Hollywood (really, America, in general) has always been reluctant to share fact-based narratives of African-American history. The reasons may vary – i.e. trying to erase our consequential contributions to the advancement of society or attempting to cover-up their indefensible brutalities against us – but the end result is the same. Thankfully, change is in the air and the past few years have given us several films worth celebrating. Newly released film Detroit aims to join the ranks of Selma, Birth of A Nation, Hidden Figures and more that have used the art of cinema to give insight on events that shaped our nation.
Under the helm of Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow, Detroit takes the audience back in time to witness the civil unrest that rocked the Motor City during the summer of 1967, namely the 12th Street Riot and the horrifying sequence of events linked to “The Algiers Motel Incident.” The stellar cast includes John Boyega, Will Poulter, Jacob Latimore, Laz Alonzo, John Krasinski, Anthony Mackie, Straight Outta Compton‘s Jason Mitchell and Algee Smith , who is forever bae after blowing us away earlier this year in The New Edition Story as Ralph Tresvant.
As a central figure of the film, Smith portrays Cleveland Larry Reed, a founding member of legendary group The Dramatics and a survivor of the Algiers Motel. Understandably, Mr. Reed was never the same after the events of that harrowing ordeal and subsequently left the group. And though he never gave up music completely (playing gospel in local churches), he has not sung professionally since that fateful event. Until now, that is. The legend lent his vocals to Algee’s self-penned contribution to the Motown-released soundtrack titled “Grow.”
Smith alternates between his smooth tenor and piercing falsetto range while Reed’s seasoned voice, a mix of down home blues and Detroit soul, cracks with emotion that underscores the weight of his story. The affecting visuals were recorded live at Detroit’s Rusas Printing Building. Watch the music video “Grow” below, then keep scrolling for a full tracklist of the movie soundtrack, which also features “It Ain’t Fair” by The Roots and Bilal plus music from The Dramatics and Motown legends like Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell and Martha Reeves & The Vandellas.
Detroit was released nationwide today, August 4th, and has been widely praised by critics. Purchase Detroit Original Motion Picture Soundtrack via iTunes or Amazon and visit the movie website for official trailers, theaters showing the film and showtimes near you, as well as true stories from the era.
Various Artists Detroit Original Motion Picture Soundtrack tracklist:
1. Nowhere to Run – Martha Reeves & the Vandellas
2. If You Haven’t Got Love – The Dramatics
3. Jimmy Mack – Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
4. Baby Don’t You Weep – Edward Hamilton & The Arabians
5. Baby Bunny (Sugar Honey) – Jerry Williams
6. Your Precious Love – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
7. Till Johnny Comes – Brenda Holloway
8. Larry’s Rescue – James Newton Howard
9. It Ain’t Fair – The Roots (feat. Bilal)
10. Devil’s Gotten Into My Baby – The Devotions
11. The Cream Of The Crop – Lee Rogers
12. All Because Of You – The Dramatics
13. Larry’s Alone – James Newton Howard
14. Grow – Algee Smith
15. Heaven Must Have Sent You – The Elgins
16. I Want To Talk About You – John Coltrane