'Diarra From Detroit': Diarra Kilpatrick and Jemele Hill Unveil the City's Soul

Join Diarra Kilpatrick on a personal tour of Detroit's iconic locales with Jemele Hill, exploring the vibrant culture and history that inspired their latest show, now streaming on BET+.

“Diarra From Detroit's” Diarra Kilpatrick recently went on a tour of Detroit with fellow native Jemele Hill, who makes a blink-and-you-missed-it cameo in episode 7. Kilpatrick describes her upbringing in the Calumet Townhomes as "idyllic," with lots of playtime with other kids and her first kiss. "I was always doing cultural stuff. I feel like [in spite of] the grit of the city it seemed there was always something kind of whimsical."

"We know a little bit about Motown," Kilpatrick tells Hill. We know [Detroit] can be dangerous, we know it's gritty, but there are nuances, beauty, love, and great characters here." 

Let's explore some of the places they visited that informed the show's texture.

George's (13635 W McNichols Rd)

Starting with great food. George's is a Detroit fixture with multiple locations throughout the city. "A good comparison to Detroit Coney Island," says Hill, "is it's our Waffle House. The staff is great but they can also fight." 

Kilpatrick agrees. "I feel like, the thicker the bulletproof glass, the better the meal." 

Avenue of Fashion (Livernois & 7 Mile)

The location that inspired the character Aja's beauty shop, the Avenue of Fashion, is a collection of different businesses — galleries, clothing stores, Motorcity Portraits, and more. "Fashion is a big part [of the show]," Kilpatrick says. "At the Gala you get to see Detroit come out in its finest cocktail attire . . . we don't have a lot of subtlety about the fact that we're here, that we made it to your event, and I don't think anybody wants to be missed."

She describes Detroit style as "bold, ostentatious, color, vibrancy, texture . . . leather and fur and just swag."

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History (315 E Warren Ave)

"I was at the Charles H. Wright all the time. Kwanza ceremonies, all the exhibits, I was always there. Also I came here and performed my one-woman show when I graduated from college. That was a beautiful thing, I came as a kid and got to perform for my community in here." 

Fox Theater (2211 Woodward Avenue)

On the best performance Kilpatrick remembers from the Fox, she cites songstress Anita Baker. "I feel like she's the soundtrack to my childhood. When I think about my mother cooking dinner and me doing my homework it's Anita Baker playing in the background. 

"Because everybody can't physically come to Detroit, the next best thing is to watch Diarra From Detroit."

All episodes are now streaming on BET+.

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