Thursday, February 17, 2022

Inkster dedicates sign to 80s ‘Funkateers’ group

Three members of the 80s Funkateers group were on hand
for the dedication of an Inkster city sign honoring their achievements.
A raging blizzard and freezing temperatures didn't impact the warm welcome received by The  Funkateers in Inkster earlier this month.

The official sign welcoming motorists to the community now includes the designation as Home of the Funkateers which members of the 80s dance group helped dedicate during the snowstorm two weeks ago.

Three members of the original dance group, Michael Kelly, Ed Miller and Tony Warren were on hand at the official dedication of the sign. The Funkateers are noted for changing the landscape of dance in the 1980s from their first appearance at an Inkster High School talent show.

After the talent show, the group was immediately booked to perform their unique dance style at a hall in Detroit and collected their first paycheck for their dancing routines.

“It was so amazing that we made $500 at 19 years of age. And he (the booking agent) said he wanted to manage us, so that started the ascent right there,” Kelly said. The group subsequently made multiple appearances on Detroit television and on other dance shows and developed a large fan base.

“It was beautiful to have a dance that we made up, and it was the same dance as our group name,” said Miller. “The Funkateer was just a different dance, leg movements, all this stuff like that.”

“It was kind of like a culture that evolved right here from Inkster,” said Warren.

One original member of the group, De'Amon “Cricket” Ellerson, has died and two others, Tony Lacey and Jeffery Healey were unavailable for the official dedication of the sign.

“We were always told we were ahead of our time,” Warren said. “We brought a unique style, and we paved a lane that wasn't there before we got there.”

The three said they wanted to express their gratitude to Inkster officials for adding them to the city welcoming sign, particularly Mayor Patrick Wimberley for leading the effort to recognize them.

“It feels so good. I can't even describe it in words, to just be immortalized. We're so honored, so humbled, so unbelievably blessed,” Kelly said.