news & recent appearances
Get Down and Dirty Talking Art
January 19, 2022
WJZZ’s Debbie LaPratt and Colibri The Artist talk with Rochelle about Detroit’s arts and culture, the impact of Covid-19, her book The Burden, the impacts of slavery, the intersection of arts, civic engagement, and the economy – and so much more.
Committed to serve: MLK Day events planned throughoutJanuary 12, 2022
“Fight what he fought and died for and just use his birthday as a day to recommit yourself to being what he was,” said Riley, who will be part of an MLK Day celebration this year at the Detroit Historical Museum.
November 15, 2021
Lt. Col. Jefferson will forever be etched in the city’s history for his noble service
“You were a boy who grew into a young man who have become a decorated pilot, and again, I say this with all seriousness, who helped save the world,” said Rochelle Riley, Detroit ACE Director.
Kresge Foundation among first annual City of Detroit arts and culture honorees
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan commemorated International Artist Day this week with an announcement of the inaugural Detroit ACE Honors, which salute achievement by artists and arts patrons who have contributed more than 25 years of service to the Detroit arts and culture scene.
A ceremony, to be held in January, will present each honoree with a Detroit ACE medal of excellence. The event will also unveil the members of the Detroit Council of the Arts, who will choose recipients in subsequent years.
New Arts Complex Aims to Build Community in Detroit
“If we knew how the gallery world worked, I don’t know that we would have jumped into it,” said JJ Curis, who, with her husband, Anthony Curis, founded an art gallery, the Library Street Collective, in 2012, in a once-derelict alleyway. But she feels their naïveté going into that first venture may have allowed them to conduct future business with an unconventional mind-set.
Mayor Press Conference Detroit ACE Honors
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggin on local ACE honors for International Artist Day.
Duggan appoints Detroit’s first historian to highlight African Americans’ contributions to the city
Mayor Mike Duggan on Monday announced the appointment of Jamon Jordan, an educator and history tour guide, to serve as the city’s first historian, an honorary position intended to highlight Detroit’s unique and compelling story.
In Conversation with Rochelle Riley at Browseabout Books
Rochelle Riley in conversation at Browseabout Books of Rehoboth Beach, DE for this virtual event.
Critical Conversations: World Afro Day
Examining art and creativity’s role in healing the community during the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic
New Healing Memorial at TCF Center creates space to reflect, remember
A blank wall in Detroit’s TCF Center is a now a large scale art installation dedicated to loss and healing amid COVID-19 — one pouch at a time.
The installation, called the Healing Memorial, was unveiled Tuesday on the third floor of TCF’s north end near the intersection of Congress and Washington.
Healing Memorial at TCF Center memorializes COVID victims
Young readers see Black icons as children like them in ‘That They Lived’
Heroes spur all children toward greatness. A new book introduces youngsters to inspiring lives in Black history. “That They Lived: African Americans Who Changed the World,” by Rochelle Riley and Cristi Smith-Jones (Wayne State University Press, Feb. 2021, 160 pp. $16.99), highlights achievements rooted in perseverance and love of humanity.
New Headstone for Rock and Roll Hall of Famer James Jamerson
Rochelle joined family and friends to unveil a new headstone at the grave of James Jamerson, named by Rolling Stone magazine as the greatest bass player of all time. One of Motown’s Funk Brothers, Jamerson played on almost all of Motown’s hits in the 1960s and early 70s. He is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
City of Detroit Pays Tribute to Aaliyah
Historical marker commemorates Detroit’s late, great Black Bottom neighborhood
Detroit’s Former Black Bottom Neighborhood Gets Historical Marker
NWS Presents: An Evening with Rochelle Riley
Evita of Nomadness Travel Tribe interviews Rochelle Riley; celebrating been-ups and start-ups
NWS Presents: An Evening with Imbolo Mbue
Rochelle appears at the Northwest African-American Museum
Witness to History: Les Payne and the search for Malcolm X
Detroit Arts Culture and Entrepreneurship Official Discusses Art Healing Society and Her New Book
A Zoom Talk with Rochelle Riley
African Americans that Changed the World”
Pages Bookshop Virtually Presents Rochelle Riley
Ferndale Library Podcast Interview with Rochelle Riley
New Kids Book By Former Free Press Columnist Highlights Accomplishments Of Black Americans
That They Lived: African Americans That Changed The World
Rochelle Riley interviews Elizabeth Atkins, Stephanie Williams on telling black stories
Detroit Kicks off a Yearlong Celebration of Arts and Culture With Black History Month Programs
City of Detroit showcases artists as kickoff to Black History Month
Stand for Something: Martin Luther King Jr. Day Panel Discussion
The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X Author Talk
How Do I Do That? with Rochelle Riley and Lisa Sauve
Women in #Activism
Rochelle Riley, Director of Arts & Culture for the City of Detroit
Former Dallas Morning News Writer Reflects on Race in Latest Book
Former Dallas Morning News Writer Reflects on Race in Latest Book
Views On The Pandemic From 3 Swing States
May 10, 2020 | npr.org
NPR’s Don Gonyea discusses how the pandemic has affected politics in three battleground states — Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan — with Charles Franklin, Salena Zito and Rochelle Riley.
