BLAC’s 20th Anniversary Throwback: Looking Back at 2002

Celebrating BLAC's 20th anniversary and remembering what we and the culture were up to in 2002.

Goodbye, African American Parent. Hello, African American Family. Our magazine’s new name demonstrated a broadening in our content coverage. No more parenting issues only. Now, we covered topics like race relations in Detroit, African dance and the local art scene. We also ramped up our production, increasing from six issues a year to 10.

We were clearly proud of this change and wanted readers to be aware. We peppered 1/8-pageads throughout the 2002 issues declaring “10!” and beckoning advertisers to come on board. We’re so glad they did – and that our readers embraced our young but growing magazine. 

Still a Thing

MySpace may be a graveyard now and flip phones are pretty much a thing of the past, but these things (good and bad) were an issue in 2002 and today. 

  1. Lead poisoning concerns in Detroit
  2. Black college graduation rates
  3. The push to “buy black”
  4. Controversy over the “N” word
  5. The strength of black families

Super Supporter

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One of our earliest advertisers was Southfield-based Avis Ford. Back then, if you test drove a Ford, they’d hook you up with a year subscription to our magazine, mailed directly to your door.

Back in the Day …

Brenda Lawrence

In 1992, Brenda Lawrence officially became the first – first African-American mayor of Southfield AND the first female mayor. Her election wasn’t easy. She’d ousted longtime incumbent Donald Fracassi by less than 1,000 votes. She’d go on to serve Southfield until 2015 when she was elected as a U.S. Representative serving the 14th district. But before her mayoral tenure and ascent to congress, she sat down with us to share her thoughts on her plans for the future. Here are some highlights.

A simpler life

“When I get home from work, my husband is spoiled, so I try to cook. I try to fulfill that commitment to him because he loves it so.”

On Kwame Kilpatrick (before texts and trials)

“You know, the thing about Kwame is, he’s not afraid. He is not afraid. He knows what he wants to do, and that’s it.”

On being a ‘first’

“The sad part is that in the year ’02 in this country we still have a first this and a first that, but the good part is that in America it can happen. Let’s celebrate that.”

Looking beyond ’02

As for the future, Lawrence said only that she will not be mayor for as long as her predecessor, and that she might one day consider running for national office.

A Sweet Start-Up

Hard to believe that the Detroit Parent Network hasn’t always been around. But this essential nonprofit that helps “educate, equip and empower” Detroit parents to be champions for their kids and the community got its start in 2002.

In Style

Fashion and style guru Chuck Bennett wrote about the “Cornrow Revolution,” highlighting exotic cornrow braid patterns – called “crazy braids” – hot in some circles in 2002. “From zigzags, to swirls, to conspicuous dollar signs, the curvaceous braids are more than just a hairstyle. They are a statement – and a form of cultural expression,” Bennett wrote. 

In 02

Tiger Woods won the Masters and U.S. Open.

Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” burned up the airwaves.

Michael Jackson dangled his son Blanket off a balcony.

Eminem’s 8 Mile hit theaters.

TLC’s Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes died in a car crash

History Highlight

In March 2002, Halle Berry became the first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Monsters Ball. #OscarsSoBlack bonus: Denzel Washington also won an Oscar for Best Actor, the second time in history.

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