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Ari Howard

The older i get, the more that i realize that everybody was raised different. I was raised different. I didn’t have the typical childhood. I saw a lot and i was exposed to a lot.  If you don’t deal with the pain, you will carry it with you forever. I’m older, i’m maturing, and I’m dealing with my pain head on. The pain of my childhood was not having my father there the way that i needed. I’ve always been super laid back and quiet. Part of it is because i’ve always felt like i didn’t have a voice. I was always younger than everybody so who will listen to me? My guess is nobody. I’m more of a thinker than a talker. I’m sensitive to certain things but that’s also what makes me so harsh at the same time if that makes any sense. I’m stoic but sensitive.  I didn’t have the typical 2 parent household. My mom was a working woman and my father was being a black scarface. With my mom working so much and my father being a drug dealer, my father didn’t have time to give me the reassurance that i needed as a boy growing up in the inner city. I needed those extra hugs. I needed that extra push. I didn’t get that. And i still need them.

I love my pops deeply. Always have. Always will. I don’t hold anything against him. I know my dad loves me. My mom did what she had to do as a single black mother in america. She didn’t have the time. I don’t hold that against her. A woman can’t raise a man. A man can only do that. I needed that love from my pops. I felt like my dad loved the streets more than he loved his own family growing up.  I know that’s not the case but that’s how i felt. The streets must be addictive. The fast cars, the fast money, the fast bitches, the jewelry. It’s hard to stay focused. He did provide. We wanted for nothing when i was growing up. But i didn’t give a fuck about material shit. I needed my dad around. I needed that love, strength, that push, that affection, that reassurance that you can only get from your dad. I missed that. I never got that. That caused me a lot of pain and i’m still learning to deal with it even today. I watched them haul him out of the courtroom and take him to prison. I saw that with my own 2 eyes so imagine what else that did to me. It’s impossible to raise a young black man from prison. He tried his best. He did. He never had a father figure show him what to do. He didn’t have that. His role models were street niggas, gangstas, dope dealers. My grandfather on my dad’s side didn’t do anything for him. Until this day, my dad has only hugged me a hand few of times. He’s never even told me that he was proud of me. That hurts. I know he loves me but i needed to feel it. I still need to feel it. I’ve never received that “i’m proud of you son” response. I’ve never received that “i’m proud of the man that you’ve become” response. It’s so many things i learned on my own. Outside of a few cousins that helped me, i learned how to be a man on my own. For the most part, i turned out pretty good. No kids, never been married, never been to jail, never had a STD, nothing. That’s why when people speak on me and my abilities as a man, it pisses me THE FUCK OFF because you don’t know what i went through to become the man i’m becoming. That’s part of why i’m so self reliant.  That’s why it’s hard for me to depend on anybody. I’m so use to feeling by myself that it’s made it easy to depend on myself. That’s part of why i’m so quiet. That’s part of why i have moments where i feel like i’m alone. I can have a room full of people around me and still feel like i’m the only one in the room. That comes from my childhood. I’m naturally a loner anyway but feeling alone on top of that doesn’t help.

Mom was at work. Pops was flipping birds. Who do i express my feelings to? Who has time to listen to me? Who took the time out to listen to me? How do i even express these feelings as a kid? I couldn’t express that in phone calls every sunday because “you have a collect call from a federal prison” interrupts your talk. And you only get a certain amount of time during those calls. That’s where the doubt came from as a child. That’s where the self esteem issues came from. I felt unimportant. I felt unloved. I felt unsure of myself. I felt like nobody cares. I still have moments like that. And when i do express myself these days, do people even give a fuck? Do people listen? Do people just listen just because? Are people gonna take the time to listen to me or is everybody gonna be just “Super” busy 24/7 and not take time out to listen? As kids, we always wanna make our parents proud.

We all need that reassurance from somebody. We’d love to hear it from them because we know that it’s coming from a genuine and sincere place. Everybody needs love. Kids need love. Some adults never get over this type of pain. It starts with your upbringing. If you have kids, love those kids, motivate them, push them, love them up, hug them, talk to them, listen to them. It could make a difference. MEN, take care of these fucking kids. Be a role model to these young men. It’s a jungle out here. Boys need a father.  If you didn’t understand why i’m the way that i am, you will now. This is me in my rawest form. I’m learning and maturing. This is me telling my truth while speaking up for young men that could be going through this and feeling like this. It’s about breaking that generational cycle and generational curse.

