Detroit Lions playoff boost report: NYT faces backlash for overlooking Black-owned businesses

Abu Mubarik January 31, 2024
Photo: FOX2

America’s leading newspaper The New York Times (NYT) has come under criticism for omitting black businesses in Detroit in its report about Detroit businesses receiving a boost due to the Detroit Lions playoff run.

The city of Detroit is regarded as the blackest city in America with a black population of 77 percent. Therefore, when the NYT omitted black businesses in its report, it became quite obvious to everyone.

The pushback on The New York Times‘ omission of Black businesses in Detroit caught the attention of reporter Phil Lewis and black business leaders. The NYT in its report noted that the success of the Detroit Lions is boosting local businesses.

“However, there’s one glaring omission in the article — there are no Blackowned businesses mentioned in the story,” Lewis noted in his newsletter, “What I’m Reading.”

Ken Coleman, who works as a reporter for Michigan Advance and a historian, noted on Facebook, “Detroit is 77% Black. 57% of the NFL is Black. Not one African-American-owned business mentioned in this New York Times piece. Wow!”

A black business owner commented under Coleman’s post, revealing that she was interviewed for the story but her name was omitted. “I’m very disappointed to hear this The NYTimes did an interview with me for this on Friday,” Chimika Harris, who runs Cutter’s Bar & Grill, posted.

Cutter’s first opened in 2004 in the historic Eastern Market neighborhood and has seen both the joy and pain of Lions fans over the past 20 years, according to Lewis. The owner of the establishment, Charles Nolen, said Cutter’s has been instrumental in bringing Lions fans to downtown Detroit.

Dennis Archer Jr., the owner of Central Kitchen + Bar, was also utterly disappointed in the NYT story that sought to overlook Black Detroit’s contribution to the economic impact of the Lions playoff run.

“Because the city is majority African-American, because of the history of how the city became that way, and because of the number of strong purveyors here, it’s unfortunate when we are not equally represented in the narrative because we are such a strong part of the foundation, the backbone, and story here,” Archer Jr. told Lewis.

Archer Jr. was referring to the history of the Great Migration between 1916 and 1970 when scores of Black people moved from the South to the North to escape racial violence and get better opportunities. Historians say that jobs were paying better in Detroit at the time but these conditions didn’t stop Blacks from being discriminated against as seen in the 1967 Race Riots in Detroit. A recent report named Detroit as the most segregated city in the country. The 2021 report, titled “The Roots of Structural Racism,” found that 169 of 209 metro areas in the U.S. increased their levels of segregation between 1990 and 2019.

For Kenny Valentino, another Black business owner, he is not surprised with the exclusion. He owns District Seventy8, a restaurant/lounge establishment. “With all the revitalization in Detroit, the small, minority, Black-owned businesses are always left out,” he noted. “It does not surprise me.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: January 31, 2024


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