Rochelle Riley’s acceptance speech for NC Media and Journalism Hall of Fame
Apr 23, 2019 | Detroit Free Press
The North Carolina Media and Journalism Hall of Fame at the University of North Carolina inducted the Free Press’ Rochelle Riley. Watch her speech.
Rochelle Riley, ‘The Burden’
Nov 13, 2018
Columnist Rochelle Riley spoke at the 2018 Southern Festival of Books on a panel about race in America.
How Do You Mourn a Pandemic? See How Artists Around The World Are Building Monuments to Those Who Died of COVID-19
March 12, 2021 | artnet
As the world continues to battle the spread of disease, artists and architects are helping memorialize those we lost.
10 Women Innovating Local Government
March 8, 2021 | John Hopkins University
Whether it’s addressing the many crises of the global pandemic or tackling preexisting challenges, female city leaders have been key to developing, executing, and scaling up some of the most impactful innovations of the past year.
In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating 10 women who’ve made big strides for their communities.
‘Black Bottom Saints’ playing cards to celebrate Detroit’s Black culture, history
February 27, 2021 | The Detroit News
New York Times best-selling author Alice Randall announced that the images of icons with Detroit ties will be featured in a set of playing cards called “Black Bottom Saints,” named after her latest book.
Randall joined Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and the city’s Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship Director Rochelle Riley for a virtual presentation Saturday afternoon.
Detroit launches Undefeated, a yearlong effort to celebrate arts and culture
February 11, 2021 | Detroit Free Press
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and the city’s Office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship (ACE) have launched a creative initiative titled Undefeated, which is being billed as “a yearlong celebration of Detroit arts and culture.”
Children portray icons like Aretha Franklin and Frederick Douglass in new photo book
February 10, 2021 | Detroit Free Press
There is a wonderful close-up photo of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking from a podium, holding on to it firmly as if he is leaning in to the enormous task ahead.
In the new book “That They Lived: African Americans Who Changed the World,” that photo is paired with a portrait of Rochelle Riley’s grandson, Caleb, then 8, who is wearing a similar suit and tie and copying the civil rights icon’s pose with an intensity beyond his years.
That They Lived: African Americans Who Changed the World by Rochelle Riley and Cristi Smith-Jones
February 1, 2021 | Wayne State University Press
In February 2017, Rochelle Riley was reading Twitter posts and came across a series of black-and-white photos of four-year-old Lola dressed up as different African American women who had made history. Rochelle was immediately smitten. She was so proud to see this little girl so powerfully honor the struggle and achievement of women several decades her senior. Rochelle reached out to Lola’s mom, Cristi Smith-Jones, and asked to pair her writing with Smith-Jones’s incredible photographs for a book. The goal? To teach children on the cusp of adolescence that they could be anything they aspired to be, that every famous person was once a child who, in some cases, overcame great obstacles to achieve.
Award-winning journalist writes book about African Americans who changed the world
February 1, 2021 | The Oakland Press
Riley came up with the idea in February 2017 when, scrolling through Twitter, she saw a series of photos of then 5-year-old Lola Jones recreating historical photographs – like Rosa Parks’ mug shot. Riley reached out to Lola’s mother, Cristi Smith-Jones, and asked to feature her photos in a book she was writing.
In an interview with CNN, Smith-Jones said, “Since it’s a heavy topic, we wanted to find a way to make learning about black history fun for (Lola). … Her ability to emulate them is uncanny.”
As Rochelle Riley leaves the Free Press, readers lament losing her fierce voice
May 19, 2019 | Detroit Free Press
For two decades, Rochelle Riley’s words have made things happen, and for about half of that time, as a Free Press columnist, she told stories, exposed truths and stimulated action.
“I am proud to be a journalist,” Riley said during her induction into the North Carolina Media and Journalism Hall of Fame at her alma mater, the University of North Carolina. “I am leaving the newsroom behind — I’m in my last month of work at the Free Press — but, I will never give up that mission, and none of us should.”
Racism, Discrimination And Calling The Police On Black People
July 19, 2018 | nprillinois.org
Disturbing stories this summer about white people calling the police on black people for cutting the grass or using the swimming pool. Guests Rochelle Riley with Paul Butler, professor of law at Georgetown University and author of “Chokehold: Policing Black Men.” (@LawProfButler) and Steven Brown, associate at the Urban Institute, doctoral candidate in sociology at Harvard University. (@KregSteven).