Donna Givens Davidson, Orlando Bailey, “Ain’t Too Proud” star Jawan M. Jackson and Motown Museum Trustee Allen Rawls. (Podcast screenshot)

This story also appeared in Authentically Detroit

Authentically Detroit is a BridgeDetroit partner podcast that tells the stories of Detroiters’ lives through exposition and interview. 

In this episode, hosts Orlando Bailey and Donna Givens Davidson talk about the enduring legacy of Motown music. Founded by Berry Gordy Jr. in 1959, Motown Records would go on to create an unmistakable and distinct sound that is recognized all over the world. 

Jawan M. Jackson is a native Detroiter who starred in the hit Broadway musical, “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations.” He played Melvin Franklin, the group’s bass singer. 

“I think the legacy of Motown is the music they left us that is enduring through generation after generation,” said Jackson.

Allen Rawls, a trustee for the Motown Museum said, “Motown left a template for success for Black music entrepreneurs. Dr. Dre, LA Reid, Babyface, Jimmy Jam, and Terry Lewis all cite Berry as their model for success.”

Both Jackson and Rawls also took time to remember the Motown icon and co-founder of the Supremes, Mary Wilson. Rawls lived in the same neighborhood as Wilson and recalled visiting her with his friends.  

Jackson said he and Wilson became close during the production of “Ain’t Too Proud.” On opening night, Wilson told him she hadn’t dated the real Melvin Franklin but would consider dating Jackson.

 “She told me I was fine.” 

The Motown Museum recently reopened after being closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Book a tour at www.motownmuseum.org 

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Orlando Bailey is Engagement Director for BridgeDetroit. He is the former deputy director for Eastside Community Network in Detroit, is co-host of the Authentically Detroit podcast, and is the host at...

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