Detroit showed up and showed out on Saturday at the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre for the rescheduled 2020 Father’s Day concert — the theater’s first sold-out show since the pandemic began, featuring Chaka Khan, The Isley Brothers and a special tribute to all the fathers in the audience.
“All 6,000 seats were filled tonight,” said Shahida Mausi, president and CEO of The Right Productions, which manages and operates the theater formerly known as Chene Park.
The last time the audience was sold out was in 2019 for Kanye West’s Sunday Service, Mausi said.
The Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre serves as the destination spot for summer concerts in Detroit, bringing many top name artists to the city for performances. But ever since COVID-19 erupted through the state last year, forcing many recreational activities to pause, it has been a struggle to refill the seats for the rescheduled shows that were able to resume in 2021, Mausi said.
“People are still going through readjustment and reentry,” said Mausi. “Over the summer, attendance has been moving toward being more comfortable in public and with groups and I am just hopeful we can all continue to enjoy entertainment, particularly outdoors.”
Malik Mausi, executive manager of The Right Productions and Mausi’s son, said he thinks that Saturday’s sold out crowd was due to people becoming more comfortable being in large groups, but also the legendary performers who took over the stage.
“I think COVID has really opened people’s eyes to the fact that you can really be here today and gone tomorrow,” he said. “And, honestly speaking, I think people thought about that when we announced the new date for the show … it’s a possibility that this could be the last time we see them in person.”
The show, that was opened by Chaka Khan and emceed by Frankie Darcell, included many legendary hits. It was nonstop screaming and excitement from the crowd during the entire show that included the hits “Ain’t Nobody” by Chaka Khan, and “Groove With Me” by The Isley Brothers, but it was the show’s intermission that really grabbed the hearts of the audience.
“I want all the fathers in the room to stand up,” Shahida Mausi said to the crowd.
And that is when about 3,000 men stood up in the theater.
Although Father’s Day was in June, this concert was originally scheduled for last Father’s Day in 2020 as a way to honor them, Shahida Mausi said, she was still going to do just that. After the crowd applauded the fathers in attendance, Shahida Mausi turned to face her sons — Malik, Sulaiman, Rahsid and Dorain Mausi — who followed their mom onstage at the beginning of the intermission — and presented each with one bottle of Superb cologne, byits owner Blake Hare and Councilwoman Janee Ayers.
Mausi praised all of her sons for the excellent roles they each play to their children and told them how much she loved and appreciated each one of them.
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“I dearly love my sons,” she said to the Detroit Free Press. “We work hard together and I get hugs everyday at work! I am so proud of the men they are.”
Malik Mausi said his mom has always been a giver and while he was extremely surprised at the acknowledgment from his mother, what was more heart touching was her giving the fathers in the room a moment to shine.
“That’s my mom, always thinking about other people,” he said.
Next month the theater will celebrate its 25th anniversary, and Shahida Mausi said she plans to throw a big shindig to honor the milestone.
Jasmin Barmore is born and raised in the city of Detroit. She covers the city’s neighborhoods and communities using her passion as her drive to give the voiceless a voice. You can reach her at email@example.com or by sending her a message on Instagram or Twitter at @bjasminmare.