The White House has announced it will be hosting a concert to honor Motown records. The concert is part of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama’s celebration of Black History Month.
I’m not going to lie. Days like this make me love that our president is black.
On February 24, stars including Jamie Foxx, John Legend, R&B singer Ledisi, Seal, “Glee” stars Amber Riley and Mark Salling will spend the evening recognizing the 50-year legacy of the record label. Motown was executive Berry Gordy’s famed venture into producing a new sound that would come to define the 1960s and beyond.
Started as an independent label, Motown was the first African-American owned record label. The name Motown was Gordy’s way of paying homage to Detroit, America’s motor city. Though it was not the first label to feature primarily Black artists, the label did give us some of our most prized recording artists including Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Mary Wells, Eddie Kendricks, Stephanie Mills, Erykah Badu, Teena Marie, Rick James, and Tammi Terrell just to name a few.
The Obama’s choice of cultural events has brought a new life to the 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. From the First Lady’s Open Mic Night to their (dare we say it?) promotion of this year’s Best New Artist, jazz darling Esperanza Spalding. This time last year, Barack and Michelle sat transfixed listening to Spalding’s cover of Lauryn Hill’s “Tell Him.” We knew then like they did that we were listening to a woman whose career had only just begun. With The Recording Academy co-signing with this year’s Grammy award, we’d say the First Couple’s track record on the arts is pretty stellar.
The Motown tribute will be held in the East Room of the White House next week Thursday and broadcasted March 1 on PBS.
With the lineup for the Motown tribute still in the works, who do you think should perform at the White House next?