Drake Phifer is the founder of Urban Organic and is the organizer for the Detroit Diaspora: Day Party Is King event which will highlight a lineup of exquisite musicians and will feature electronic music that fits the model of the dance music most popular in the city.
Phifer talks with rolling out about Detroit Diaspora and being an organizer for the event.
What is the Detroit Diaspora all about?
Detroit is home to techno as you may well know. It is one of two Black electronic music genres that have been created in the United States. House music is out of Chicago, and techno came out of Detroit. They’re music cousin sounds. This weekend is part of what is called the electronic music weekend in Detroit. So hundreds and thousands of people descend on the city from all around the world, from Europe, from Asia, from everywhere to come to Hart Plaza, which is our big mega Plaza in the middle of the city right off the Detroit River to perform. Outside of that, there are literally hundreds of side parties here which include hip-hop, house, amapiano, reggae, and Afro-funk. It’s really an amazing thing to see.
How does it feel to be the organizer for an event like this?
It’s an honor. It’s s a work of love, a labor of love, I should say. I’ve always been the person who recognized others’ talents and enjoyed promoting them. I like to see people who are deserving of recognition get their flowers. Zana Smith and Amp Fiddler are certainly deserving of their flowers, and it makes pulling this mammoth event together, all worthwhile.
What can you say about the legacies of Zana Smith and Amp Fiddler?
Zana has a store here in Detroit, called Spectacles. Spectacles has been a purveyor of literature, art, fashion, music, and culture. She’s the person that brought the culture from the city, to downtown Detroit and made it accessible to everybody. To everyday businessmen, the White girl from the suburbs, the little white boy, she made it accessible. She made culture accessible. She is a walking culture giant in and of herself, and she’s been doing it in this one store for over 40 years.
Amp Fiddler is a producer and musician. He’s worked with Corinne Bailey Rae, Brand New Heavies, Raphael Saadiq, Q-Tip, Slum Village, George Clinton, and more. He’s responsible for introducing the world to J Dilla. Dilla has become not only a symbol for Detroit music but a symbol for hip-hop around the world. He’s become internationally renowned since his death, and Fiddler’s the one who’s responsible for introducing us to him. Fiddler is a very storied individual, and I’m certainly hoping that what this does is shine the light on who he is because he is deserving of all of our praise. He’s had a tremendous impact and influence on not only the music world but other people in the city.