Left Lansing Mall Cinema to become Michigan’s first Black-owned film studio

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The former Lansing Mall Cinema has been abandoned since 2014. - SCREENGRAB / GOOGLE MAPS

  • Screengrab / Google Maps
  • The former Lansing Mall Cinema has been abandoned since 2014.

A former cinema in Lansing is set to become what is billed as Michigan’s first black-owned film studio.

Left since 2014, Lansing Mall Cinema at 921 Mall Drive W. is under construction to become Greenwood District Studios, MLive reports. The name comes from Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood District, also known as “Black Wall Street,” which was burned down by white residents 100 years ago.

The project was conceived by stand-up comedian and director Amaru, a 47-year-old native of Kalamazoo who worked in Los Angeles.

“Once you’re in the industry, you start to get tired of waiting,” Amaru said MLive of his time making connections in LA “Waiting for people to follow is not what I like to do.”

The 27,000-square-foot space will house video and audio production facilities as well as the Comedy Club Funny is Funny, which already hosts open microphone nights on Tuesdays. Construction is expected to be fully completed by the end of 2022.

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