Motown: Dancing In The White House

Feb 24, 2011 10:53pm

From Sunlen Miller:

The dancing wasn’t in the street – tonight 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 the way paved 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.”

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

“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.”

- Sunlen Miller

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