“If you really fulfil the royal law, according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well.” – James 2:8
Starting in the 1960’s some of the greatest music being written and performed was coming from a small group of musicians on a label know as Tamla Records. Much of the music was written and produced by Barry Gordy Jr. In the early 60’s talent such as the Miracles, with lead singer Smokey Robinson, the Marvelettes, the Supremes, the Four Tops, and the Jackson 5 helped to make what would soon be known as Motown Records a worldwide phenomenon. In just one decade the artist and producers of Motown Records were responsible for a collective 110 top 10 Billboard hits. The world was singing the music of Hitsville U.S.A. Now, 50 some years later, multiple generations still know the wonderful music that came to us from Detroit, Michigan.
The story of Motown Records is not just a story of music. It is also a story of how music helped to change the world. By the late 60’s Motown had become one of the largest, African-American owned business in the United States. As the popularity of the music began to spread so did the impact of the Motown artist. The music helped to begin breaking down the racial barriers that existed in the United States during this time.
Barry Gordy and talent of Motown crashed through barriers of race, by uniting the youth of America through their love of energetic and soulful music. Not only did the Motown artist crossover on the radio and in the record stores, but also the popularity of Motown placed their artist on national T.V. shows such as Ed Sullivan and American Bandstand. Now the music that so many loved was seen by so many.
Today, we look back on the early history of Motown as a golden era of music. The wonderful sounds are sung and admired by so many. But, we must also look back and realize that this music also had the power to help people realize the “royal law” that the Apostle James wrote about so long ago. Motown helped to inspire a nation to love their neighbors, no matter the color of their skin.
Rev. Keith King, Online Campus Pastor