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Restoring A Detroit Gem


By. Deekah Wyatt

 

 

 

Karrinda & Johnny of BOTS
Photo by Deekah Wyatt

 


BOTS Entertainment was founded by Karinda L. Washington and is based on the Battle of the Sexes: A Men vs. Women in Singing, Rapping and Poetry Talent Showcase, held in a Yahoo! Chatroom from 2000-2003. On December 16, 2002, Washington decided to take the showcase from cyberspace and present it to the original Motown. The showcase was designed to be a community giveback program, allowing young adults to support their local community while being entertained.

 

In addition, BOTS serves as an outlet for local independent recording artists to gain exposure to their community and major record labels.  The band shell was named for after Detroiter, Jerome H. Remick, who at the time owned the largest music publishing company in the world. The stage is 40 by 80 feet and can accommodate 80 musicians. Many Metro Detroit residents are not aware to this day that the band shell once included restrooms, a radio control room, dressing and assembly rooms and storage. The design of the shell could mix sound waves for an audience of more than 10,000. The lighting spotlighted the performers elegantly. Once host to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Department of Parks and Recreation made the band shell accessible to other groups as well.

 

 

During Hip Hop Mile 2006, BOTS Entertainment realized that the band shell was in desperate need of repair. Executive Director, Karinda Washington, states, "We decided that very day to have people sign up to volunteer their time and money to assist us in an "Adopt-the-Band Shell Project." Making serious note of the plight and deciding to take action, the program was birthed and ideas began to flourish. Men and women from the entertainment business sector of Detroit have since come aboard.

 

To date, artists, producers, event planners, promoters, media organizations and average citizens alike, have all agreed to pool resources in bringing this project to fruition. Students from Detroit’s own Wayne State University and as far away as University of Minnesota have teamed up to help restore the band shell.

 

 


Noticeably, the band shell has been beaten by fierce winters and scathing summers. The paint is chipping severely and the band shell has endured more than its fair share of vandalism and substantial flooding. There are also two dressing rooms, two restrooms and a rehearsal room that need rehabilitation and furnishing.

 

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