Music Knows No Color

Leslie Espinosa, Reporter

A new assembly line was stirring up in Detroit, Michigan in 1959. This one, however, involved people becoming stars. Motown was the new company, and it released some of the best African-American artists known throughout musical history.

Motown, which was considered the “crossover” in music, was a mixture of gospel, jazz, and street corner symphony. People of every race in America were listening to this music. Oxnard High School music teacher Mr. Fundi Legohn said, “Even though [Motown artists] were mainly black singers, the messages in the music applied to everyone.”

OHS English teacher Mrs. Judith Lee described the lyrics of Motown songs as “awesome.” She said, “They’re beautiful, they’re fun, they make you feel good.”

Motown was founded by Berry Gordy in 1959 in hopes of breaking down racial barriers and opening the doors of music to more black artists. Gordy took the extra step to get his artists on the top pop chart and worked hard to fill the lives of people with quality music.

Mr. Legohn said, “Even though we came out of the 60s with civil rights, Motown was part of the Civil Rights movement.” Soul artist Marvin Gaye’s album “What’s Going On” featured songs about issues like racism, poverty and war.

Oxnard resident Devon Hinderson grew up listening to some of these popular Motown artists such as, “Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, [and] Smokey Robinson.”

The record company had achieved its goal: it brought people together. Motown Museum stated that “Motown was the first African-American-owned label to reach widespread national acclaim.”

Music had the power to break racial barriers in a time when it was needed the most. Motown brought everyone together, giving its fans the desire to forget about racial differences and pave the way for harmony.
People who listened to Motown in the past want others to enjoy the music they did as well. Mr. Legohn said, “Listen to Motown. It’ll fill your spirit with a positive vibe. Enjoy.”