Hollywood Directors to Community Leaders: 5 Interesting Detroiters

By: Michael Fossbakk | April 9, 2020

Satori Shakoor speaking to an audience. Photo credit: Felicia Tolbert / Starpointe Photography.

Feeling inspired by the accomplishments of others, people often dream of doing great things. Whether it’s launching a non-profit endeavor to improve the lives of others or simply having a story you believe needs to be told, Metro Detroiters have always been doing great things for the community and the world.

In our ongoing column, we want to highlight five people from Metro Detroit that are doing great things.

Storyteller – Satori Shakoor of The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers

Staroi Shakoor has a rich and varied history in the arts that includes singing in multiple funk groups, like Parliament-Funkadelic and Brides of Funkenstein, but today she is best known for being a storyteller and founder of The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers. Once a month, at The Wright Museum in Detroit, Shakoor’s live storytelling show brings together storytellers and artists from all backgrounds to deliver performances under a unified theme. The show is also available in podcast form via WDET.

Community Leader – John George of Detroit Blight Busters

After being fed up with the way his Detroit neighborhood was going, John George decided to do something about it. The abandoned, blighted buildings near his mom posed a danger to everyone he cared about, so he bought some materials from his local hardware store and boarded up all of the doors and windows. His neighbors saw what he was doing and wanted to help. Today, that initiative is known as Detroit Blight Busters and they are still removing blight from the city on a regular basis.

Small Business Owner – Dayne Bartscht of Eastern Market Brewing Co.

Josh-Malerman

Josh Malerman, author of Bird Box, Inspection, more. Photo credit: Allison Laakko.

Dayne Bartscht is the managing partner and founder of Eastern Market Brewing Company, which recently opened its newest location, The Ferndale Project, at the former Livernois Tap building. After the grand opening of The Ferndale Project in February, Bartscht and his team have had to adapt to the problems posed by COVID-19 and the State of Michigan’s shutdown of all dine-in restaurant service. Investing in a new food and beverage delivery system called Wing It, Eastern Market Brewing Co. is now delivering to residents of Ferndale, Royal Oak, Berkeley, Oak Park, Hazel Park, and Madison Heights.

Author – Josh Malerman

After the Netflix adaptation of his post-apocalyptic drama Bird Box, Malerman has continued to crank out thrilling tales, such as Unbury Carol and Inspection. We last interviewed Malerman for the launch of Unbury Carol and he said at the time that he is always writing new books and had almost 30 completed drafts. As for what’s next from this Ferndale author, fans can look forward to a Malorie, a sequel to Bird Box, on July 21, 2020.

Filmmaker – Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Best known as the director of the 2017 monster/action film Kong: Skull Island, Jordan Vogt-Roberts is actually a native of Royal Oak. With the blockbuster success of the King Kong reboot under his belt, Vogt-Roberts decided to give back to the Metro Detroit area by co-founding the Detroit Creativity Project, a non-profit organization in many Detroit schools that provides improv classes to kids in order to boost their self-confidence and social skills. That hasn’t kept him from working on future films, though. In fact, an untitled project he is working on with Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan will not only be set in Detroit but also make the city a central part of the story.