You never get to hear many good things about Detroit. Everyone overlooks the beauty, the reconstruction, the landscapes, the spirit of resilience, and the history of this city. I moved to Detroit back in summer 2012 with an idea about what I wanted and the will to find what my purpose was. Honestly, it was different for me -but at the same time it felt like Cincinnati. I had never been to a place that felt that synonymous to my hometown. So I struggled to seek my purpose, I had rough times and I wanted to give up many times just to go back to Cincinnati. But I stayed, I made it through and for two whole years Detroit was everything to me. It still is. So in this visit, December 6, 2015, I was able to look back at a couple things that inspire me. As a disclaimer, there are many people who inspire me -I just did not get a photo op with them. Sit back and enjoy PART 5 as we go further into the mind of Christian A. Drye.
Summer 2012 before I decided to actaully to Detroit, I took a visit for a weekend. My brother Mike took us to the jazz fest and to a couple banging soul food spots. We parked down by the river walk in front of this abandon warehouse and I fell in love. Duh, I snapped a picture in front of it. It was so much life inside of it... or maybe it did at one point. But I saw it still, I seen this building as usful in some form. Fast foward a year later I decided to use this location for the "Detroit" photo shoot staring Gabby Ruffin for Complex Heart (my clothing brand that is on pause). We produced some of the best pictures I have from that shoot -who knew I would use it for multiple marketing purposes? But I previous stated, I did see life in this building.
Grand River was one of the main streets that I lived by on the westside of Detroit. I am very proud to have moved to Detroit and I will represent it all of my life. I got questioned so many times about why I moved there -so here it goes. After graduation at Central State University Spring 2011 I worked at North College Hill Elementary in Cincinnati, OH. I knew from that whole school year I did not want to be in education anymore, I would have been more happier writing books for school kids opposed to teaching them. So I applied to Miami University for their English Creative Writing program and lets just say I did not get accepted. I was pissed, I questioned my whole ability to write because I knew my application and writing samples were more than amazing. I prayed, I prayed, I prayed -hoping God would show me the way. That same Detroit trip I previous spoke about, where Mike took us to the River Walk was not only a fun weekend but a game changer. My godmother (Mike's mom) told me to move to Detroit and apply at every school I could up there. I told her I would, I actaully did it. Prayed some more and got a sign from God to move to Detroit. Side note- every morning I study a chapter of a particular bible book. I send a scripture to some friends and a couple friends send me one. I have a friend name Vic and another named Shasta who sent me a scripture (Joshua 1:9) at different time periods. Neither had any recollection of my present endeavors. Vic sent it first, I told God no! I am not moving to Detroit. I want to stay in Cincinnati. A week later, Shasta sent me the same scripture and then God told me, "you better move to Detroit." This time Ilistened. I am glad listened too, it was the start of furthering my creativity.
I rode with Mike EVERYWHERE when I first moved to the D. I wanted to see as much as I could to get familiar so I could maneuver by myself. He showed me what he could and I sought out the rest.The streets were filled with this beautiful street art that is known as graffiti. I love this stuff, bombers (graffiti artist) are brave. Depending on where you are, you could be at risk for getting arrested or possibly dying. But they still took a chance to communicate with anyone who would view, their thoughts on whatever. With my photo shoots I ike to take two completely different subjects and force you to see similarities in the contrast.
I have to admit, there probably is a liquor store on every corner. This was the closet to me, Amy's! My first day of work, I went over to the store to get change for the bus. The store was closed. I instantly get mad because I cannot be late on my first day. People begin to line up outside of the store and as I glance up, there my bus was flying past. A lady says to me after hearing the worry of me complaining, "don't worry another will be here in 10min." The bus pulls off, and big black truck pulls up and a lady hops out of the passenger seat apologizing for being late. That was Amy! I spoke to her, she knew I was not from around here based off of my manners. I guess people in Detroit could be rude at times, fair enough. I was also dressed up really fly for work, she had never seen me before. Our relationship grew over the past two years, she would always look out for me and check on my school progress -she was like another mother to me. I had to go see her and let her know I was doing okay. She knew I had moved to midtown Detroit so she did not see me as much but she had no idea I was back in Cincinnati. She was happy to see me and I cannot wait to visit her again.
This was my bus stop where it all started. Where the red boards are, it use to be wide open so you could see inside of the rundown abandoned building. It kind of scared me because I didn't know if someone was hiding out in there -I had headphones on, I wanted to be safe (laughs lightly). I met some cool bus drivers in my time there, I even ministered to some in the mornings. I didn't have a car at that time but now I do and that shows the grace of God. But I would much rather ride the bus, it allows me to see more. I cannot write and drive at the same time. I sit back and listen to my music and take everything in. Where I work at now in Cincinnati, I cannot take a bus so I am forced to drive. But that music is still playing (laughs lightly).
I have traveled all around the USA but I have not been out of the country yet. I always wondered what it would be like to touch new soil. Although, I know one day I will be able to effect people and learn different cultures -right now just isn't the time. The landscape in the distance in actaully Canada. The Detroit river seperates the two countries. In my two years I didn't get a chance to go over there but one day I will. This picture is so beautiful. This was right before I left on Sunday afternoon (Dec. 7th). I love beautiful sites. I am manly enough to know how secure I am to be able to call a site beautiful. I call it how I see it.
A trip to Detroit will never be complete unless I have my road dogs with me, actaully they are BEEEEEARS! From left to right: Cutie Bear, Pizza Bear, and Medium Bear. I met these young ladies while I worked at Bates Academy. They are so brilliant and fun. They have a great set of parents who are involved in every aspect of their lives. Detroit has an annual art festival called NOEL NIGHT located in the midtown area. After trying to find a parking spot for 30yrs it seems, we finally got a chance to hit the streets. As you can see, it was freezing -we were all bundled up. There were so many people and within the two hour timeframe it may be impossible to enjoy everything. Besides, we got there an hour late so we were missing out from the begin. We got to see one museum and caught a glimps of the protest at the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA) as we walked on Cass and then Warren. We stopped at one of my favorite Wayne State University diners, Epicurus, to get some warm coco. Afterall, bears don't really get cold. We made it to the public library just to find out they shut down the face painting station. We still got to walk around and finish our coco. I love these girls, we were so happy to see each other. I'm just afraid when they grow up they wont be my bears anymore (tears fall) but medium bear said they always will be.
Simple as this.... I need this in Cincinnati! Located on the westside at Grand Blvd. and Grand River. This was probably my favorite place to get what I call "hood wings." I cannot really explain what a "hood wing" is but I just know when I get them. If you're in Detroit, order a whole wing dinner dipped in honey BBQ sauce! The food in Detroit is 100x better than Cincinnati.... I should have taken a picture of a Coney Island! Go there and get a grilled chicken pita w/ cheese!
Until the next time....
Documented December 6-7, 2014.
ALL PHOTOS WERE TAKING WITH MY IPHONE 5.