Entrepreneur and the CEO of Ignition Media Group Dennis Archer Jr. and the newly elected Michigan State Sen. Marshall Bullock representing District 4 have joined forces to help local Detroit neighborhood establishments thrive in the midst of the city’s ongoing revitalization.
Together, these longtime friends have launched The Intersection, a monthly gathering at some of Detroit’s historic and tenured venues, to help draw attention to neighborhoods and community members making a difference in the city.
The events are hosted on the second Tuesday of each month and open to the public. They provide a platform that focuses on the importance of entrepreneurs and civic leaders working together to continue the city’s positive trajectory and cooperative alignment. Such alignment is necessary to ensure that development and investment occur in the neighborhoods as they do in the more popular downtown and midtown areas.
Rolling out spoke to Archer and Bullock about the importance of the series.
What exactly is The Intersection?
Marshall Bullock: The Intersection is a collective idea between myself and Dennis Archer, Jr. We wanted to highlight minority-owned venues within the city’s neighborhoods that are often overlooked by the media.
Dennis Archer Jr.: The Intersection is where entrepreneurship meets community involvement. Each month, the series is going to go to a different neighborhood bar or restaurant, we’re going to feature live entertainment, serve delicious food, and we’re going to give away two “Intersection Awards” per event. For instance, we featured the renowned Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, the world’s oldest jazz club, twice.
Why was it important for you to create The Intersection series?
MB: Doing The Intersection will help promote a positive narrative and dialogue for Detroit and give exposure to small businesses as well as up-and-coming members of the community in a fun and social atmosphere.
How did the concept come about?
DA: Marshall and I both love a great neighborhood bar. Years ago when I was just out of law school, we used to go to a place called Mark’s Lounge on Livernois Ave and Grand River Avenue, owned by Trent Mitchell, who is a second-generation operator. His dad Mark originally opened the lounge. We knew that there were [more] places like this. So, we thought that it would be great if we could take our crowd — a very diverse and eclectic crowd — and do our part to bring the attention to those people [and establishments] who may not get the attention that they should. The Intersection was born out of that.
You spoke about giving away two Intersection Awards at each event. Tell us more.
MB: We acknowledge individuals or groups who are making notable contributions to our community, whether it’s in business, activism or nonprofit.
DA: Just as much as we want to bring attention to the places we go to, it’s equally important to bring attention to the people we honor. This is all about exposure — exposure to people doing good in the community, exposure to historic and tenured hospitality venues and exposure to great entertainment. We like to honor the next generation of leaders, who are either living in or operating in the neighborhoods where we host these events.