Business, Creativity, Events, Music, News, Small Business

Detroit is Different to honor singer Ortheia Barnes at music festival August 14


Neighborhoods aren’t just about who is there, but also who WAS there.

Before her death in 2015, Ortheia Barnes was a singer and a staple of many Detroit music events and also a woman with strong community spirit. She got her start in the 1960s and even opened for the likes of Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight. Her presence and voice is still missed among the musical circles.

She was also a motivational speaker and minister with SpiritLove Ministries International and an ambassador for Detroit.

Remembering Barnes after her death, long-time friend Karen Dumas told WXYZ “everything Detroit stands for Ortheia was about … she was like a living hug.”

Barnes will be honored on August 14 by the online publication Detroit Is Different at a music festival at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. It will raise money to fund a documentary on her life and accomplishments to be shot and produced by Detroit is Different in this fall.

“Ortheia Barnes is a beacon of light in artistry and spirituality,” says hip-hop artist Khary WAE Frazier, who has been the leading force behind the festival. He is also director of Detroit Is Different and creative director of Creative Differences Marketing.

“Ortheia Barnes is also my godmother. Before her transition in May of 2015 we planned to produce a concert together blending my hip-hop music with her brand of blues, jazz and soul. Her passing took myself and metro Detroit by surprise. Moving forward with the event I’ve decided to start an effort that will continue to lift her spirit and spread the joy of her light.”

OBMF fb Banner

The concert will have legendary Motown recording artist Joe “Pep” Harris of the Undisputed and the Next Generation Funk Brothers led by Robert Jones and Ralph Armstrong as major draws. Gospel vocalists ‘the Daughters of O’ will close the show.

There will also be video and spoken tributes to Barnes.

The day before, on August 13 from 4-6 p.m., Detroit is Different will host a free panel, ‘The Music Business Is A Business.” It will provide insight from music industry insiders about how to begin a career as an independent artist,  use your audience to create opportunities and how to make money with a music career in the digital age. It is inspired by Barnes’ sense of independent artistry and will be moderated by Frazier and feature entertainment attorneys Linda Bruton, Stephanie Hammonds and Daniel Hoops.

Robert Kennery and Ortheia Barnes-Kennerly

Robert Kennery and Ortheia Barnes-Kennerly

ARISE Detroit’s Neighborhoods Day joins the Ortheia Barnes Music Festival in celebrating the city’s neighborhoods. Frazier has been associated with Neighborhoods Day since it began 10 years ago.

As a self-described artist and entrepreneur, Frazier has participated at such festivals, including last year’s Ortheia Barnes Music Festival. He has also hosted comedy concerts, talent shows, Kwanzaa events, leadership workshops, and more.

The festival takes place at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E Warren. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door and are available online at and through official ticket distributors throughout the Detroit area.

For more information regarding the show please contact Detroit is Different at or call 313-595-9812.

About the Author

One comment on “Detroit is Different to honor singer Ortheia Barnes at music festival August 14

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *