PHILAPELPHIA – A star-studded gala took place last night in Philadelphia to honor Motown Records founder Berry Gordy. The legendary record producer and songwriter is recipient of the 2013 Marian Anderson Award, which pays homage to critically acclaimed artists who have made a significant impact. Tuesday night’s gala dinner and award presentation at the Kimmel Center was hosted by comedian-actor Chris Tucker. It featured performances by Boyz II Men, Kool and the Gang as well as Tony Award nominee Brandon Victor Dixon, who stars as Gordy in “Motown The Musical.”
R&B icon Smokey Robinson presented a tribute, along with “Philly Sound” songwriting and producing pioneers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Gordy, a high-school dropout who had a short professional boxing career, started Motown Records in Detroit in 1959. The record company is credited for opening doors for African-American performing artists, launching the careers of everyone from Michael Jackson to Stevie Wonder to Diana Ross & the Supremes. “This year we will be honoring an individual who created a new genre of American music that is beloved around the world, by young and old, black and white,” said Award chair Pamela Browner White.