*On Monday, February 3, 2014, a special exhibit premiere for Motown: The Truth is a Hit opened at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at 515 Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem, New York.
The acclaimed exhibit which is Schomburg Center’s first exhibition of 2014 chronicles Motown The Musical creator and legendary Motown record label founder Berry Gordy and the Motown institution as one of the most important record labels in American music history.
The multi-showcase exhibition features items that highlight Motown’s incomparable founder and the institution’s most matchless musical acts. The presentation which was in the Langston Hughes Auditorium featured a special performance by the cast of the smash Broadway hit Motown The Musical.
“What a great moment to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement by kicking off our 2014 exhibition season with The Truth is a Hit,” says Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Director of the Schomburg Center. “It is impossible to tell the story of that era without the soundtrack of Motown. As the country’s foremost repository of Black culture — from books and art to photographs and, of course, music. We look forward to inviting patrons of all ages to learn more about the music that helped make the movement.”
The Truth is a Hit explores Motown’s early start as Tamla Records in 1959 Detroit through pivotal times in both musical and American history. From the Great Migration of Blacks from the southern states to the industrial cities of the north and west, to the label’s involvement with the Civil Rights Movement, to the protest songs of the Vietnam War, the “Motown Sound” provided lasting, soulful narratives for generations of Black Americans throughout the country and served as a lasting influence for future musicians of all races and genres.
The Truth is a Hit features video and audio clips, Motown recordings, artifacts from Motown’s popular artists courtesy of the Motown Museum, the Schomburg Center and other private collections. Some of the items on display include: gowns and artifacts of Motown’s popular artists; the original release of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech recording by the Motown record label; video clips of Gordy speaking about Motown and its history as well as its legacy today; First Motortown Revue at the famed Apollo Theatre; and pieces from Gordy’s private collection of Chris Clark canvases celebrating iconic Motown artists
“Motown Museum is both pleased and honored to co-curate this exhibit with the Schomburg Center. Both institutions represent so much as custodians of important achievements in African-American history. We are excited with the opportunity to broaden the narrative of the Motown story and place it in the context of the overall the experiences and events that shapes our culture – yesterday, today, and forever,” says Allen Rawls and Robin Terry of the Motown Museum.
Exhibition-related programs at the Schomburg include a Theater Talk panel discussion with the cast of Motown the Musical on February 24, 2014 and a conversation about Motown’s impact and legacy in the world of fashion, entitled, “Motown + Fashion” on April 17, 2014. Further event details can be found on the Schomburg Center’s website at http://www.schomburgcenter.org.
Presented by Northern Trust, the exhibition is produced in partnership with the Motown Museum, the Schomburg Center, and Motown The Musical and will be on display from to July 26, 2014 at the Schomburg Center.
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a research unit of The New York Public Library, is generally recognized as one of the leading institutions of its kind in the world. For over 80 years the Center has collected, preserved, and provided access to materials documenting black life, and promoted the study and interpretation of the history and culture of peoples of African descent. Educational and Cultural Programs at the Schomburg Center complement its research services and interpret its collections. Seminars, forums, workshops, staged readings, film screenings, performing arts programs, and special events are presented year-round. More information about Schomburg’s collections and programs can be found at www.schomburgcenter.org.
New York Public Library
The New York Public Library was created in 1895 with the consolidation of the private libraries of John Jacob Astor and James Lenox with the Samuel Jones Tilden Trust. The Library provides free and open access to its physical and electronic collections and information, as well as to its services. Its renowned research collections are located in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street; The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem; and the Science, Industry and Business Library at 34th Street and Madison Avenue. Eighty-seven branch libraries provide access to circulating collections and a wide range of other services in neighborhoods throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Research and circulating collections combined total more than 50 million items. In addition, each year the Library presents thousands of exhibitions and public programs, which include classes in technology, literacy, and English for speakers of other languages. All in all The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at visit www.nypl.org.
Motown Museum tells the story of how a man’s vision turned into one of the largest, most successful record companies of all time and how the music — the Motown Sound — captured the hearts of young people, not only in America, but across the globe. Founded by Esther Gordy Edwards in 1985, the Museum is one of Southeast Michigan’s most popular tourist destinations. Visitors come from across America and throughout the world to stand in Studio A, where their favorite artists and groups recorded much-loved music, and to view the restored upper flat where Berry Gordy lived with his young family during the company’s earliest days. Home to an extensive array of Motown artifacts, photographs and other memorabilia, the Museum’s mission, is to preserve the legacy of Motown Record Company and to educate and motivate people, especially youth through exhibitions and programs that promote the values of vision, creativity, entrepreneurship and build awareness of the global impact of Motown and its artistic contributions to entertainment. For more information, visit www.motownmuseum.org.
About Motown The Musical
Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, Motown The Musical is the real story of the one-of-a-kind sound that hit the airwaves in 1959 and changed our culture forever. Motown The Musical, featuring music and lyrics from the legendary Motown catalogue and a book by Berry Gordy, began performances March 11, 2013 at The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (205 West 46th Street), and opened April 14, 2013. It began as one man’s story… became everyone’s music…and is now Broadway’s musical. Motown The Musical is the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and so many more. The hit Broadway musical featuring classic songs such as “My Girl” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” tells the story behind the hits as Diana, Smokey, Berry and the whole Motown family fight against the odds to create the soundtrack that changed America. Motown shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat. Now, experience it live on Broadway in the record-breaking smash hit Motown The Musical! For more information, visit www.MotownTheMusical.com
Northern Trust Corporation (Nasdaq: NTRS) is a leading provider of investment management, asset and fund administration, banking solutions and fiduciary services for corporations, institutions and affluent individuals worldwide. Northern Trust, a financial holding company based in Chicago, has offices in 18 U.S. states and 18 international locations in North America, Europe, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. As of September 30, 2013, Northern Trust had assets under custody of US$5.2 trillion, and assets under investment management of US$846.2 billion. For more than 120 years, Northern Trust has earned distinction as an industry leader in combining exceptional service and expertise with innovative products and technology. For more information, visit www.northerntrust.com or follow us on Twitter @NorthernTrust.
New York based award-winning journalist Audrey J. Bernard covers entertainment, book reviews, fashion & beauty, film, lifestyles, theater and travel for the Electronic Urban Report and other outlets. Contact her via: [email protected]