Black News, Entertainment, Style and Culture - HuffPost Black Voices
iOS app Android app More
October 6, 2015

When Silence Is Violence

While I advocate for the detection of victims of IPV in health care settings, it is even more important that each of us in this society, as neighbors, friends, parents, and siblings, become aware of this atrocity in our midst, and pledge the abandonment of bystander status when it comes to stopping violence.

Sandra Bullock Shares Concerns For Raising Black Son

Celebritiesvenice Film Festival 201370th Venice Film Festivalvenice Film Festival
Jacopo Raule via Getty Images

Officer Fired After Tasing Suspect Who Wasn't Resisting

Tim Claussen

Kanye West Thinks He Is Discriminated Against For Not Being Gay

Athena Image
Dominique Charriau via Getty Images

Women Kicked Off Train For #LaughingWhileBlack Share An Important Lesson On Racial Bias

The Real

Photos Stage A Corporate Life Where Black Women Can Be Themselves

Endia Beal
Endia Beal

Latinos Break The Mold

Latinos Break The Mold
Damon Dahlen

Meet The Woman Who Helped Queer Women Of Color Gain Visibility In The 1970s

Jean Wimberly
Jean Wimberly

New Documentary 'Am I?' Explores What It Means To Be African And American

Am I First Documentary Issa Rae
Nadia Marie

The Worst Cities For Black Americans

Athena Image
David Joyner via Getty Images

Mom Slams Textbook's Incredibly Offensive Definition Of 'Slavery' In Viral Facebook Post


Racial Biases Of Police A Focus As Thabo Sefolosha's Trial Begins

Athena Image
Craig Ruttle/AP

18 Real Things Republicans Have Said About Abortion And Planned Parenthood


Why Black Americans Are Worried About John Boehner’s Resignation

Athena Image

Bill Aimed At Curbing Racial Profiling Signed Into Law In California

Athena Image
SAUL LOEB via Getty Images

Cop Complains After 'BlackLivesMatter' Put On Coffee Cup

Athena Image
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Reclaiming The Word 'Slut' Is An Entirely Different Beast For Black Women

Athena Image
Paul Archuleta via Getty Images

T.I. Takes On Black Lives Matter Movement In Spoken Poem

Ti Black Lives Matter
TV One

Childish Gambino Blew Us Away With His Cover Of This Classic R&B Hit

Tim Mosenfelder via Getty Images

Black Lives Matter Holds Peaceful Protest At Twin Cities Marathon

Athena Image

Why This 'Suffragette' Photoshoot Needs To Be Called Out

Suffragette Carey Mulligan Meryl Streep Mary Rozzi
Mary Rozzi

Grace Lee Boggs, Legendary Activist, Dies At 100

Celebritiesfilmfestivalentertainment Eventlaff 201
Amanda Edwards via Getty Images
Global Black Voices

Global Poverty Will Hit New Low This Year, World Bank Says

Athena Image

Tupac Shakur's Emotional 1995 Letter From Prison Is Up For Sale

Artnet News
artnet News

Afrofuturist Photos Transform Senegal's Trash Into Haute Couture

Fabrice Monteiro
Fabrice Monteiro

CeCe McDonald Reflects On Life And Activism Since Her Release From Prison

Cosmo Declares The Kardashians 'America's First Family'


A Wife's Biggest Question For Her Gay Husband

Iyanla Fix My Life Pastor Gay Wife Husband Tiffany

19 Creative Racebent Halloween Costumes That Aren't Offensive


What Went Down When 4 Black Women Were Denied At A Nightclub

Uk Nightclub

Ben Carson Is The Smartest Guy In The Room. And The Weirdest.

Athena Image

23 Black Actors Who Voiced Your Favorite Cartoon Characters

Rihanna Home Movie Dreamworks

Here Is What We Know About John King, The Next U.S. Secretary Of Education

Athena Image

Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Reflects On The Origins Of The Movement

Athena Image
Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Help Support Reporting In Ferguson For The Next Year

Athena Image

Trevor Noah: America Should Elect Trump As Its 'First African President'

Trevor Noah Donald Trump
Comedy Central

9 Times Barack Obama And Arne Duncan Were White House BFFs

Athena Image
Saul Loeb/Getty Images

Tech Leaders Come Together To Solve Industry's Diversity Problem

Culture Shifting Weekend
The Huffington Post

21 Undeniably Talented Girl Groups We'll Never Forget

Athena Image
ullstein bild via Getty Images

Black Women Booted From Napa Valley Wine Train File Lawsuit

Athena Image
Lisa Renee Johnson/Facebook

The St. Louis County Police Is Obsessed With Its SWAT Team

Athena Image
MICHAEL B. THOMAS via Getty Images


    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    3. View all RSS feeds

These Offensive Halloween Costumes Are Frighteningly Ignorant

Halloween Costume
Last Night of Freedom

Wendy Williams: I Would Be Happy To See Terrence Howard Exit 'Empire'

