The Sean Anderson Foundation, The Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, and Rapper Big Sean kicked off the third annual D.O.N. Weekend, bringing the city a weekend of fun, impact, and inspiration.
To usher in the weekend, D.O.N. Weekend hosted a block club party complete with entertainment and a celebrity kickball tournament. The Celebrity Clowns, known for their act in the UniverSOUL Circus, made an appearance and performed for the children while the Detroit Fire Department gave them a tour around a fire truck. Detroit officials were also present to represent their stake in Detroit’s children. Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Mary Sheffield was present to engage the community and participate as the opposing team in the celebrity-packed kickball game; Team Sean versus Team Sheffield.
“There’s so much potential in the city, I see it everyday in and out of our neighborhood. They just need opportunity, they need mentorship and that is what Shawn Wilson does here and that’s what The Sean Anderson Foundation does as well,” says Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Mary Sheffield.
Looking to impact significantly the children of Detroit and those who visit BGCSM, the rapper is providing the opportunity to learn music with a more hands-on approach. Unveiling a new recording studio within The Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, the rapper fuses his love of music with his love of the city. The state-of-the-art studio was crafted with everything needed to record and edit songs, including a drum set within the studio to provide a live music feel. Filled with motivational quotes pulled from Big Sean’s chart-topping hits, the studio is more than a place to make music; the studio is just one of the ways the rapper is giving back a place close to his heart.
“The Boys and Girls Club is a place I used to come to when I was coming up. We would just hoop and go there; it was just a safe place for us. So, it’s cool to have a full circle moment and to be opening studios for them and give people the opportunity to and an outlet to record,” says Big Sean.
On a continual journey of pouring back into the city’s youth, The Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan and its partnership with The Anderson Foundation have always been fluid. With genuine passion on display, Myra Anderson, Executive Director and President of the foundation intrigued the BCGSM organization from the start. Now, years later, the relationship is still thriving.
“I could feel that they authentically wanted to give back,” says Shawn Wilson, President of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan. “The passion from Myra, to be honest, sold me because I knew that Sean had someone heading up his organization who is super passionate and would give the time to do it.”
As Detroit continues to develop, Black entrepreneurs, are creating a space for generational wealth and economic mobility. Teaching children to be ready for a career, launching a start-up, and homeownership, BGCSM is laying the foundation and using D.O.N. Weekend to showcase talent and the result of turning dreams into reality.
Big Sean plans to give back to the community in several other ways. Joining the Detroit Pistons in 2020 as the Creative Director of Innovation, the rapper is helping create a new social experience in Motor City. The Gathering Spot, a Black-owned Atlanta-based social club for African Americans, has expanded to other cities such as D.C. and Los Angeles and will soon call Detroit it’s home. Shared exclusively, the rapper, together with several private Black investors across the city, will help to bring the social club to the city.
“This is a special city with the folks we’ve been able to meet, and honestly, it (Detroit) is true to what has always been core to T.G.S.; Black folks,” says Ryan Wilson, C.E.O. and co-founder of The Gathering Spot. “There is no city that’s more Black than Detroit and to do this right, this has to be a place where we expand.”
Concluding the weekend, health and wellness were also on the itinerary as Jamel Randall, owner of The Trap Yoga and Massage Studio, taught yoga. The youth of BGCSM also put on a fashion show displaying original designs. The Industry Club presented fashions by Erica Trussell and her “Beauty in the Birthmark” collection; Kenzy Wilson’s “Fashion Through The Decades;” and Ronnie Booth and Jayla Harris’s “Beautiful Opposition.” The Industry Club gives youth professional experience in niche fields- growing knowledge and developing the next generation of entrepreneurs.