Detroiters have overcome too much to be reduced to a trend

Three Detroiters discuss how racism, gentrification and negative perception in the media have made them more defensive of their city.

a yellow sweatshirt with "Detroit hustles harder" printed on it hangs on an outdoor fixture

“Detroit hustles harder” merchandise on display at Dally in the Ally 2022.

Oftentimes, we’ll see people wearing the “Detroit hustles harder” t-shirt when they travel, but then claiming their suburb when they’re back in the metro area. There’s a lot of different ways we talk about what it means to be a Detroiter, who gets to be a Detroiter and who decides that in the first place. And ultimately, why do we care so much?

It’s a conversation that we started on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson, and we continued on CultureShift. We agreed it’s such a massive discussion that’s always happening in the city, that we had to use two shows on WDET to even be able to tackle it.

To share their perspectives on this discussion, we were joined by Detroit Today’s Stephen Henderson, CultureShift’s Tia Graham and Outlier Media executive director Candice Fortman.

“I love this place so much, and if there are conversations that we can have that can help people understand why this is such a sensitive topic — and not just sensitive, but there’s a real anger from a lot of folks who have been here and have been doing the work, or not doing the work, they’ve just been here — I guess we have to keep doing it.” — Candice Fortman, Outlier Media

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  • Ryan Patrick Hooper
    Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host of "In the Groove" on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. Hooper has covered stories for the New York Times, NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.