Wendy Williams Empire

Tracy Morgan Joins Lineup For Salute To Eddie Murphy

Johnny Nunez via Getty Images

F. Gary Gray Likely To Direct 'Fast & Furious 8'

Athena Image
JB Lacroix via Getty Images

'Castle's Tamala Jones Producing Tammi Terrell Biopic

Athena Image
Gregg DeGuire via Getty Images

Rihanna Opens Up About Getting Back Together With Chris Brown In 2012

Annie Leibovitz exclusively for Vanity Fair

Toddler Gets Why We Need Planned Parenthood Better Than Some Adults

Staceyann Chin Planned Parenthood

Steph Curry Is Back And More Amazing Than Ever

Steph Curry

The First 2 Thoughts Oprah Has Each Morning

Oprah Winfrey Belief

Will Smith Announces New World Tour With DJ Jazzy Jeff

Will Smith In The Studio With Beats 1 Radio
Beats 1 Radio

CC Sabathia Checks Himself Into Alcohol Rehab Center

Athena Image
Al Bello via Getty Images

50 Cent Gives Offensive Explanation For 'Empire' Ratings Dip

Athena Image
Dimitrios Kambouris via Getty Images

Jesse Williams Dispels The 'Angry' Black Person Stereotype

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

The Most Name-Dropped Fashion Designers In Hip Hop

Fashion Hip Hop

Stephen A. Smith To KD: 'You Do Not Want To Make An Enemy Out Of Me'

Bill McCay via Getty Images

Amber Rose Delivers Impassioned Speech About The First Time She Was Slut-Shamed

Athena Image
David Livingston via Getty Images

'Selma' Director Ava DuVernay To Head Mumbai Jury

Athena Image
Michael Tran via Getty Images

How 'Trap Queen' Turned Fetty Wap Into One Of The Biggest Stars Of The Year

Athena Image
Jeff Kravitz via Getty Images

Spike Lee Named New York City Marathon Grand Marshal

Athena Image
The Times via Getty Images

This Book Is Creating A Space For Queer Black Boys In Children's Literature

Kendrick Daye

And Now 'Lethal Weapon' May Be Getting A TV Series

Athena Image

Denzel Washington On The Important Life Lesson He'll Never Forget

Denzel Washington Boys

5 Beauty Subscription Boxes Made Especially For Women Of Color

Onyx Beauty Subscription Box Onyx

OK, America, Here's A How-To Video On How To Not Murder Someone

How To Not Murder
Daniel Koren

The Festival Of Praise Fall Tour 2015 Is Coming To A City Near You

Festival Of Praise Fall Tour
Face To Face, Inc.

Mom's Viral Breastfeeding Selfie Sends A Strong Message

Jennifer Taylor
Jennifer Taylor

Janet Jackson Postpones Las Vegas Tour Date To Rest Vocal Cords

Athena Image
Alexander Tamargo via Getty Images

Tamar Braxton Brings More Than Good Vocals To New Album, 'Calling All Lovers'

Athena Image
JC Olivera via Getty Images

Anthony Anderson Hooked Amber Rose Up With A Role On 'Black-ish'

Athena Image
C Flanigan via Getty Images

'Empire' Drama: Taraji P. Henson And Terrence Howard Clash On Set

Athena Image
FOX via Getty Images

LeBron James Speaks Out After Local Child’s Accidental Drive-By Death

Athena Image
Paul Sancya/AP

Snoop Dogg Goes Off On Steelers Player Like Only Snoop Dogg Can


Soap Star's Pattern Of Forming Unhealthy Bonds Began In Preschool

Debbi Morgan Where Are They Now Oprah Where Are Th

How Olivia Pope's Closet Sometimes Gets In Kerry Washington's Way

Athena Image
Josiah Kamau via Getty Images

Watch Don Lemon Ask Donald Trump If He's Homophobic And Racist

Cnn Don Lemon

The Real Garfunkel Covers The Weeknd With Black Simon & Garfunkel


Satin Pillowcases Are The Beauty Trick You Should Try Right Now

Serena Williams' Missed Shot At Tennis History Broke Her Heart

Athena Image

Cam Newton Gives Reporter Hilarious Death Stare For The Ages

Cam Newton


The 'Quiet Storm' singer recently spoke with about his latest projects 'Time Flies When You're Having Fun' and 'Now and Then' (which includes old and new songs), his Motown Years, coping with the loss of famous friends, and why the Apollo Theater is near and dear to his heart.

Congrats on your NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Album for one of your latest releases, 'Now and Then.'

Smokey Robinson: I'm very excited about that. I have two new CDs out. One is called 'Time Flies When You're Having Fun' and the other one is called 'Now and Then.' 'Now and Then' is made up of six songs from 'Time Flies' and six of my vintage songs that I recorded at some of my live concerts last year -- like 'Ooh Baby Baby,' 'Tears of a Clown' and 'Tracks of My Tears.'

