I went to the Motown Museum in Detroit on what turned out to be Juneteenth. How serendipitous. Detroit plays an important role in our country coming together. I was overwhelmed to learn what an impact a record company could have. During a time of great racial tension, Motown’s positive message and new sound gave blacks and whites a way to come together. I love that in a time of political strife they used music that was aspirational to build common ground.
They showed us concert footage of the 60’s and explained how concert halls used to be segregated. Even when they weren’t often at the start of the concert there would be whites on one side and blacks on the other. Then once the concert got going the crowd would mix, dance together and come together. It felt like a tale of musical revolution. Believe it or not Martha of Martha and the Vandellas joined our tour! How epic is that! We heard Martha sing a few songs on the documentary. She also let us know the ones she sang back up on too. She’s just as gorgeous now as she was in the 60’s.
(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave (1963)
Dancing In The Street (1964)
Along with the Vandella’s - the Supremes, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder released more than 180 No. 1 hits worldwide.
Also in 1963 Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. led more than 125,000 people down Woodward ave in Detroit for a civil rights march. This is where he first delivered the “I have a dream” speech. Which was recorded on the Gordy label of Motown records.
Abdul Fakir of the Four Tops, known as “Duke,” said in a 2009 interview “We looked at Martin Luther King and we thought, he’s doing the same thing on foot that we’re doing on the radio,” “I like to think that we were softening the blow for him a little bit.”
There are so many ways for our country to come together and in 2018 we need to. I love voting and marching but this trip made me wonder what are some ways we never even thought of? What beautiful artistic ways can help us to come together?
I love the song Say you, Say me by Lionel Richie
Say you, say me say it for always
That's the way it should be
Say you, say me say it together
When I hear this song I think
Say yes to you, Say yes to me
We are one. We are each other. When I say you, I’m saying me.
So let’s see that we are all Americans from a great country of immigrants. Let’s see ourselves in people seeking political asylum. Let’s know that we would never want to have our children taken from us. Let’s know that our families came from other countries to seek better opportunities. My family came from Norway and Ireland on the boat. I see myself in these brave people trying to make a better life for themselves. Just like I see myself in our amazing clients who are brave enough to stand in front of their friends and family and pledge their love and hope to each other in a message of peace.
With love and peace,
Suzanne, Mike, Morgan and the Wanderers