Motown 30 (1990) Hosted by Robert Townsend



Taped before an audience at the Pantages Theatre, ‘Motown 30: What’s Goin’ On!’ is a live musical tribute to the recording company from Detroit in its 30th anniversary. The star-studded television special celebrates the achievements of its entertainers from the late 1950s to 1990. Includes commercials.

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“The 1983 special Motown 25 is now remembered primarily for a single segment — the one featuring the remarkable dancing of Michael Jackson before he became an all-pervasive media event. In Motown 30, no one steals the show like that. Instead, this homage to three decades of Motown music contains a whole succession of terrific performances. Tracy Chapman sings the civil rights anthem ”A Change is Gonna Come” with more warmth than anything on her last album had; Terence Trent D’Arby elicits screams of amazement from the audience when he delivers a howling, gospel version of Smokey Robinson’s ”Who’s Lovin’ You.” And there’s a salute to Mary Wells, now suffering from throat cancer, that is sung by Robinson, Stevie Wonder, and Gladys Knight; accompanied only by Wonder on piano, these Motown vets are marvelously relaxed and passionate at the same time. Like most variety shows, the pace is uneven, as are the comedy segments by everyone from Robert Townsend (Hollywood Shuffle) to Sinbad (A Different World). But what matters is the music, and the music is great. A” – Entertainment Weekly

Shared for historical purposes. I do not own the rights.

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45 thoughts on “Motown 30 (1990) Hosted by Robert Townsend

  1. I started out with the idea that this show was somehow not as good as Motown 25 or 40. But it is unique in it's own way.

    It has more black awareness that both other shows

  2. This band reminds me of the "Saints" at Locke High School when I use to see them in parades in Hollywood or competitions at the Sports Arena or the Forum! in 1975 when I first saw them I was 4.

  3. 4:10 – MY FAVORITE OPENING LINE TO ANY SHOW EVER! And a relatable one too. Cuz I' d rather sleep till twelve than wake up around 6AM! I CAN RELATE, WHOOPI! 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

  4. I loved seeing Debbie Allen dance the whole dance history sequence was awesome I miss our awards shows and shows celebrating black culture now the dance sequence would be just twerking lol smh 🤦🏾‍♀️ my how things have changed and the commercials are trippy lol 😂 glad to be a gen x’r I was 19 then I am grateful my generation had a lot of good info to feed our minds with 💪🏽💪🏽💪🏽💜💜🙏🏽🙏🏽

  5. Putting a show of this magnitude together during the transition of Hitsville under B. Gordy to Motown's Hollywood strong arms' is why we see different performances, too.

  6. I was born in '86 and remember my parents recording this on VHS ❤ One of my earliest memories of black excellence on display! Still powerful, even in 2021! ✊🏾❤🖤💚💛✊🏾

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