Radio & Podcasts

Alvin Hall

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Motown: Speaking in the Streets

BBC Radio 4

January 2014

In 1970, Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown, set up a Motown spoken word label. It was called Black Forum and recorded poetry, civil rights speeches, African-American soldiers in Vietnam and more. The label closed in 1973 after eight releases. In recent years those releases have started to attract interest and some have been reissued. What has been revealed is a powerful testament to the African-American experience at a turbulent time in American society. The financial educator and spoken word record collector Alvin Hall listens to the recordings and talks to those who were involved in their making.

Program Contributors:

Theatre Director and Producer Woodie King Jr., Producer of "Black Spirits: Festival of New Poets in America", and "It's Nation Time: African Visionary Music"; Professor Suzanne E Smith, author of "Dancing in the Street: Motown and the Cultural Politics of Detroit"; Pat Thomas, author of "Listen Whitey: The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965 - 1975"; Elaine Brown, singer songwriter of the album "Elaine Brown" and former leader of the Black Panthers; Suzanne de Passe, former Creative Director and President of Motown; Amiri Baraka, star of "Black Spirits: Festival of New Poets in America", "It's Nation Time: African Visionary Music" and civil rights activist, poet, and writer

Black Forum releases:

Dr Martin Luther King Jr. - Why I Oppose The War In Vietnam; Stokely Carmichael - Free Huey; Langston Hughes and Margaret Danner - Writers Of The Revolution; Guess Who's Coming Home - Black Fighting Men Recorded Live In Vietnam; Ossie Davis and Bill Cosby - Address The Congressional Black Caucus; Black Spirits - Festival of New Black Poets in America; Inamu Amiri Baraka - It's Nation Time; Elaine Brown - Elaine Brown
Producer Ekene Akalawu.

More info