Stop in the name of Motown! Alameda County has declared Monday, Aug. 18, as "Berry Gordy Day in the East Bay."
County Supervisor Keith Carson will host a ceremony to present the Motown legend an official proclamation at 11:30 a.m. at Oakland's Frank H. Ogawa Plaza. Gordy, 84, will be in attendance in addition to Rep. Barbara Lee, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and deputy mayor Sandré Swanson.
Although he is not one to put on airs, the pop music mogul is keenly aware of his place in the history of pop music and civil rights. That awareness is part of what inspired his deeply nostalgic "Motown" musical, the Broadway musical that runs Friday through Sept. 28 at San Francisco's Orpheum Theatre and is a hit parade of more than 40 songs including: "My Girl," "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "Stop! In The Name Of Love" and "I Heard It Through The Grapevine." A montage from the show will be presented as part of the ceremony, which is free and open to the public.
Adapted from his 1984 autobiography, "To Be Loved: The Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown," it's the inside story of Gordy's journey from boxer to music mogul. Gordy founded the Detroit-based record label Motown in 1959 and went on to launch the careers of everyone from Diana Ross and Michael Jackson to Smokey Robinson.
Additionally, a curated selection from Gordy's "Motown Legends" exhibit will be on view at Oakland's Joyce Gordon Gallery. The installation includes a mixed media collection of images of The Temptations, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. Some of these pieces will also be on view at Everett & Jones restaurant, and a few will be for sale.