Detroit political analyst Stephen Hood dies at 58

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Detroit — Political analyst Stephen Hood "was one of the best political minds in the state," his closest friends said, and he "fought the good fight."

Mr. Hood, a community activist for more than 20 years, died Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in the afternoon with his family beside him at a local hospital. He was 58.

Greg Bowens, a Detroit political consultant, said his friend of more than 30 years was diagnosed in March with pancreatic cancer but kept it private as he checked off things on his bucket list. 

Steve Hood kayaking earlier this year.

"I've known him since I was 14 years old, through school, through life," Bowens told The News. "He created a bucket list and went to Mount Rushmore with his brother, a race driving school, kayaking, and I was glad to be a part of that."

Mr. Hood created the show "Detroit Wants 2 Know" on WKBD-TV (CW50 Detroit) to address issues facing southeast Michigan that he felt weren't as publicized. The audience, comprising predominantly African American Detroiters, heard about issues ranging from former Gov. Rick Snyder's tax plans and a discussion with the late-Congressman John Conyers on the national debt ceiling.

Born in Detroit, Hood attended Roeper City and Country School through eighth grade. He graduated from Cass Technical High School and went on to attend Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, where he majored in biology.

"He played on the high school football team Cass Tech Spirits, and he was the guy you always wanted to have in a fight because he was fearless," Bowens said. "He would always help you."

After graduation, Hood returned to Detroit to work at Cyprian Center, where he was a mental health service provider to the developmentally disabled population of the city. The center was founded by Hood's father, a former Detroit City Councilman and prominent pastor in the city, and named in honor of his daughter, Sarah Cyprian Hood, who had a developmental disability.

Steve Hood died on Aug. 19, 2021.

"There had never been, and there will never be, another Steve Hood," said Rev. Horace Sheffield. "Steve never bowed to social conventions but was governed by his own sense of loyalty and benevolence. Our relationship made the connection of our families span three generations. And his contribution to many will be remembered for years to come.

"He fought the good fight and he finished his course," Sheffield said.

Mario Morrow, a Southfield-based political consultant, said his longtime friend was one of best political minds in the state.

"His off-the-cuff colorful style of political commentary would have the strongest of politicians cringe at his often-pointed observations," Morrow said. "Outside of politics, Steve loved teaching his Bible classes and yearly Black college tours he sponsored for hundreds of college-bound students. He will be missed."

In a statement Thursday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said: "The city of Detroit lost one of its biggest advocates today, and I lost someone I deeply admired.

"Steve was my Detroit organizer during my 2018 campaign. His passion for the city and its residents was not only obvious to everyone he interacted with — it invigorated others to share that same intensity.

"That community and political activism will be greatly missed, and I share my deepest condolences with his loved ones.”

Funeral information was not immediately available.

In addition to his sister, other survivors include a brother, Nicholas Hood III, pastor of Plymouth United Church of Christ. Mr. Hood was predeceased by his father, Nicholas Hood Sr., and mother, Elizabeth Hood.

On what would be one of the last memories they shared together, Bowens said Mr. Hood was kayaking and thought about the greatest moments in his life.

"He said the greatest thing he ever did was being a Sunday school teacher," said Bowens, adding people typically remember Mr. Hood for his television show or politics, but "there was a deeper side to him that certainly made him the way he is.

Being a Sunday school teacher, Mr. Hood said "... it made a difference," Bowens said.

Twitter: @SarahRahal_