The Misunderstood Black Man

Ari Howard

The Misunderstood Black Man deals with so much on a day to day basis. We’re at war with everything, including ourselves. We were built to be tough, never show our emotions, maintain and keep our composure by any means. Not true. We suffer just like anyone else does. We cry, we become depressed, we aren’t always sure of ourselves. We aren’t allowed to be emotional though. That’s what society says. That’s what they want us to believe. You can always learn from a person that’s always quiet and silent. It’s so many of us black men that are suffering in silence every single day. We never learned how to be vulnerable. We never learned how to express ourselves. We were never taught that. That’s considered soft in our community. We suffer in silence as black men because we feel like nobody cares. Nobody takes the time out to listen to us. Nobody takes the time out to understand us. We’re at war with ourselves, our community, our own kind, our own women at times, and we’re at war with other cultures as well. A lot of days, i’m happy to just leave the house and come back safely. That’s a shame because we should feel safe anywhere we go. We can be killed just taking out the trash. We can be killed just going to the gas station. There’s no guarantee that we are going to make it home to our families at night. These are all thoughts that we have as soon as we wake up in the morning and sit on the edge of our beds. A lot of us just want to be able to go out, provide for our families, and come home. Being paranoid is considered an understatement at this point. We need the same love and reassurance just as much as women do. It’s just hard for us to be vocal about it. And if we have a woman in our life, it’s still hard to be vocal about what we deal with day in and day out. We need peace of mind as well. We suppress so much. We don’t always know how to open up and express ourselves and that’s where we become misunderstood. It’s not that we don’t know how to express ourselves. We’re just so used to the world saying fuck us that we’d rather just keep it to ourselves. We aren’t always angry at the world. We just have to be approached a certain way. The jig is up and the world is against us. Strong, black, and being educated in america. That’s 3 strikes already. I love being a black man but it comes with a cost. Once we do encounter a woman that actually cares and is concerned, we don’t always know how to embrace it. It’s like a fish being out of water. We deal with the same exact things that a black woman goes through. We feel like the world is against us and it’ll always be against us. Nowhere to turn, nowhere to channel our frustration, nowhere to go or run. Doing right feels like it’s pointless sometimes. Why do right by our women when they already feel like niggas ain’t shit? Why do right by a woman when they are gonna complain about it? Why do right by a woman when they downtalk your growth? Sometimes, we feel like our best isn’t even enough for our women. No matter what we do, it’s always an issue. That’s when the white towel gets thrown in.

DYI mobile stock photos

Ari howard

 Taken with Samsung Note 5.

Taken with Samsung Note 5.

Sometimes you need a captivating photo but you're outta cash and don't own camera. I've got some tips to help you out with your projects by using you cellphone. Using my cellphone has been such a life saver, with some of these photo basics I hope this helps you out..

  • Depth of field

In a nutshell, its the distance between the nearest and the furthest objects that seem sharper than surrounding area. Aperture (f/11 or f2.8) determines how much light gets in. Now since mobile phones dont have that great of a distance but when positioned close to and object you can achieve the effect. 

  •   Rule of thirds


Dividing and positioning important subjects in the image using two horizontal and vertical lines where they meet.

Clean you lens: Finger prints and lint can hugely affect the quality of your photo - make it a habit to clean.

Don't use zoom: digital zoom crops your image as you zoom in, This leads to loss in image quality.

Keep the camera steady.

Take multiple shots at different angles: Give yourself options

Don't put subject in front of light source: that darkens your subject so all you see is the outline.


This is just a handful of tidbits that can help you when you need of a photo quick and in a hurry. Hope it helps!


Ari howard


By the time he graduated high school in 2008, Smith had been diagnosed with epilepsy and his mother had lost her job, prompting him to opt out of further pursuing art school. But he continued to create, right from his living room.

The following January, Smith and Silva drew a portrait of Barack Obama and went door to door around their neighborhood selling copies. Noting the positive response, they traveled to Washington, D.C. and sold the portrait to attendants at the inaugural address. 

Smith says he is devoted to creating art that is heavily inspired by entertainment (primarily music and comedy), women and black culture. Smith says the presence of black culture in his work serves as a form of self-expression and education. Read more via his site

Young Black Detroiters Want To Resurrect A Lost Neighborhood

Ari howard

Unless you grew up in a black family with deep Detroit roots, I'm betting you've never heard of Black Bottom. It was a self-sustaining, all-black neighborhood that flourished on Detroit's eastern edge at the turn of the last century. It's largely forgotten today, replaced by a four-lane highway, but back then its mile-and-a-half main drag bustled with black-owned grocery stores selling produce from local black farmers. The soda fountain at black-owned Barthwell Drugs was always hopping with customers sipping on orange pineapple floats while their orders got filled. Billie Holiday, Langston Hughes, Sammy Davis Jr. and Jackie Robinson were guests at the Gotham Hotel, a hot spot for black film stars, blues artists and athletes who were often barred from the city's white hotels. Read more via NPR


Ari howard

 L-R: Ari, Myself, my wife Jess, and Lance at a #HashTagLunchBag event.

L-R: Ari, Myself, my wife Jess, and Lance at a #HashTagLunchBag event.

When I started Detroit Cousin as a blog the only idea that kept bouncing in my mind was "togetherness". No lie, like I just wanted to create a hub where I can find stories about the good things happening in Detroit and give it more exposure -- the bio goes a bit more into that. However, I knew that I could not and would not want to do this alone, enter Ari Howard and Lance Peterson. There was a time where it looked like I would have to live in Texas so I needed somebody that saw the vision and believed in what DC was about. Now the prevailing thought is to never do business with friends, family, or anybody close to you for that matter.

However, my wife Jessica has been my greatest parter. So I took a chance because Ari saw what I saw, he saw that change starts wherever you are. You don't have to be a perfect or have things lined up nor do you have to wait from "authoritative persons". Do what you can however you can, where ever you can and thats how change begins and ever since then Ari, myself, and Lance have pushed forward as the owners of Detroit Cousin and I haven't looked back since.

List of Black Designers and Creatives

Ari howard

Why wait to see a daily post on a black creatives -- Soo I'm making a list! Below you will find a list of black american designers. Most on the list I have highlighted before on the blog but it doesn't hurt to recap. Also, checkout Revision Path for more Black designers and creatives active now.