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Berry Gordy Earns Icon Honor At Critics Choice Awards’ Celebration Of Black Film And Television

Billy Dee Williams and Suzanne de Passe presented the award to the Motown legend.

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Berry Gordy - Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association
Berry Gordy - Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association

Berry Gordy was given the Icon Award at the Critics Choice Awards Celebration of Black Television and Film, which occurred in Los Angeles on December 5.

Billy Dee Williams and Suzanne de Passe presented the award to the Motown legend. Williams played Gordy in the TV Series The Jacksons: An American Dream. In the film world, Gordy directed Mahogony, starring Diana Ross. Gordy took over the film direction after British filmmaker Tony Richardson was dismissed from the film. Mahogany stars Ross as Tracy Chambers, a student who rises to become a fashion designer in Italy. The soundtrack included the single “Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To),” which peaked at No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in January 1976.

Gordy was involved in a number of films over the course of his career, including The Last Dragon, The Wiz, Lady Sings the Blues, Hitsville: The Making of Motown, The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings, Diana!, and Goin’ Back to Indiana.

In a clip that aired during the ceremony, Gordy reflected on his approach to film, saying, “When I moved to Los Angeles I wanted to evolve into something more than just a record man. It was all motivated by the fact that I wanted my artists to experience every aspect of entertainment because I was feeling that there was no limit to where they could go as well.”

Back in October, Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson were announced as honorees at the 2023 MusiCares Persons of the Year. The 32nd annual benefit gala will take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center on February 3, 2023, two nights before the 65th annual Grammy Awards.

“MusiCares is thrilled to be honoring Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson at this year’s Persons of the Year gala, which will be the first time we are honoring two legends together,” says Laura Segura, executive director of MusiCares. “With Mr. Gordy as the creator of the Motown Sound, and Mr. Robinson as his first writer and artist, their music, along with the many others who joined Motown, reached out across a racially-divided country to transform popular music, creating a musical legacy like no other.”

Listen to the best of Motown on Apple Music and Spotify.

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