Motown relaunches iconic Black Forum label with Dr. Martin Luther King's historic anti war speech
Berry Gordy rightfully called Motown records at the 'music of young America.' Since the label began contributing to the nation's musical soundtrack in 1959, Motown's singers, songwriters and muscians set the tune that caused the nation and the world to dance.
But the young people of America had more on their minds than the great songs of The Supremes, Smokey, Marvin or the Temps. The youth of America also had the state of their nation and the world on their minds. They were talking about the Civil Rights Movement and they were talking about the Vietnam War.
So in 1971, the same year that Marvin Gaye released the musical polemic "What's Going On," Gordy launched the Black Forum label that featured the great speeches and words of that era's most significant leaders, activists, thinkers and writers, including Stokely Carmichael, Langston Hughes, Margaret Danner and others.
Fifty years later, the label will relaunch the Black Forum label, rereleasing six historic albums, as well as the words of a new generation of thinkers and poets who are talking about what is going on now. Black Forum will relaunch on Feb. 26 with the release of Dr. King's historic "Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam" speech. Given at Riverside Church in New York, the address finds King stepping fully into the prophets role of speaking truth to power, and many believe this speech put King on the fatal path to Memphis where was assassinated exactly one year later.
The move comes as part of a collaboration with Motown Museum, in Detroit, the home of Hitsville U.S.A. — a significant cultural institution that serves as the storyteller and heritage keeper of Motown Records’ legacy for millions of fans around the world.
It is appropriate that Motown relaunch Black Forum in the year 2021 as a new generations of prophets write polemics and poems condemning the militarism, economic exploitation and racism that King railed against on April 4, 1967.