For those of you who didn’t enjoy Jennifer Lopez’s Motown tribute at the 2019 Grammy Awards, Smokey Robinson wants you to have several seats and stop being a hater because you’re clearly missing the point of Motown.
On Tuesday afternoon (Feb. 12), at least two days removed from the Grammys, Smokey said in a lengthy statement (via Instagram) that those protesting J.Lo’s performance are “trying to set us back a hundred years” while also forgetting that Motown’s purpose was to break racial barriers. In other words, Motown’s music is not “just for black people,” Smokey said.
“Stop hating,” he continued. “Motown united people, not divided them.”
Smokey ended his statement with this: “Don’t call yourself loving Motown if you’re a hater and spreading the same bigotry that you so strongly oppose coming at you from others. JLo was great and we at Motown love her.”
Read his full statement below:
Attention, all those of you who protested a wonderful, super-talented, world renowned superstar like Jennifer Lopez showing her love and support for Motown music. Here’s some food for thought: On the very first day of Motown, Berry Gordy told the five of us who were present, “I’m gonna start my own record company and we’re gonna make music for everybody and always be sure to make quality music that the world can enjoy.”
And through the grace of God and hard work and determination, we accomplished that. Kids of all races, worldwide, grew up loving the music of Motown, imitating our acts — pretending to be Diana Ross, the Temptations, Michael Jackson and so on. Parents were and still are turning their kids on to the music of Motown.
So now you’re gonna try to diminish the scope of Motown and narrow it down to just music for black people, and you call yourself defending the image of Motown. Well you’re trying to set us back a hundred years. If you call yourself loving Motown, be happy that we reached so many people and broke down so many racial barriers and that an artist like Jennifer, even after hearing all your negative comments, still loved Motown enough to do the tribute anyway. Now that’s love and respect.
And I guess since you feel that way about an artist of another ethnicity doing a tribute to Motown, you must have hated Teena Marie, Rare Earth and some of our other white artists. Stop hating. Motown united people, not divided them.
So don’t call yourself loving Motown if you’re a hater and spreading the same bigotry that you so strongly oppose coming at you from others. JLo was great and we at Motown love her. The beauty of Motown is that we’re a family made up of black, white, Hispanic and Asian women and men. We had a very diverse employee roster. So I hope knowing these few facts helps you get your perspective together and think about the hate you’re spreading.
God bless you.