Detroits Artists Join Forces For COVID-19 Awareness, Census


(WWJ) Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is bringing back a Detroit pastime—a two-night virtual talent festival--to boost census participation.

The event will take place May 29 and May 30 on Facebook, Duggan said. It is called “Everybody Vs. COVID-19,” named for Tommy Walker’s brand.

Duggan said the purpose for the socially distanced talent show will be two-fold: to remind Detroiters to continue to wear their masks and be vigilant against the virus, and to raise awareness about the importance of the census.

“Our future for the next decade depends on filling out the census. It sounds boring, but cities across the country are filling out their census in larger numbers than Detroit,” Duggan said during Friday’s press conference. “And the money that should be going here, that money that our children need for their lunches, that our seniors need for their healthcare will be going to other states if we don’t act.”

Eric Thomas, Detroit Chief Story Teller, said the digital festival will include comedians, rappers, musicians and more.

“They want to tell you two things, COVID-19 hit us very hard but because of the cooperation of Detroiters, because of the resiliency of Detroiters, we flattened that curve probably faster than anyone in the country,” Thomas said. “You look at viral videos, you say people are not doing what they are supposed to do. But the numbers show Detroiters are doing what they need to do.”

The festival is a celebration of “who we are” as Detroiters, according to Thomas.

Detroit rapper GMAC Cash; known for parody raps addressing news topics including potholes, the UAW strike, and coronavirus; was at the press conference. He is slated to appear in the event.

Mayor Mike Duggan said the city's COVID-19 numbers are trending in the right direction, with only 20 new cases reported on Thursday.

20 deaths in Detroit were reported this week, down from 51 deaths the week before. 79 people died from the virus three weeks ago, and 121 four weeks ago; according to Duggan.

Detroit, the hardest hit city for COVID-19 cases in Michigan, has 10,615 residents who have tested positive for the virus and 1,301 deaths; according to the COVID-19 Detroit Dashboard.

The Motor City had a brief moment in the national spotlight on Friday. 

White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, gave Detroit a shoutout during the Task Force Briefing.

White House COVID-19 Graph
The White House

While updating Americans on the progress of various cities on fighting the pandemic, Dr. Birx pointed to the dark blue line at the very bottom of the graph.

“This is Detroit…” Dr. Birx said, “It’s at a very low level….came way down.”