You've written more than 1,000 songs. Are there any songs that you've written that are extremely special to you?

SR: They're like my children. I give them all the same effort. Some of them are just more accepted than others (laughs). When I enter the studio, the first thing I want to start with is the song. When I sit down to write a song, I'm trying to write a song that, if I had written it 50 years before, it would've meant something. And today it's going to mean something -- and 50 years from now it's going to mean something. I can't tell you what my favorite song is. I can tell you what my favorite album is.

My favorite album of all time is 'What's Going On' by Marvin Gaye. Marvin Gaye was my brother. I miss Marvin so much. I would go to his house when he was writing 'What's Going On,' and he would tell me, "Smoke, God is writing this album, man." He said, "I'm just sitting here at the piano. I'm just a catalyst for God, because God is writing this." And when you listen to the album, it's prophecy. It's more poignant today than when it first came out.

The Motown years were a special time. I can't think of any other record label in history that has produced or served as a platform not only for some of the greatest songs in music, but also the greatest artists. From start to finish, Motown had the formula for producing hits. Do you think the music industry will ever see anything close to it again?

SR: Motown, as far as I'm concerned, is a once-in-a-lifetime musical event. There had been nothing like Motown prior to Motown. I doubt seriously that there will ever be another Motown. Berry Gordy is my best friend, and we talk all the time. We [recently] talked about the fact that on the very first day of Motown, there were five people there, and he sat us down and said, "We are not going to make just black music. We are going to make music for the world. Music that the world can enjoy and everybody can relate to." And that's what we set out to do. Motown grew into something beyond any of our wildest imaginations.

What has it been like working with consummate artists such as Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Rick James?

SR: It's like if you made gumbo and every ingredient that you put in there you loved. Well, see that's the way it was for me. Those guys are my brothers, and they're still my brothers, even those who are gone. In my heart, they're my brothers.

Motown was unique. We did family stuff together. We did everything together. The original Hitsville building where we recorded, it was not only a place that you worked. Everybody hung there. There is a Motown family that still exists. Those of us who are alive are still in that family. And we still have that same relationship. Some of us don't see each other for months or years at a time, but when we see each other, it's like we just saw each other yesterday.

Berry has this saying, "Motown people cannot NOT love each other." Because we do. Under any circumstance we love each other. We're always there for each other. It's just an amazing thing. It's indescribable to be with those guys. It's like being with my brothers.

Your tribute to Michael at his memorial in 2009 was touching.

SR: I've had three deaths in my life and now a fourth one with Teena Marie. Those deaths were sudden impacts –- Marvin Gaye; Ron White, who I grew up with and who was in the Miracles with me; Michael Jackson; and now Teena. Those sudden-impact deaths are a tough bullet to bite.

Michael was my little brother. I regret the fact that I didn't get the chance to spend time with him in his later years like I used to. Fame has different levels. Michael got to the absolute optimum of fame. He never really had a normal life. When Michael was a little boy, he was the man. And when he was the man, he was a kid because he missed his childhood. He got to the point where he couldn't do anything without being mobbed. I really felt bad that I didn't get a chance to spend some type of time with him to normalize his life and let him know, "Hey, man, you're a person. First and foremost, you're a human being and you have people who love you just because you're you, and not because you're Michael Jackson." I think he needed that.

When the film 'Dreamgirls' came out in 2006, there was a great deal of speculation that the story was based on Motown.

SR: The original play was about three girls from Chicago. It had nothing to do with a record company. Jennifer Holliday, who is a wonderful friend of mine, was the lead in that. She was absolutely awesome, and it was a great play. Then, the guys who did the movie turned it around and tried to make it a pseudo Motown and tried to make my best friend, Berry, seem like he was a gangster. So, I highly protested that. The guys who wrote 'Dreamgirls' probably knew nothing about Motown. I just don't appreciate anybody trying to paint that image of Motown. But they apologized, and I accepted their apology. And there it is.

The Museum of the City of New York recently opened the exhibit 'Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment.' What are some of your fondest Apollo memories?

SR: I love the Apollo; the Apollo is tradition. The Apollo is one of my favorite places in life. I grew up at the Apollo Theater. It's near and dear to my heart.

Tagged as: Apollo, Detroit, Dreamgirls, harlem, marvin gaye, MarvinGaye, MichaelJackson, Motown, MotownRecords, music, new york, NewYork, Rick James, RickJames, SmokeyRobinson, Teena Marie, TeenaMarie, theater
Email This

Comments: (24)

Add a comment

Page 1 of 3
More on Black Voices

Follow Us

Most Commented Articles

Daily Drama

The Best Clips From TV's Hottest Shows

More Daily Drama >>



The Urban Daily

Around the Web