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White Portfolio

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S: An Evening With Berry Gordy Saturday, November 17, 2012

1: Tonight is one of celebration... celebration for the sweet, sweet sound of the word yes. For I have wanted to honor and feature Mr. Gordy for almost twelve years. -Julieanna Richardson Founder and Executive Director The HistoryMakers

3: Since 1999, The HistoryMakers has been recording African American video oral histories to refashion a more inclusive record of American history and to educate and enlighten millions worldwide.

5: We listened to The HistoryMakers digital archive and Mr. Gordy provided important context and corrections to the following quote: "See, Vee-Jay and Chess were already rolling. They just didn't go to the extent that he did in terms of artist development. Gordy had that down. If Leonard had done that, the Dells would have been you know, right up there. Etta James would have been all the way up there. But Chicago and the other cities didn't have that mass-merchandising concept that Berry Gordy was able to swing." -Richard Pegue The HistoryMakers Digital Archive

8: I want to congratulate and thank Berry Gordy for contributing to American music through his music, songwriting and producing. -Quincy Jones

11: Without your contribution to music & the music industry, there would be no Smokey, no Stevie, no Mike. With that said, understand my gratitude for your talent, your care & your vision. Understand my gratitude because without you there would be no me. -Ne-Yo

20: I am proud of the founder he was and the brother and the man and brother he is even now. -Maya Angelou

25: He is our gift from God, and may he continue to walk in God's favor and grace. -Martha Reeves

28: We thank you for your gift of musical genius and for introducing the world to phenomena known as “The Motown Sound”. -Clarence Avant

30: I am especially happy to bring to you the story of an icon, the man whose music is in our heads... the legacy of Motown. -Gwen Ifill

32: "Berry's Boogie Woogie", but I was seven years old! -Berry Gordy

35: To be loved, to be loved! Oh, what a feeling, To be loved!

36: The day that the Miracles and I went to audition for Jackie Wilson's managers, you didn't have to be there. You were there to turn in some songs for Jackie. And we didn't have to be there on the day when you were gonna turn in those new songs. But we were. And it's a God send. And I am so happy about that. I love you so much. -Smokey Robinson

37: I became an independent producer for Smokey and a few other people. And I would later start Motown. Smokey would be my first artist. And the rest is history. -Berry Gordy

38: I can say, looking at you, Berry Gordy, that you really transformed my life. I thank you for that. And so tonight I wanna sing something from the pen of Berry Gordy. -Valerie Simpson

40: I got the idea that I could start an assembly line for singers and artists and bring 'em in, a kid off the street, unknown, and put them through a process, and they come out a star. And we actually did that. -Berry Gordy

41: You not only were an American icon, one that changed the social and cultural history of America, but your impact was worldwide. -Marty Bandier

42: No other record executive took care of his artists, cared about his artists, trained his artists the way Berry did. Berry is one of the greatest American entrepreneurs that have ever lived. -Edgar Bronfman, Jr.

43: I would hope that in his lifetime and in the lifetime too of this civilization as we know it, that he will get his just due as someone who did an incredible thing. -Stevie Wonder

44: The other thing that I think he should get credit for, frankly, is that Motown was a great place to work if you were a woman. He was way ahead of his time, putting us in positions of authority. -Suzanne de Passe

45: Thank you, Mr. Gordy for the Jackson Five. -Janelle Monáe

46: Colonel Parker, he discovered Elvis Presley. They say he's a genius. Brian Epstein discovered the Beatles. They say he's a genius. Berry Gordy discovered Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson Five, Michael Jackson, Gladys Knight. I mean that's ridiculous. Don't you think? -Danny Backwell

47: I never tire of the sound he pioneered. A uniquely American sound, rooted in a time and place, but still internally relevant, a common language that speaks straight to the heart. -President Bill Clinton

48: I made the appeal for Dr. King's payroll. You gave it to us that day, and you helped to sustain us. We thank you for that. -Rev. Jesse Jackson

49: They said it was the music for "Young America". But it became the music for the whole world. Congratulations, Berry, and if there ever was a HistoryMaker, then you are a real HistoryMaker. -Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff

50: Father, father. We don't need to escalate. You see, war is not the answer For only love can conquer hate. You know we've got to find a way To bring some lovin' here today. -KEM singing "What's Going On"

51: Marvin was one of those people who was a genius, and he was a divided soul. He had so many things going on inside of him, and some of them were very serious and meaningful. And some of his songs were just incredible. -Berry Gordy

52: I'm not going to bring Motown to Broadway. I'm going to bring Broadway to Motown. -Berry Gordy

53: Motown was more than a “Sound” – it was Movement. A world-wide movement that forever shifted the way we saw each other and ourselves. Berry Gordy created a doorway that allowed African-Americans to shine and to lead in all aspects of life — not just in music. He was the dreamer and Motown was the dream. His dream made so many other dreams come true! For that, he more than deserves this honor. I don't know that I would have become the person that I am today if it was not for his belief in and love for me. He was and always will be an inspiration to me. I love you, “Black”. -Diana Ross

57: "I remember my mother telling me that nothing you learn is ever wasted so I could say my ABC's backwards." Berry Gordy goes on to tell this story, "And the police stopped me, and they said, “Can you say your ABC's?" And so I said, “Frontwards or backwards?" So one of the officers said, “Backwards, wise guy.” And so I rattled them off, and they let me go. So I would like to say to all of you that if you're in trouble, it would never hurt to know “Z-Y-X-W-V-U-T-S-R-Q-P-O-N-M-L-K-J-I-H-G-F-E-D-C-B-A!" -Berry Gordy

68: Berry Gordy HistoryMaker Saturday, November 17,2012 The HistoryMakers award, created by renowned artist Preston Jackson, depicts a female figure with a determined stance, facing the front of a ship. She is the sail, guiding the ship through deep waters. The woman is holding forth with the book of her life. She tells her story for all to see in the best of the griot tradition. Armed with the tools of her trade, the woman will forge her own destiny. Preston Jackson is a professor of sculpture at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, the head of the figurative area and has served as Chair of the Sculpture Department. In 1998, Preston Jackson was chosen a Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, the highest honor given to individuals in the state.

69: Mr. Gordy: You and your contributions will remain in our hearts and souls forever!

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