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MOTOWN RELAUNCHES BLACK FORUM


The groundbreaking Black Forum label, founded by Berry Gordy and Motown in 1971, will be relaunched on 2/26 with a reissue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam. King's speech will lead a total of six reissues, including albums by Stokely Carmichael, Langston Hughes & Margaret Danner and Ossie Davis. 

“As we navigate our way through unprecedented times, racial and social tensions are at a high," said Ethiopia Habtemariam, President of Motown Records. "We felt an urgent need to reactivate Black Forum to provide information alongside inspiration. The label provided a clear-cut reflection of who America was at the time of civil unrest in the '60s and '70s. Now we look to expound on and extend the original principles and purpose of Black Forum.”

The relaunched label is expected to spark candid conversations to mold and inspire the next generation of activists via podcasts, Black community forums and a special collaboration with the Motown Museum in Detroit, located at Hitsville U.S.A., Motown's original headquarters.

Motown Museum Chairwoman and CEO Robin Terry said, “We are delighted to collaborate with our partner Motown Records for the relaunch of this iconic label and the yearlong programming around Black Forum. Storytelling, education and the power of shared experience are vital parts of the Motown Museum’s DNA."

Gordy’s vision for Black Forum was sparked by his work with King, who recorded several speeches, including The Great March to Freedom, on Gordy Records, a Motown subsidiary. Black Forum’s first release was King’s Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam. Released in 1970, it won a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album the following year. The landmark speech was recorded in April 1967 at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. 

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