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Jemele Hill’s “Fab 5” Detroit Thrills For Her Fellow NABJ Conventioneers

The Undefeated's columnist and 2018 NABJ Journalist of the Year touts her favorite Motown landmarks

DETROIT – Jemele Hill, chief correspondent and senior columnist for ESPN’s The Undefeated, is serving as co-chair of the National Association of Black Journalists Convention and Career Fair this week in her hometown. On Saturday, Hill will also receive the NABJ Journalist of the Year Award at the 2018 NABJ Salute to Excellence Gala.

The annual NABJ confab is the largest gathering of practicing journalists of African descent in the world. ESPN once again has a strong delegation at the convention, including SportsCenter anchors Jay Harris and Michael Eaves; SVP and Editor in Chief Kevin Merida; Digital Content Vice President Leon Carter;, Talent Negotiations senior director Meg Green; ESPN The Magazine deputy editor Otto Strong and The Undefeated’s senior entertainment writer Kelley Carter, to name a few.

In anticipation of NABJ 2018, Hill shared with Front Row her five favorite things to do in Detroit for her visiting ESPN colleagues and visiting Black journalists. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Hill laments the list is limited to five. It could have easily been 30 suggestions of great places in Detroit to eat, see and experience.)

1. Coney Island
“I know other places think they can give you the definitive Coney Island experience, but nobody does it like Detroit. The two most famous Coney Island restaurants in the area are American and Lafayette. Sample both. But be warned: Detroiters take the American versus Lafayette debate very seriously. If you’re asked which place has the best coneys, you could be making a friend or an enemy. Beyond the downtown Coney Islands, make sure to visit a coney that’s in the other parts of the city because that’s a unique experience also. As good as the coney dogs are at just about any Coney Island, the breakfast might be even better.”

2. Belle Isle
“It’s a 982-acre Island off the Detroit River, which runs through the heart of downtown. From Belle Isle, you can stare right over at Canada. Belle is a great place to cruise, walk, run, ride bikes and why Detroiters call Belle Isle ‘The Rock.’ It’s just gorgeous. When I was in high school, we used to cruise Belle Isle and … on second thought, I’ll save those stories for when the statue of limitations has expired.”

3. Mexicantown
“This is the heart of our vibrant Hispanic and Latino communities. There are numerous authentic restaurants and bakeries, and the whole area truly captures the culture that our brown brothers and sisters offer.”

4. Eastern Market
“It’s one of the largest, open-air markets in the country. There are so many food options you could go in any direction and leave extremely satisfied. If you can’t find anything good to eat at Belle Isle, you just don’t like food. A must stop is Rocky’s Historic candy shop. Thank me later.”

5. Motown Museum
“Or as we call it ‘Hitsville, USA.’ This is the original house where music icon Berry Gordy lived and recorded with some of the most legendary musicians in history, from Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, The Temptations and many more.”