Greenwood District Studios Is Michigan’s First Black Owned Movie Studio
The abandoned Lansing Mall Cinema has become Greenwood District Studios, the first black owned movie studio in Michigan.
The project is still under construction but there is a lot of progress being made, and organizers are hoping to be completely open by the end of 2022. It's taking a long time to complete the renovations because the theater has been abandoned since closing in 2014.
Michigan has enjoyed a boom of major movie projects filming here thanks to a tax break given to studios. The problem is that Michigan only served home to part of the movie making process. Greenwood District Studios will be a location where everything to do with making a movie can be done in one spot. They explain what the difference is on their website saying;
Greenwood District Studios will be Michigan’s first Black-Owned Movie Studio with certified soundstages. What this means is industry movies can be filmed in their entirety in one location
They've done a great job of documenting the transformation on their Tik Tok account. The videos have helped gain a lot of popularity for the project, and they show just how much work is being done.
Before you think this is just another project that is all work and might never come to fruition, you should know that parts of the studio are already open.
The founder is a man named Amaru, and among many other things, he is a stand up comedian. So it only makes sense that the studios have a live performance space that is dedicated to stand up right now. The Funny is Funny comedy club is open now, and helping even more people discover Greenwood District Studios.
If the name sounds familiar, it should.
Greenwood District Studios is named after the area in Tulsa that was the center of the 1921 race massacre. The known as Black Wallstreet was completely destroyed, and that was in the Greenwood District. On their website, organizers are clear that the name of the studio is a tribute and a way to make sure that history cannot erase the tragic display of horrific racism.
Amaru has also taken to social to ask for support from black members of Hollywood with a tweet that starts, "Dear Black Celebrities."