American music has always been, at base, African-American music. Gospel, minstrelsy, vaudeville, jazz, blues, rhythm & blues and rock n’ roll — it’s all basically Black, no matter the color of the artist who performs it. But until the 1960s, Black people did not much control their culture, much less profit from it. That all changed with the emergence of Detroit’s Motown Records in 1960, and its legendary founder, Berry Gordy. Gordy’s Motown remained the largest Black-owned business in America for decades, until Reginald Lewis bought Beatrice Foods in 1987.
VIDEO: Berry Gordy on the Tavis Smiley show talking about “the blind kid”, AKA Stevie Wonder.