The Dramatics in Detroit
Remember the group the Dramatics? Growing up you probably heard them in the house as soul food cooked, while getting your hair braided; or as your parents got ready to head to the disco. Well at least that was my experience.
If you don’t know who they are look them up on YouTube because as the movie Detroit releases, you will be hearing much more about the stand out group that may be best known for their 1970s hit songs “In the Rain” and “Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get“, both of which were Top 10 Pop hits, as well as their later 1993 collaboration “Doggy Dogg World” with Snoop Dogg, a top 20 hit on the Billboard Rhythmic Top 40. But In my house, it was the song “Me and Mrs. Jones” that we loved snapping our fingers to, singing with our eyes closed in falsetto at the top of our lungs.
You see, in 1967, Larry was 18 years old and the co-founder of the Dramatics. But one night, in that summer at the Algiers Motel in Detroit’s Virginia Park section, he had an encounter with law enforcement that left him permanently wounded — mentally and artistically.
At the height of the Detroit riots, when the Dramatics fled from a canceled gig and were trying to find a safe place, Ron Banks, the group’s other co-founder, managed to make it home, and would go on in the following years to lead the Dramatics to Billboard hits. By a random twist of fate, Larry and some of the others tumbled into the Algiers Motel, where they crossed paths with a police squad that judged them by the color of their skin. The result was a night of terror from which Larry never recovered.
That night, with the city under curfew and as the Michigan National Guard patrolled the streets, three young African American men were murdered at the Algiers Motel.
It finally premieres in theaters on August 4.