Big Sean's D.O.N. Weekend aims to educate and inspire
The rapper's community party returns for its second year with a full weekend of events
When conceiving a weekend of events to give back to the Detroit community with her son, rapper Big Sean, Myra Anderson didn't want to do something typical, like a concert.
"I wanted it to have meaning," says Anderson, who heads up the Sean Anderson Foundation, the charitable organization named for her son which was launched in 2012. "I want people to go away with something that's more lasting in their lives than just having fun for a few days."
Together, Anderson and Big Sean came up with the D.O.N. Weekend — short for Detroit's On Now — which returns for its second annual go-round Saturday and Sunday.
The community oriented, family-friendly event, which is presented through the Sean Anderson Foundation, kicks off with a block party from noon-6 p.m. on Saturday that will feature a live DJ, carnival rides, haircuts and hair braiding, food trucks, gaming stations and more.
Sunday's events include a self-care panel featuring Big Sean, best-selling author Michael Eric Dyson and mental health professionals discussing the importance of mental health. The weekend will wrap up with a bowling-themed party at Detroit's Garden Bowl.
The events are free and open to the public, although Sunday's activities require pre-registration through the website Eventbrite.
"The D.O.N. Weekend is an opportunity for Sean to give back to Detroit," says Anderson. "It's his way of honoring the people that have stayed here in the city that have really been holding down Detroit through thick and thin."
Last year's inaugural event, which was held in June, drew around 1,500 people, Anderson says. This year she's hoping for 2,000.
The D.O.N. Weekend will be held at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan's Dauch Campus, on Tireman Avenue on the city's west side. It's there on Saturday where Big Sean will unveil the Sean Anderson Foundation Content & Production Studio, a state-of-the-art facility that will be available for use going forward by students and adults. The facility's construction was supported by a $100,000 grant from the Sean Anderson Foundation.
The facility will aim to expose people to different aspects of the entertainment industry, including production and behind-the-scenes work.
"I'd like it to be a resource to nurture talent within the community," says Anderson. "I'm more interested in teaching people to fish than giving them a fish."
The D.O.N. Weekend is also partnered with Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Mary Sheffield's Occupy the Corner – Detroit initiative, which is bringing in entertainment and information about city services to the event.
Anderson says Sean has "major input" on all of the weekend's events, and he was insistent on ending the weekend with a bowling event. Interestingly, one of Sean's new singles, "Overtime," ends with a sample of pro bowler Pete "PDW" Weber talking trash after rolling a strike.
Is Sean possibly ramping up for a new career?
"I haven't seen him bowl, but I don't think he's much of a bowler," Anderson says, laughing.
Detroit's On Now (D.O.N.) Weekend
Noon-6 p.m. Saturday
Dick & Sandy Dauch Boys and Girls Club
16500 Tireman Ave., Detroit
For more information, visit donweekend.org