One of Motown’s top seven successful artists is non other than the legendary Smokey Robinson. The singer, producer and songwriter made a virtual appearance on ABC’s “The View” in February and talked about career highlights, making hits and more with the female hosts. However, things took an interesting turn after co-host Sunny Hostin asked him about a poem titled “Black American” and its significance to the Grammy-award winner.
Robinson responded, “I resent being called an African-American, I really do. I’ve traveled all over the world and Africa is one of the few places that I’ve never been yet. But, I think that when you do that, you’re disclaiming all the contributions that Black people have made to America. I consider myself to be a Black American.”
He went into detail to support his point retelling how past history has created negative stigmas associated with people of color created by oppressors. “You see, I consider myself to be a Black American, and I enjoy being called Black, and Black has been so [negative] as a color down throughout history by those who wanted to [make it negative]. And so, it spilled over into the Black community and to the Black people. And even Black people back in the day calling each other Black was a sign for a fight,” he added.
Robinson continued, “I resent being called African American because Black people have contributed so much to the development of the United States of America. The wonderful Black Americans who served in the armed forces and gave their lives in all the wars. They did not do that for Timbuktu or Capetown, or Kenya. They did that for Louisiana and Mississippi and Texas and Virginia. OK? So that’s how I feel about it.” We have contributed so much positivity…and their contributions should be recognized.
Educator Joe Young turned the poem into an animated story for his students by using Robinson’s work to create educational moments detailing the Black American experience. In light of the music Robinson’s belief, some Twitter users were indifferent with the 82-year-old composer’s logic.
“I resent being called an African American. I’ve travelled all over the world, and Africa is one of the few places that I’ve never been, yet. When you do that, you are disclaiming all the contributions that black people have made in America”- Smokey Robinson pic.twitter.com/CtCJ2tKdt9
— Ron Milner (@RonMilnerBoodle) March 5, 2022