I’m working on a music question and need a sample draft to help me study.
Motown was often criticized for not being black enough, especially as compared to southern soul. What was the basis for such an argument? What could be a possible counterargument? Clearly the primary subject matter for
Motown was love songs. Controversial subjects like the Vietnam War, police brutality, civil rights and racism
were definitely avoided. Finally in 1968, the Supremes released Love Child. And then Marvin Gaye’s 1970
What’s Goin On set the bar for protest music from Motown. Famously, Motown CEO Berry Gordy initially
refused to release the song saying “it doesn’t sound like a Motown song.
Motown self-consciously sought a refined sound and image. At a time when celebration of racial identity was one strategy to combat racism, Motowns refinement seemed to cater directly to white ideas and values. Conversely, southern souls sound and image were understood as more authentic expressions of the African American experience. One possible counterargument could be that Barry Gordy was seeking to bridge the gap between white and black audiences, and as pointed out in the chapter, African American audiences were also major consumers of Motown music.