I was honored recently to work as publicist for the HistoryMakers Tribute to Berry Gordy recently at Art Institute of Chicago.
The HistoryMakers welcomed and paid tribute to music icon Berry Gordy, Jr., founder of Motown Records, during An Evening with Berry Gordy on Saturday, November 17, 2012. Award-winning journalist Gwen Ifill conducted the one-on-one interview that was personal, humorous, candid and insightful. The interview was taped before a live audience and will air on PBS-TV in February 2013 during Black History Month.
Ifill’s interview led the audience through Gordy’s celebrated life as the founder of Motown Records, once the most successful African American-owned enterprise in the United States.
Some of Motown’s most recognizable performers, producers, and colleagues were in attendance to support Gordy during this historic interview. R&B songwriter, producer, and singer Valerie Simpson of Ashford & Simpson fame took
the stage to play and perform one of Gordy’s first hits written for Jackie Wilson. Simpson was later joined in a duet with popular singer Kem. Also taking the stage, Janelle Monae, popular new artist, performed a Jackson Five hit – ABC
– written by Gordy. Suzanne dePasse, former president of Motown Productions who worked closely with Gordy, provided a glimpse into the unique relationship they have shared for decades. Attendees were also treated to a short scene from the
upcoming Broadway production of Motown: the Musical, performed by Valisia Lekae as Diana Ross and Brandon Victor
Dixon as Berry Gordy. The musical is slated to open on Broadway in April 2013.
Please be on the look out for the special which will air on PBS in February during Black History Month.