UPDATE: Moments after the original article about Ms. Robinson’s new children’s book dropped, former labelmate Barbara Martin transitioned. Martin was one of four original members of the Motown legendary singing group, The Supremes. The Supremes went on to be the prototype of all-girl groups launching the career of Mary Wilson and Diana Ross.
“My heartfelt condolences to the family of BARBARA MARTIN. She was an amazing talent that was witty, charming and kept you laughing! She was smart – truly an intellectual. I only wish she had continued with the group! She will be greatly missed. Rest In Peace Barbara”Ms. Robinson who knew the group from the beginning stated in an exclusive remark to The Source:
Claudette Robinson, crowned the first lady of Motown, has released a children’s book titled “Claudette’s Miraculous Motown Adventure.” The book details little Claudette’s mission to bring happiness and joy back into the magic kingdom of Motown after a witch cast a spell that brought the cheerful kingdom to a dark silence.
Claudette Robinson is an original member of Motown group, The Miracles. The Miracles, a Detroit sensation began their start with Motown January 12th, 1959. The four-time grammy inductees have toured worldwide, selling over 60 million records.
With the release of her new Children’s book, The Source has gotten the opportunity to have a phone interview with Mrs.Robinson to discuss her true adventure with Motown music.
MiraB: First things first, what led you to want to create a children’s book instead of a memoir?
Mrs. Robinson: I’ve been working on a memoir for quite some time, and I just never had completed it. As Motown 60 was approaching I wasn’t sure if we would have a 70th or an 80th so I thought I need to have something in there. Unfortunately, a lot of things that have happened that would’ve been good things to include for the Motown legacy, I’ve missed it. My thought was, what market has Motown not really upped into? They’ve done a number of things, but the one thing that they have not done was a children’s book. Motown started so long ago, they have no idea of the history of what really happened. they don’t know The Miracles were the first artist of Motown. I thought, ‘all of this is information that they no longer know about.’ So I thought, ‘let me do a story in a fantasy way of how the first artist came about.’
You began your start with Motown in 1959, which was a divisive time in history for African Americans, what was that experience like?
There were good and bad things that happened. The good thing is that the music was able to get out, and people of other colors were beginning to enjoy the music. Racism was rapid, it was raging. When we went to the South, many times they had a rope down the middle of the venue and Whites would be on one side, and Blacks would be on the other. If it was a venue that had up and downstairs, Whites would be up and Blacks would be down or vice versa. One day on tour Smokey said, “Guys, I’m not gonna do this anymore, the kids wanna be with each other and dance. We are gonna let them know that if they continue this, we are not going to perform.
Why is it important that children today know about the legacy of Motown now, as opposed to 25 years ago?
I want the world to recognize and always remember the legacy of the miracles. I personally really love children. They give you energy and life, for the most part, they tell you the truth. That’s why the story is told in a fantasy fun way it allows them to use their imagination. Show business is glamorous on the outside but it really a lot of handworks, I will always continue to spread the legacy of Motown and The Miracles.
Would you ever consider writing a book for teens/young adults?
Yes. I would like to. I hope to continue after this. Children are definitely my first love, they have given me so much love and attention. They dance and sing for me and make cards and letters that are just so amazing. I could not feel happier than what has occurred so far. I understand it has been a long time but it’s important for the legacy of Motown to carry onto every generation.
What was the creative process behind your children’s book?
The main thing for me was to try to figure out what would be interesting for the children. They are just beginning life, we were really in our teens. Its a process of, ‘what would appeal to the youngsters?’
What does it mean to you to be crowned the “First Lady of Motown?”
It means everything, having been the first female, a couple of years before any other artist came. I was just out there trying to make it. I feel a real responsibility for having other young women following the patterns that I laid out in my life. Its quite an honor and I don’t take it by any means as something, I’m serious about the honor. When young ladies came behind me, I was the standard, they wanted me to help the other young ladies to be able to show them my pattern and share my experience. I could tell them things to avoid. Its an honor but a great responsibility to carry that on in the best way so that my family will know I’m representing a certain standard and I choose not to let them down, as well as myself.
Is there any advice that you would give to children who desire to be in the music industry?
Do the best that you can as long as you can, and I believe if this is your true passion, you can make it. Don’t allow rejection to stop you from doing what you truly feel.