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Detroit native Michael R. Jackson did the city of Detroit proud as he won two Tony Awards at the 75th annual Tony Awards.  Jackson, who is a 1999 graduate of Cass Technical High School, won two awards for his musical, “A Strange Loop.” The musical won “best musical” and “best book”. In a top-of-the-line theater award race, “A Strange Loop” won over “MJ” and “Paradise Square”. During his award speech, Jackson said, “I just wanted to create a little bit of a life raft for myself as a Black gay man to get through the day.”  “…There’s so much I want to say. I’m really speechless.” Producer Barbara Whitman expressed her gratitude for Jackson’s words, “his music, his soul.”

Prior to Sunday’s show, Jackson’s “A Strange Loop” had the most nominations this season. The musical was nominated for eleven awards, including best original score, best musical, and best book. Unfortunately, “A Strange Loop” lost out to “Six: The Musical” for best original score.

Jackson, 41, who won the Pulitzer Prize only once for “A Strange Loop,” said representation matters, but quality work is equally important. In his speech, he encouraged other artists to strive for excellence no matter what. Jackson said, “We talk a lot about representation. I’m all about representation but let’s make sure we are staying on our grind. That we are doing the best work we can do…Never settle for anything less than the best you can do. Never settle. Just do your best. That’s my message to every person in this room, every artist out there. Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Jackson was one of seven Black playwrights featured on Broadway this season. Detroit help us congratulate one of our own on such an wonderful accomplishments.