“The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House” is a PBS music special that was taped in the East Room of the White House. President and Mrs. Obama hosted the event on Thursday, February 24, 2011 in celebration of Black History Month and the legacy of Motown.
Jamie Foxx was the emcee for the evening. Several musical artists performed, including Foxx, Natasha Bedingfield, Sheryl Crow, the group Gloriana, Nick Jonas, Ledisi, John Legend, Amber Riley, Smokey Robinson, Mark Salling, Seal and Jordin Sparks. The sixty-minute television special is part of the Emmy Award-nominated PBS “In Performance at the White House” series.
In addition to the evening concert, the afternoon of the concert taping the White House hosted “The Sound of Young America: The History of Motown,” an educational workshop for 120 middle land high school students in the State Dining Room. The event was produced by The GRAMMY Museum® and led by Robert Santelli, executive director of The GRAMMY Museum®. Santelli was joined by Berry Gordy and music legend Smokey Robinson, and other artists from the evening concert, who shared their personal experiences of Motown and answered students’ questions.