Ruffin singing "My Girl"

David Ruffin singing “My Girl”

*Don’t scratch your head…don’t count it out…the City of Detroit will be alright. This whole bankruptcy thing will pass. Why was Detroit so important in the first place? Think about it. Think generational. The Great Lakes for starters – I won’t get into that…look up the history. Recalibrate…re-invent…re-tool…is the word of the day with unemployment. Detroit is not alone. Wanna talk about it?  Sam Cooke sang ‘A Change Is Gonna Come.’

I was born and raised there. All of you BIG BUSINESS people who shaped (why do I want to say raped) the city…you saw it coming. Those of you/us who bought into it thought it would last forever. We had General Motors, Ford Motors, and Chrysler Motors. Had all our eggs in one basket.

And we had the voice of Motown. We loved all the voices that came out of Motown, but two voices – among so many like Smokey Robinson, Levi Stubbs, Martha Reeves, Diana Ross – Marvin Gaye and David Ruffin were premier. After Sam Cooke died, they became THE VOICE for factory workers in a positive and inspirational way. The strong voice in mainstream for Black men…and undoubtedly for men in general who could only express themselves in song. I’ll list a few: “My Girl,” “I’ll Be Doggone,” “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg,” “Heard It Through The Grapevine,” “I Wish It Would Rain.” You know the history of these singers….what more can I say? Their voices – like Sam Cooke – could bend steel.

What's Going On?

Marvin Gaye: What’s Going On?

People migrated to Detroit from the south and everywhere else. Why? Think about it. Opportunity! Why did ‘white flight’ happen? Think about it…I leave it open…maybe you can answer it. We were getting along just fine living next-door to one another. What happened? An old Temptations song said “Why Did You Have To Leave Me?”

Yes, I left Detroit back in 1982. I was working for the Michigan Employment Services Commission (MESC). They laid me off. Now when you get laid off from the unemployment office, what do you do!? I chose to leave but Detroit will always be home for me. May God bless the citizens of the city of Detroit.

As I’m writing this, my Hispanic neighbors are blasting The Miracles’ “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me.” Yes Detroit…you do…still have a hold on me! Fan the flame baby!

David Ruffin and The Temptation’s “Fan the Flame”:

Marvin Gaye’s “You’re What’s Happening (in the World Today)”: