Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Motown Museum

So, as I was saying a while back, the Motown Museum leaves a lot to be desired. And it’s a downright dirty shame. It’s still a fun place to check out simply because of the history. If you admire the different artists, the history and the Funk Brothers, like I do, then going there is a very humbling experience. But the reality is that the place is deplorably lacking in funds. There is no energy or seriousness about it as an experience.

It’s inexcusable when you consider the people and the money that passed through the place. You could hand pick several individual Motown artists of the past or present who could single handedly amp up the place to something much more presentable. Not to mention the Gordy family. What about the Jacksons? Stevie Wonder? The list is huge.

The Motown museum should be a MAJOR attraction in the city of Detroit. It should have been for years. If it had been done right, and marketed right, the Baby Boomers would have flocked to it, bringing their kids. It could have been bringing massive amounts of income to the city, if handled right.

The biggest problem with the city of Detroit is not what has been done, it’s what hasn’t been done. The same is true in a lot of businesses and churches. It’s the missed opportunities. And Detroit has missed a lot with their failure to attract businesses and entertainment.

Mike Ilitch is the obvious exception to all of this. I know people have different opinions about him. I don’t know anything about him personally. But he and his wife have certainly invested heavily in the city of Detroit. They’re from the Detroit area and obviously have a personal passion for making the city shine while pursuing their business interests. It’s a great thing.

But where are the others? Are people being chased off by the city government? All of those Motown artists, producers and executives who moved west when Motown did and never looked back? I know that a lot of the artists were shafted by the payment system. Royalties were rare. But others have made massive incomes. And with a well planned effort, I think they could make even more with a carefully put together and promoted Motown.

And say none of that works out?

How about this? Find a way, whatever it takes, to move the Motown Museum, piece by piece if necessary, and set it up at the Henry Ford Museum complex. It could be a whole new section, with the history of Detroit tied into it. 12th street, with the positives of the clubs and other record companies, as well as the reality of the riots and their connection to it. Old Tiger Stadium. Sports in Detroit. Classic Jazz clubs. The theaters and Woodward Avenue. The possibilities are endless. It would draw the Baby Boomers. It would add huge value to the Henry Ford experience. And it might just help draw some people from Detroit to the Henry Ford.

What it comes down to is Motown deserves better. The historical impact of Motown records is both musical and cultural and political. It is massive and it needs to be promoted and respected.

Peace to you.

© LW Publishing 2011

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