Motown legend Martha Reeves at the Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony along with Motown founder Berry Gordy and recording artists Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder and Claudette Robinson. (@imagerybyoscar/HCC)

Motown singer Martha Reeves received the 2,776th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Wednesday, March 27.   Motown stars Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder were on hand for the ceremony, which took place at 7008 Hollywood Blvd.

Reeves is renowned for her string of Motown songs in the 1960s and 1970s, such as “Dancing in the Street,” “My Baby Loves Me,” “Come and Get These Memories,” “Nowhere to Run,” “Jimmy Mack” and “Heatwave.”

“Heat Wave was nominated for a Grammy in 1967,” she said later that evening during “A Conversation with Martha Reeves” hosted by The Grammy Museum at L.A. Live.  The night was filled with elegance and laughter and reflection of the music of Motown.

Martha was a member of Martha and the Vandellas, a top Motown act. Gail Mitchell, executive director of R&B and Hip Hop at Billboard magazine, posed the questions to Martha, who is now 82 years old and receiving her accolades.

“I am still floating on clouds from the honor received at the Hollywood Walk of Fame,” Martha explained. Martha was dressed in her glittered top and beautiful gray locks and her skin was cocoa smooth, looking radiant as ever.

Martha was asked by Mitchell how she felt about her star on Hollywood, and Martha said, “I never in my wildest dreams thought this would happen,” she said with a smile.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 27: Martha Reeves and Gail Mitchell attend A Conversation With Martha Reeves at GRAMMY Museum L.A. Live on March 27, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sarah Morris/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

“In 2022, I was selected to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and with the help of someone I was introduced to by a friend, that person was Chris Roe, a manager.”

It was a grassroots effort, thanks to fans worldwide who raised $75,000 for the star.  “It is wonderful to be loved,” she went on to say. “I had been praying for the star.”

Martha said, “My fellow Motown singers such as Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson were all there to support me as well as Motown founder Berry Gordy were all there at the Walk of Fame.

“At one point, I lived in Los Angeles, and I was walking with my son on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and he said, ‘One day, Mom, you will get a star here,’” she said.  “It was the will of God!”

When asked how she got her start with Motown, Martha Reeves recalled, “It all started when Motown’s Artist &Repertoire Director William Mickey Stevenson heard me perform solo at the Twenty Grand. He gave me his card and told me I should audition.”

Martha and the Vandellas were comprised of Reeves, Rosalind Ashford and Betty Kelly. According to Martha, the group was founded in 1957 as the Del-Phis and consisted of school friends from Detroit. They would later be known as Martha Reeves and the Vandellas.

Mitchell smiled and asked Martha to tell the audience about her job at Motown. Martha laughed and said, “I was working as secretary at Motown and that helped land our chance to sing background vocals for Marvin Gaye. I remember hearing Marvin singing ‘Dancing in the Street’ and Marvin said, ‘This song is for Martha to sing.’”

The song was written by Marvin Gaye, William Stevenson, and Ivy Jo Hunter and recorded in 1964  by Martha and the Vandellas.

“Someone once suggested to me I should run for City Council in my hometown, Detroit,” Martha said.  “I did and I served for four years as councilwoman with no regrets,” Martha added.

Martha has written a book titled, “Dancing in the Street: Confessions of a Motown Diva.” The book can be ordered online, and Martha’s star can be seen at 7080 Hollywood Blvd. Martha and the Vandellas were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.

Reeves is also the recipient of the Dinah Washington Award, Rhythm n’ Blues Foundation Pioneer Award, and Black Woman in Publishing Award. In addition, she has been inducted into the Alabama Soul, Rock and Roll Vocal Group Hall of Fame and Martha and the Vandellas are listed among Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 immortal artists of all time.

The audience at the Grammy Museum had a chance to ask questions to the singer and one gentleman asked how it felt to make music that brought the races together.

“We wanted to make people happy and bring the races together there is magic in the music,” Martha said.

Martha also chronicled the times that the Motown group was not allowed to stay in the same hotels as whites during segregation. We went to roach infested hotels. Regarding her days with the legendary company, she said, “I learned so much from Motown.”

One can’t help but remember the icon Martha’s advice to the audience as she said, “You have to know where you come from to know where you are going,” and with that, the audience went wild with applause.

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