This Week on American Black Journal:

Rhythms of change: Motown Museum reflects on recording civil rights history 60 years ago

As the nation reflects on the 60th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and the Detroit Walk to Freedom, an intriguing connection exists between the powerful speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the iconic Motown Records. Sixty years ago, Motown founder Berry Gordy made a pivotal decision to immortalize Dr. King’s messages on record albums during the civil rights movement. This decision marked a momentous intersection of music and activism, providing a platform for Dr. King’s inspirational words to reach a broader audience.

The Motown Museum, dedicated to preserving and celebrating the legacy of Motown Records, recognizes the profound impact this fusion of music and social change had on shaping public discourse and fostering unity during a pivotal era in American history. Gordy’s decision to record Dr. King’s two versions of his “I Have A Dream” speech continues to resonate and shape the museum’s initiatives today. By intertwining the messages of hope, equality, and justice within the rhythms of Motown, the museum seeks to honor the visionaries who paved the way for change. 

In an exclusive interview, Cecelia Sharpe, a contributor from 90.9 WRCJ, delves into this significant link with Robin Terry, Chairwoman and CEO of the Motown Museum. Terry sheds light on Berry Gordy’s groundbreaking move to make Dr. King’s speeches available on record albums. Terry also highlights how the enduring legacy of this collaboration between Motown Records and the Civil Rights Movement continues to influence the museum’s present-day projects. 

Drey Skonie and The Klouds carry on Sylvia Moy’s Motown legacy at Masterpiece Sound Studios’ cover song contest

Masterpiece Sound Studios recently showcased the musical legacy of the late Motown songwriter and producer Sylvia Moy with its cover song contest. Drey Skonie and The Klouds were crowned first-place winners for their captivating rendition of a classic Motown hit penned by Moy, the founder of Masterpiece Sound Studios. All performers were required to cover a song written by Moy, and Skonie’s performance captured the essence of Moy’s songwriting brilliance, marking a resonant tribute to the Motown era. 

The segment also reveals exciting details about “Higher and Higher,” an upcoming television series that will immerse viewers in the life of legendary Detroit entertainer Jackie Wilson. The show, executive produced by Brenda Wilson, daughter of the iconic artist, follows Wilson’s journey from the tender age of five to his pinnacle at 40. Drey Skonie takes on the lead role of Wilson in the series, embodying the charisma and talent that defined Wilson’s later years. DFour4 Productions Owner Letitia McIntosh sits at the helm as production manager for the highly anticipated TV series. 

“American Black Journal” host Stephen Henderson has a lively conversation with the first-place winner of the Masterpiece Sound Studios’ Cover Song Contest, Drey Skonie, Cover Song Contest Judge and Founder of the Jackie Wilson Foundation Brenda Wilson, and McIntosh. They talk about their involvement in the cover song contest and how the “Higher and Higher” TV production will bring to life the captivating story of a true Detroit legend. 

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Watch American Black Journal on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on Detroit Public TV, WTVS-Channel 56.