Motown has announced a relaunch of their groundbreaking label Black Forum, originally founded in 1971 by Berry Gordy.
The label’s revival will kick off with a release of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Why I Oppose The War In Vietnam on February 26 as the first of six historic spoken word albums to be reissued.
“As we navigate our way through unprecedented times, racial and social tensions are at a high. We felt an urgent need to reactivate Black Forum in order to provide information alongside inspiration,” says Motown Records President Ethiopia Habtemariam. “The label provided a clear-cut reflection of who America was at the time of civil unrest in the 60s and 70s. Now, we look to extend and expound on the original principles and purpose of Black Forum.”
Hoping to provide a platform to a new generation of writers and poets, Motown Records will be partnering with Detroit’s Motown Museum to release spoken word performances and digital content from up-and-coming artists.
The relaunched Black Forum will also spark candid conversations to mold and inspire the next generation of “game changers” via podcasts, Black Community Forums, Motown Museum events and programs, and digital initiatives. By amplifying the voices of the new revolution,
“We are delighted to collaborate with our partner Motown Records for the relaunch of this iconic label and the yearlong programming around Black Forum,” says Robin Terry, Motown Museum chairwoman and CEO. “Storytelling, education, and the power of shared experience is a vital part of Motown Museum’s DNA. The rich heritage of the Black Forum label has long been an important chapter in the continuing story of Motown.”
Over the course of the year, Black Forum will reissue Stokely Carmichael’s Free Huey, Langston Hughes & Margaret Danner’s Writers Of The Revolution, Ossie Davis’s Congressional Black Caucus, Guess Who’s Coming Home: Black Fighting Men Recorded Live In Vietnam and Black Spirits: Festival Of New Black Poets In America which features appearances from Imamu Amiri Baraka, Stanley Crouch, and The Last Poets.
Black Forum was revered for putting the civil rights era on vinyl as a permanent encapsulation of the Black community’s fight, and as the struggle continues, taking on different forms, the label will continue to do so in a modern context.
Imamu Amiri Baraka’s It’s Nation Time was reissued in 2018. It can be purchased here.