In celebration of Black History Month, The Temptations have released the third and final part of their Docuseries, titled “The Message.”
The story showcases how influential The Temptations were as the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s began gaining momentum and galvanizing people of color across the country. The episode illustrates the group’s personal experience that lead to the psychedelic soul era, alongside seminal producer Norman Whitfield.
Speaking of Whitfield, Smokey Robinson had high praise for him in “The Message:” “Norman Whitfield was a musical genius. He came up with stuff in his productions that only he could think of.”
Regarding some of the music from that era, including highlights from their Whitfield-produced 1969 album, Puzzle People, Otis Williams said, “Recording ‘Message From A Black Man’ was a sign of the times. Norman Whitfield felt very strongly about doing it. It gave us a sense of power that we could reach the youth through music. We wanted it to hit you here [your head] and here [your heart].”
The group was galvanized by some of the atrocities they witnessed and had directed towards them across the country in the 60s. Says Smokey, “People would shoot at the bus or we would get to a gas station and we couldn’t use the bathroom. If we could, there would be three bathrooms: One that says women, one that says men, and then around the back, there’s one that says colored. You’re not a man or woman. You’re colored.”
The Temptations are currently celebrating their 60th anniversary and a new album, Temptations 60 (out now). On Friday, to honor the band and their monumental new project, the Motown Museum, in partnership with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, hosted a virtual interview with Williams, a 1989 inductee.
Williams was joined by the group’s long-time manager, Shelly Berger, as well as other members of the Temptations. The interview will remain available on-demand for fans to view at their convenience on the Rock Hall’s YouTube Channel or Motown Museum’s YouTube Channel.
The interview will premiere on SiriusXM Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Radio, channel 310, and on the SiriusXM app on February 15 at 4p.m. ET.