By Jay Rich
Hip-HopVibe.com Staff Writer
It is impossible to count the many ways that Motown Records has inspired the entire culture. Many impoverished people saw Berry Gordy and were inspired to start their own businesses. Others, meanwhile, saw the music made, and became musicians, themselves.
Motown Records employed many Black people and gave a voice to the voiceless. In 1971, Motown launched their spoken word label, Black Forum. The label released many spoken word projects, starting with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s posthumous, Why I Oppose The War In Vietnam.
Forty years after the launch of Black Forum, Motown Records and the Motown Museum, based in Detroit, have announced the relaunch of the label. The first release from the label will be a reissue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Why I Oppose The Vietnam War. That project drops on February 26, as those involved with the relaunch of Black Forum released official statements.
Read the official statements below:
Ethiopia Habtemariam, President of Motown Records, said, “As we navigate our way through unprecedented times, racial and social tensions are at a high. We felt an urgent need to reactivate Black Forum in order to provide information alongside inspiration. The label provided a clear-cut reflection of who America was at the time of civil unrest in the 60s and 70s. Now, we look to extend and expound on the original principles and purpose of Black Forum.”
Motown Museum Chairwoman and CEO Robin Terry said, “We are delighted to collaborate with our partner Motown Records for the relaunch of this iconic label and the yearlong programming around Black Forum. Storytelling, education and the power of shared experience is a vital part of Motown Museum’s DNA. The rich heritage of the Black Forum label has long been an important chapter in the continuing story of Motown.” Inspired by Black Forum, Motown MIC: Spoken Word Competition, currently in its 8th year, calls on poets and orators to perform original pieces for the opportunity to be named Motown MIC Artist of the Year.
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