June 7, 2010

Happy Cream

Canon EOS 7D | Canon 35mm f/1.4L | Ambient Light
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Al Tolbert is the owner of Happy Cream at 128 Monroe St. in downtown Detroit.  I came across the shop one Sunday when I had a taste for some ice cream and Happy Cream was the only place open in the whole of downtown Detroit. 

That was months ago. I only recently took the opportunity to learn more about the story of Happy Cream's owner Al Tolbert.

The first thing you notice about Mr. Tolbert is he radiates guileless goodness. I think most animals - including human beings -  have an evolved ability to sense the nature of other animals. That's why when look at the photo of the guy wanted for armed robbery and kidnapping you reflexively think to yourself, "he did it, and if he didn't do it, he did something."

People like Mr. Tolbert, however, evoke the exact opposite response. When you talk to him, you are immediately overcome with a sense of his sincere goodness. And the goodness doesn't stop with him.

His daughter Cherry is an indubitable extension of his goodness. Cherry is a high school senior at Cranbrook Kingwood School in Bloomfield Hills - a suburb of Detroit where, according to 2000 U.S. Census data, the median household income exceeds $200,000 and 49 percent of homes have a value of over $1,000,000 (Mind you, that's in Midwest not coastal dollars. $1,000,000 and $200,000 means a lot more here than it does in New York City).

She also introduced Michelle Obama  during her recent visit to Detroit's Wayne State University. And Cherry apparently left an impression on Mrs. Obama.

After Mrs. Obama's appearance in Detroit, she called Cherry at home. She told her to do her first year at Michigan State University... and then do her second year as an intern at the White House.

A cynic may have read the first couple lines of this article and took me to be a person too easily convinced.  Sure, a person may SEEM like good people - but politicians cynically affect goodness all the time.

In response, I say this: A man can fake a lot of things, but you can't fake raising a daughter who earns the interest of the First Lady of the United States.

And bad people don't name their businesses Happy Cream.

Speaking of goodness, righteousness, and happiness and such; I am sincerely happy to bring this story to my modest audience. Please pass it along and visit Happy Cream if you are in Detroit.


Minni said...

I really like this. Great lighting and color.

The People of Detroit said...

Thank you Minni. I made sure to order Blue Moon so that it all "coordinated" :)

The People of Detroit said...

p.s. It looks a lil choopy on blogger for some reason.. check it out on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/noahstephens/4681317979/

Maegan said...

THIS WAS THE PLACE WITH THE "OLD WORLD SANDWICHES" I TOLD YOU ABOUT! or, at least, that's what i heard from someone else.

i wanna come back to the D. damnit.

well, i have a place now at least!! so that means i have a couch for you to stay on in brooklyn when you come visit! 3 blocks from the G and 8-10 from the A&C. nyc misses you too!

Maegan said...

ps: maybe i should say something about the photo, lol.

his eyes get me. like... right to me. it's almost hard to look anywhere else which is great! but sucks because there's so much awesome stuff to see...

maybe a cherry ice cream would have been better :P i like the cherry syrup and the cherry pens... the red could have made a nice leading line thru the rest of the frame... the things we need to discuss about the eye traveling around the image!

i love the out of focus foreground... nice added touch. with some simple retouching, you can make it slightly more poignant. i feel like they get overlooked, which is unfortunate, because they are a nice added element that you put there for a specific reason.

again, come visit, bring your laptop, we will learn together! also, get your ass online so i can show you some of the crazy retouching i did last night lol

The People of Detroit said...

Maeg-Mizzle! How you doing sis.

I've been so busy and sleep deprived since starting this project. I edited this one at like 5:30 this morning.

I can't talk too much right now, but you know I love to talk photo theory! Imma try to get online later, young lady.

As always, thank you for your constructive, ethusiastic feedback.

And I can't wait to get back to NYC!

Talk to you later.

Maegan said...

dude tell me about it! i just had a terrible awful miserable migraine because i was retouching for like, 4 hours straight, didn't stop looking at the screen, and eventually realized i hadn't eaten in 8 hours. aaaaand then it all went down hill from there. had to eat something small real quick and then take an hour nap in order to get my brain to chill the fuck out.

time to sleep though! didn't see you online but hopefully soon. shoot for nike tomorrow at pier59! (check it out - one of the most expensive studios in manhattan). still waiting to hear about that xerox ad job w chris buck. sigh.


Baby Nubbins said...

Happy Cream rocks! the Banana-Pudding ice cream is the absolute best - and I never even knew I liked bananas until now! In fact... I think I'm going to run over there after work and get a scoop for my trip home!

Styln said...

Great photo! I goddaget Happy Creamed real soon.

Donne' Elbert Mills said...

OK, I'm a year late...better late tha never, no?

Wonderful photo...wonderful story. Your touch on both...exquisite. I will be getting some Happy Cream when I come to Detroit.