"What's Going On"
Based in 1960s Detroit, the Motown Record Company established itself and thrived as an independently run and successful African American business. Amidst humble origins in a two-story house outside of which Berry Gordy hung the sign, "Hitsville USA," Motown encouraged America's youth, urging them to look beyond racial divides and to simply sing and dance together in a time where the theme of unity was becoming increasingly important. Producing legends such as Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Martha Reeves, Gladys Knight, and the Jackson Five, Motown truly created a new sound for the youth of America and helped shape the 1960s. Competing with the "British Invasion" and "the Protest Movement," in 1960s music, Motown is often said to have had little or no impact on the political and social revolution of the time because Motown did not produce "message music." The 2006 film, Dreamgirls even depicts Gordy and Motown as hypocrites and race traitors. Yet Motown embodied one of the principles the Civil Rights Movement preached most: black success and independence. Although the founder of Motown, Berry Gordy, never had the intention of proclaiming a message of black independence and empowerment through his actions of establishing an independent record company, he accomplished one of the goals of the Civil Rights Movement: black economic independence. The establishment and success of Motown was an intrinsically political act that served as proof to Civil Rights claims that African Americans could be just as independent and successful as whites.