while focusing on issues affecting the urban community from Detroit to Los Angeles and beyond. He hopes the site, which recently went live, represents Detroit but eventually will have a national audience.
The site's motto says it all: "The second we speak the battle is won."
By Marcel Friday
Publisher/Owner – WHUTUPDOE!
Everyday struggles and shifts in the journalism industry have forced change, but my goal has remained the same since 2005: to create a no holds barred, Hip-Hop themed journalistic publication. Thankfully, as of Christmas 2009, my dream has finally come true.
But it was a long five years since I came up with the idea. I've done a little of everything: from doing marketing and promotions for the largest record label and distributor in the world, to working as a Senior Field Rep for one of the premier lifestyle marketing companies, and everything in between. During this time of 9-to-5's, I became a professional journalist and secured jobs with Detroit Fashion Pages, Avenue Report Men's Magazine, DefCulture.org, and even landed an article in Vibe Magazine.
I've also bared witness to the good and bad happenings of my city during this time. The most dangerous city, one of the most poverty-stricken cities, high unemployment rates, high foreclosure rates, high illiteracy and drop-out rates, government scandal, the “Hip Hop Mayor.” None of these connotations or people have accurately depicted my city, its residents, or life in the area.
Detroit's a proud city - a proud city with a bad rep.
Personally, I'm tired of Detroit only being covered in the media when it involves controversy. We're much more than the indiscretions of a dishonest Mayor, the ignorance of a disastrous City Council, and the incompetence of a flailing auto industry.
What about the annual J Dilla walks to raise research money and awareness for the chronic inflammatory disease lupus? What about local music producer, Apollo Brown, being a finalist in the Red Bull Big Tune beat battle in 2009 – and local producer 14kt in 2008? What about David Merritt, Founder and CEO of IMU The Inside Out, using his platform as a former captain for the University of Michigan Men's Basketball team to promote charitable giving through his clothing line? What about the countless amounts of charity shows that local artists put on to help local kids with ailments that their insurance companies won't help with?
We're much more than what we've been unfairly and inaccurately depicted in the media as.
All of these experiences help to build up to WHUTUPDOE!
My staff and I have a lot of different conversations between each other about the city of Detroit, and our place in the world's eye – some of which end up on the site. We've also maintained great conversation on our Facebook page like: Sarah Palin on Fox, racial divides between Family Guy and The Cleveland Show, the demonic overtones of Jay-Z videos, the way Detroit City Council members are voted in, all the way to polling our readers on their favorite Coney Island and how Detroit politicians equate to rap. The feedback has been great!
Our goal at WHUTUPDOE! is to bring you quality, editorial-driven content that affects the urban community with a Hip Hop appeal. We WILL be different than your run-of-the-mill Hip Hop site. We WILL deliver you ORIGINAL content that you will NOT find anywhere else.
We feel that we not only have our finger of the pulse of Detroit, but the pulse of the urban community as a whole. Detroit, however, is a big part of what we do. We're able to stay on top of what the city is buzzing about because we live, work, and/or play in the city. When the community is talking about Oslo being the hottest sushi bar in Detroit, we're already there every month for their Twakeover – monthly Hip Hop networking social linking Twitter with real life – event. When the Hip Hop community is talking about St. Andrews Hall & The Shelter as the best venues in town, we're already booking our own concert there, Feb. 20th, to celebrate the successful launch of our site.
And when the community is talking about the condition of our education system, we're already posting editorial content on the state of the Detroit Public Schools and what WE, as parents and residents, need to do to ensure the proper education of our youth. Detroiters are always at the forefront of every industry, yet our opinions and voices are constantly left on the cutting room floor.
Well, not anymore.
I, along with everyone on staff at WHUTUPDOE!, have been working hard to create what we think will be the most original content you're going to find on the net.