Black Female entrepreneurs owning Detroit's Revitalization

Black, Female Entrepreneurs & Detroit's Revitalization

Three black, female business owners share their thoughts on the changes in Detroit and what it means for the future.


Image consultant Denitra Gregory, owner of Detroit's Unforgettable You LLC, appears pensive but replies firmly, "I have mixed feelings about it."

Gentrification in Detroit has become more apparent and has affected how black, female business owners consider the changes.

According to an article in The Detroit News, "…Demand may be growing, but it's growing slowly. With almost all the influx being young single people and childless couples, most of that demand will go into Midtown and downtown."

Gregory says that one positive outcome gentrification has brought is the opportunity for more black, female entrepreneurs to learn.

"We need to have a voice, and we need to have a space, and you can't have any of that just sitting back…waiting."

Gregory's imaging consulting business offers different empowerment services to women and has seen a slight effect in lieu of the city's changes.

"I am at a disadvantage because some resources that we have here, I gotta jump through hoops to find out what those are."

Even still, she believes that "broadening your network" is one key to thriving amid the shift in Detroit, especially among black female entrepreneurs.

"There's a lot of fear and distrust, and that's hard to overcome, but you have to in order to grow… sometimes you're gonna have to take a coffee with somebody who does not look like you… who does not understand your culture… to just vibe."

The new businesses within downtown Detroit, in particular, also offer a broader scope of opportunity with owner and trinket designer of Trinkets and Such Daisha Nychelle. She says gentrification has aided in increased exposure for her trinket and gift shop.

"For the last two years, I've been a part of the Bedrock Holiday Markets. So, downtown… I've been able to put myself in the market without assuming all of the risks."

The Detroit News also reports that, "…despite the improvement in public services and the long-overdue reduction in property tax burdens that have taken place in recent years, as many as one-third of all of Detroit's neighborhoods are on the knife edge of decline."

However, Nychelle thinks of the possibilities and what that could mean for black, female business owners like herself.

"You have to target people with disposable income…That's the only way that change is going to come…I can't sustain as a business owner only catering to people on a…budget. That's just not reality."

She states that although newer establishments have "priced out" the majority of visitors, there have been positive results within her business, which sells jewelry, accessories, and even some home decor pieces.

"Making it [Detroit] a destination place instead of a ghost town has absolutely helped me and a few other people I know personally. I don't think I would've been able to do that on my own."

Administrator and owner of ALTUM Care Homes Ronda Freeman McDonald is excited about the changes seen within Detroit and finds it "necessary."

She began her business in an apartment building in Detroit, to which she still owns today. The program provides various adult home care services within Metro Detroit, and has allowed her to see first-hand how gentrification has impacted the city.

"I'm excited about what's happening in Detroit. I've been to some of the town hall meetings, and… where my apartment building is, it's one of the areas where they're targeting true redevelopment."

Freeman McDonald says that although she is embracing the change, her business would look a bit different if it were in Wayne county, where Detroit is, rather than Oakland county.

"I wouldn't be able to command the rates…because of the stigma that Detroit carries…I've witnessed, those of my colleagues who do have parts of their care business in the city…so people are not looking for that… we're a business, we have to thrive."

She does, however, think this could change over time, and hasn't given up on the idea of branching her business back into the city.

"We've looked at that possibility, so it's still on the table…but at this time, it's just not possible."

An article on the History Channel's website implies that, "Detroit's future will depend not only on massive investments from companies…but on the spirit of residents in this resilient city."

Freeman McDonald agrees, and adds, "The change that's coming…bringing these areas back…is a welcomed change, and I think the attitude of the city is changing."

Black, female entrepreneurs like Gregory, Nychelle, and Freeman McDonald seem to embrace what they agree is Detroit's revitalization.

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.

Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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14 Kentucky Destinations To Visit This Summer

I'm in love with the history and beauty encompassing my old Kentucky home.


Kentucky has got to be one of the most notable states in the U.S. While it is most known for bourbon, horse races, and basketball, you can't deny the beauty of the history and nature that surrounds the state.

Kentucky natives often take for granted the importance of the locations that surround them. These destinations are easily accessible and should be noted a 'must visit' on your next day off.

For those who are travelers and are looking to tour the land of the "Bluegrass state," you won't regret making these KY places your next summer vacation destination.

1. Mammoth Cave National Park

mammoth cave

This park is open year-round with guided tours through the world's longest cave system. This cave is filled with tremendous caverns which are super cool to see, but the stories that are told about the cave through the tour make it an even more interesting experience.

Even if you decided to skip out on the cave tour, this national park is filled with other things to do. There are trails for hiking and biking, and they even have areas for various water activities.

2. Keeneland

keeneland racetrack

Keeneland is beautifully landscaped and located in the horse capital of the world.

While the best time to go is during racing season, I'd still recommend a tour of this famous horseracing arena.

3. Red River Gorge

red river gorge

Red River Gorge is home of the sandstone rock bridge known as the 'Natural Bridge,' and is also the perfect site for a camping experience. At the gorge, you are able to hike, bike, ride, and partake in a variety of other activities.

4. National Corvette Museum

corvette museum

Home to more than 80 models of America's sports car: the Corvette.

5. Cumberland Falls

Cumberland Falls

A huge waterfall that falls 60-feet before tumbling over sandstone bedding. It is truly a sight to see.

6. Ark Encounter

noah's ark

Located in Williamstown, KY is the massive, life-size ship made to resemble Noah's Ark. It is 3-stories tall with interactive exhibits to illustrate the biblical tale.

7. Louisville Slugger Baseball Museum

louisville slugger museum

Baseball, also known as America's favorite pastime.

Kentucky, also home of the Lousiville Slugger Baseball Museum and Factory.

8. Lincoln's childhood home

abraham lincoln's childhood home

Abraham Lincoln served as the 16th U.S. president. He was an important figure for many reasons, but most remembered for his Emancipation Proclamation speech that helped push toward the end of slavery, and his leadership of our nation through the Civil War.

9. Churchill Downs

churchill downs

Churchill Downs is another thoroughbred racetrack in Kentucky, most famous for hosting the Kentucky Derby. Tours are conducted by the Kentucky Derby Museum.

10.  Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest

bernheim forest

Every year, Kentucky loses 50,000 acres due to land development. There are estimated to be over 3 million trees in Bernheim Forest, all of which are protected from development.

Today, Bernheim Forest is over 16,000 acres and will soon be celebrating its 90th "birthday" by revealing a new exhibit entitled "Forest Giants in a Giant Forest." These three massive sculptures, made of recycled wood are expected to withstand for at least 3 years.

11.  Berea Pinnacles

berea pinnacles

A hiking trail with a variety of difficulty levels, and a beautiful view at the end no matter how far you decided to travel.

12.  Woodford Reserve Distillery

woodford reserve distillery

Kentucky is famous for bourbon. So, why not take a tour of the oldest and smallest distillery in the state?

13.  The Kentucky State Capitol

ky state capitol

The KY state capitol is located in Frankfort, KY and is open to visitors/tours. Observe the areas where our chamber of the senate and house of representatives come together for the legislative process.

14.  My Old Kentucky Home State Park

federal hill mansion

Stephen Collins Foster wrote the famous composition 'My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night!' which is now known as our state song. Foster's imagery throughout the song was inspired by the house and the land surrounding what was once known as "Federal Hill." It was referred to as "My Old Kentucky Home" once the U.S. entered the Civil War.

Today, you can tour the home that was host to many famous individuals (Stephen Collins Foster, Henry Clay, Aaron Burr, and more) and the inspiration to a monumental tribute to Kentucky history.

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