A few years back a You-Tube video made by some kids in Detroit went viral. “It’s So Cold in the D” was the object of derision because it was so poorly written and sung by a group of poor black kids, and because it offered a glimpse of a culture very foreign to most white Americans. (It even had a moment on the infamous “Beavis and Butthead” cartoon). On the surface, it seemed to confirm many stereotypes of urban, black youths. I couldn’t help but see past those stereotypes and listen to what they were saying. The message was sublime and profound at the same time.
The song laments the violence that is an everyday aspect of life in Detroit. Last year, Detroit set a record on the number of homicides – more than 1 homicide everyday was committed in Detroit. Add on countless incidents of less deadly violence, and one can only wonder how any family could survive in Detroit. I am not bashing Detroit, there are many families surviving and many good aspects of living in Detroit. However, what these children were singing about was as much a plea as it was a statement. It is so cold in the “D”, and the question is spot on “what are we going to do?”