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KICK Changes Name To LGBT Detroit

By |2015-05-07T09:00:00-04:00May 7th, 2015|Michigan, News|

DETROIT – What’s in a name? When Curtis Lipscomb decided to start publishing a magazine in 1994, he searched for just the right one. This led him to ask his friend Todd Smith, a professor of African American history, for his opinion.
“He simply asked, ‘What do gay folk like to do?'” recalled Lipscomb. “‘KICK, split and carry on.’ And I replied, ‘That’s it.’ The business name was inspired by the dance of the youth. In the late 70s and early 80s, KICKing and splitting in a circle of friends was the Midwest version of the East Coast voguing dance style.”
Lipscomb published Kick for several years and then began pursuing other endeavors. It was while working as development director of AIDS Partnership Michigan that Lipscomb had the idea to create a welcome center for LGBT folk within the city limits of Detroit. Slowly, he began raising funds for the endeavor and then, eventually, he decided the time was right to form his own non-profit.
“When it came time to move from the publishing company to the non-profit in 2003, I posed the question to the movement and the people chose me directly to still the name KICK,” said Lipscomb. “They said it was nationally recognized and positively associated with Detroit, and that it would add to the recognition of the work we were doing. Back in 2003, that was the good thing. So the movement said keep it — and we did.”
While still working at APM, Lipscomb continued to develop KICK – The Agency for LGBT African Americans.
“The ultimate goal was to create some kind of space where African American LGBT issues would be addressed,” Lipscomb explained. “We thought of it as a welcome center. We introduced that idea back in 2004. Then we realized that we were best as an agency because we knew that there were other entities in Detroit we could refer people to. So we thought of ourselves as a hub. It wasn’t until 2008, 2009 and 2010 that we believed we could be more than just a hub. Our first location at 36 Milwaukee St.: it became a place where people met, fellowshipped and we operated our early programs. ”
KICK moved into their first office space in 2011 and things quickly took off. As they grew, they found they had actually outgrown their name.
“There was a conversation in June of 2013 about our brand identity, and the board of directors brought that issue up,” said Lipscomb. “What fit us in 2003, that name identity no longer made sense. We kept the for-profit name and moved to non-profit and that worked at that time. But by 2013 it no longer fit because the community changed again.”
Hence, LGBT Detroit was born.
“We tested the name for a very long time,” Lipscomb said. “We got buy in from the community again. We believe it to be a perfect fit. This brand recognized who we are and where we live. This identity only further establishes what people see us as and how they’ve called us. We’re no longer that company that provides services for one type of people. That hasn’t occurred since 2011. Various types of people have gotten some type of service from us. We’ve partnered with some. We’ve supported some. So, fundamentally, that business identity did not match what we offered.”

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael has been with Pride Source since 1999 and is currently senior staff writer. He has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author for his authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," released on his own JAM Books imprint.
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