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Allee Willis: The Mumford grad co-writing your favorite songs, whether you know it or not

Allee Willis is a white Jewish woman from the westside of Detroit who has written a hit single from the soundtrack to much of black America’s life. Seriously. There is not a single black person on earth unfamiliar with Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September,” the relentlessly optimistic singalong that arrived — along with several other cuts — at the peak of the group’s 1970s chart run.


A lot of soul in this hole-in-the-wall in northwest Detroit

“Cooking is about one key thing,” Greg Beard says on a recent Tuesday in the small kitchen of Chef Greg’s Soul -N- The Wall on the northwest side near Mumford High School. The temperature in the kitchen is way past comfortable, compounded by the fact that collard greens have been simmering for hours and meatloaf and chicken are sizzling away on the stove top and deep fryer, respectively. 

“What is it, James?” he says, turning to the cook tending to the meatloaf on the stove as well as the cornbread on the flat-top.


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