Berry Gordy (

The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music honored record executive, songwriter, television producer, film producer and Motown founder Berry Gordy at the London West Hollywood on June 8.

Gordy had a big hand in launching the careers of great musical legends like Diana Ross and the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, Michael Jackson, The Jackson 5, and the list goes on.

He recently pledged a $5 million gift to the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music to start the Berry Gordy Music Industry Center. Set to launch in 2024 or 2025, the center’s goal is to help create new courses and offer a curriculum focused on songwriting and music production.

Through its efforts, the center aims to raise awareness about careers in the music industry. The center will also offer financial support to create alliances with primary and secondary schools.

Smokey Robinson (

Many people joined Gordy in celebrating the momentous occasion including Los Angeles Sentinel executive publisher and businessman Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., his wife, Aline Bakewell, Esq., and singer/songwriter Smokey Robinson. Robinson did an opening tribute to Gordy.

“People ask me all the time, ‘Why did you have so many talented people in Detroit? Why were there so many talented kids,’” said Robinson. “I tell them all that I think it’s probably in every township, every village, every city – all over the world.”

Robinson continued, “Probably ratio wise they might have that much talent, but we had Berry Gordy. I’m so pleased and so proud that he is my best friend and that I am part of the Motown family.”

More guests included record executive, talent manager, and television producer Benny Medina; actress, writer, producer, director, and choreographer Debbie Allen; and singer, songwriter, and music producer Stevie Wonder.

Wonder also took to the podium to voice his congratulations, express his gratitude, and share memories in admiration of Gordy.

Wonder recently stated in an official UCLA press release, “Motown was a family. Berry created something very special and being a part of that was beautiful. I was 11 years old when I joined that family.

“It lasted a lifetime; it was with me always,” recalled Wonder. “I’m so happy that he’s now creating another place for young musicians to grow, experiment and learn.”

Stevie Wonder speaks as students from the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music listen. (

Gordy’s grandson and son of musician Jermaine Jackson, Jermaine Jackson Jr.; Prince Jackson, son of the late great Michael Jackson; former Motown executive and television producer Suzanne de Passe, and others were there, too.

Gordy’s daughter with legendary Motown showstopper Diana Ross, Rhonda Ross, was also at the event along with her sister and Ross’ youngest daughter with music executive Robert Ellis Silberstein, Chudney Ross.

Also present at the celebration was singer, songwriter, record producer, and Motown alum Eddie Holland, who noted, “The fact of the matter is Berry Gordy had a way of teaching without letting you know he was teaching.

“He just opened the premise up and explained certain things,” Holland continued. “He had a way of making people comfortable. He had a way of giving people certain freedoms where they developed themselves.”

Holland finished, “These people were thrown together [by Gordy] with just a little bit of talent – until [their] little [became] better and [their] better [became] greater.”

Gordy’s signature smile gleamed throughout the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music tribute honoring him and the new Berry Gordy Music Industry Center.

“I’m thrilled to create a center that provides opportunities for students at UCLA to prepare for careers in the music industry,” Gordy said in the UCLA media announcement. “Music is powerful, inspiring, universal, crossing over political, cultural, social and economic barriers.”

Berry Gordy Motown team (

“It reaches ALL people and has been the guiding force in my life. These students will be the future innovators, artists, and executives that will lead us through the twenty-first century,” Gordy dropped mic.