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Friday
Feb252011

White House Honors Motown Legends

Photo Courtesy - The White House/Lawrence Jackson(WASHINGTON DC) -- The dancing wasn’t in the street Thursday night -- it was in the White House.

Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder came out to celebrate fifty years of rhythm and blues with a White House music night devoted to black history month and Motown’s effect on music and American history.

“Along the way, songs like ‘Dancing in the Streets’ and ‘What’s Going On’ became the soundtrack of the civil rights era,” President Obama said in the East Room of the White House. “Black artists began soaring to the top of the pop charts for the first time. And at concerts in the South, Motown groups literally brought people together –- insisting that the ropes traditionally used to separate black and white audience members be taken down.”

While the Motown greats sang the classics, the new era of singers -- Natasha Bedingfield, Sheryl Crow, Gloriana, Nick Jonas, Jordin Sparks and John Legend -- paid tribute to those who paved the way for them.

The president, and his dancing, were the brunt of some jokes.

“You are not going to dance with me -– I saw you on 'Ellen'!” MC of the night Jaime Foxx said to President Obama, impersonating his at times stiff dancing. “That definitely was not the black side of you right there.”

But in the end, the president still showed some of his own Motown moves, dancing with his daughter Sasha Obama for a brief moment during the finale, when all the performers sang “Dancing in the Streets."

Vice President Biden also wasn’t free from being the target of jokes.

“In the ‘60’s – how many of you remember the ‘60s?” Foxx said. “I know you remember the ‘60s,” Foxx said to Vice President Biden, “you remember the ‘30s, man.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio