The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House, recorded February 24, 2011 at the White House, is hosted in part by President Obama and First Lady Michelle. The musical special celebrates Black History Month and the legacy of Motown, the distinctive soul-infused pop music, style and presentation that was born in Detroit and embodied by the Motown Records label.
The evening, hosted by Jamie Foxx, includes performances by Foxx, Natasha Bedingfield, Sheryl Crow, the group Gloriana, Nick Jonas, Ledisi, John Legend, Amber Riley, Smokey Robinson, Mark Salling, Seal and Jordin Sparks. The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House will premiere Tuesday March, 1 at 7 p.m. on KUED Channel 7.
The all-star tribute to the legendary Motown Sound will include stars from the Motown Records label's golden age and performances by artists of today who have been influenced by Motown and its powerful legacy. Celebrating a 50th anniversary last year, the Motown Records label was devised by music entrepreneur Berry Gordy in 1960 and launched an historic cultural shift in the racial integration of popular music, with artists such as Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and The Supremes, Smokey Robinson, Mary Wells, The Four Tops and many others.
"We're proud to bring the best of Motown into every American's home," says Paula Kerger, PBS president and CEO. "This special, together with our collection of Black History Month programming, reflects PBS's longstanding commitment to showcasing our nation's rich and diverse cultural heritage."
The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House will be the sixth program of its kind during President Barack Obama's administration. Spanning from February 2009 to the most recent broadcast in October 2010, these latest "In Performance at the White House" events have honored the musical genius of Stevie Wonder and Sir Paul McCartney; celebrated Hispanic musical heritage during Hispanic Heritage Month; marked Black History Month by featuring the music from the Civil Rights Movement; and spotlighted Broadway and the unique spirit of the American musical.
"The Motown Sound transformed a whole generation musically, and its rich legacy continues to be felt today. To celebrate these songs and the original greats of Motown at the White House in an event during Black History Month is a wonderful tribute to the music beloved by so many," says Jacquie Jones, executive director of the National Black Programming Consortium, a production partner for the project.
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