DETROIT – As we celebrate Black History Month, we stopped by a little house on West Grand Boulevard.
It’s the home of Berry Gordy’s Motown Records, now the Motown Museum started and preserved by Esther Gordy Edwards. Motown broke racial barriers like no other record label and today the museum is paving a way for the next generation of artists.
“In 2021, Motown to me is all about inspiration,” said museum CEO Robin Terry.
It’s the music that not only inspires but has transcended time, created right inside of Studio A. The Motown Museum keeps the stories of what happened there alive, spearheaded by Robin Terry, the great niece of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy.
“My uncle, he’s proud of the work I do,” said Terry. “He’s proud of, you know, me.”
Terrry and her team at the museum have expanded on Motown’s story. More than just a museum, today the Motown Museum gives young talent a chance to be heard through programs like Amplify.
“So Amplify is an amazing platform for emerging artists,” Terry explained. “It was only natural for us at Motowm Museum that that’s our mission to create these platforms for emerging talent to not only be cultivated but to shine.”
Now in its third year, the singing competition puts the spotlight on the next big voices out of Detroit. Brittney Hayden was the 2020 winner.
“Ohhhhh! I was over the moon!” said Hayden. “It’s only up from here. It’s only up! Motown is a major push. It’s a major. It’s so major in Detroit to have that machine on your ... connected to your name. That’s something big in itself.”
Also as big, the $2,500 cash prize and studio session to record new music and future performances with the museum.
“Our cornerstones are talent cultivation and entrepreneurial cultivation,” said Terry. “We want to create more entrepreneurs in the world of color particularly and we want to cultivate more talent in this community.”
Other programs furthering that effort include Motown Mic, a spoken word competition, a summer songwriting workshop called The Lyric Project and two summer camps for kids called Spark and Ignite.
“We work with young children who are aspiring artists but we help them to understand the value and the level of empowerment that comes from ownership,” said Terry.
“I feel very proud, very honored and very privileged to have been invited and accepted as a singer, a vocalist at Motown records,” said The Velvelettes singer, Cal Street.
Street supports the work that Motown continues to do today.
“Over the years we have seen it grow,” said Street. “We have seen it command the respect and notoriety that it has today.”
Now 60 years later, Hitsville continues to grow and expand.
“The expansion -- you know I get excited about that because to me it’s everything that people love about what we do today on steroids,” said Terry.
An even greater stage to tell Motown’s Black History story every single day.
“I believe in 365 days of Black history,” she added. “Oh you’re gonna make me cry ... I pray that my grandmother would be extremely proud not only of my work but the team that we have here and the work that we do to keep the story of Motown alive. We have honored that.”
Applications and registration for the different programs is done online.
For more information, please visit: www.motownmuseum.org/program