Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, Jr. received one of the most prestigious awards in the arts –– the Kennedy Center Honor.
The 92-year-old Detroit native became the Center’s newest honoree in a star-studded ceremony attended by some of Washington D.C’s political titans including President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chief Justice John Roberts.
President Biden gave remarks, acknowledging the undeniable legacy Gordy built 62 years ago with an $800 loan and homemade recording studio.
“Detroit, Motown –– my God,” Biden said, the Detroit Free Press reported. “I tell you what, I don’t know how I’d have grown up without Motown. Talk about the soul of America.”
Motown legend Smokey Robinson served as emcee for the night, and even serenaded his good friend with a new composition, “Did You Know.”
“It’s about time, and I’m very happy for him,” Robinson said of Gordy’s award on the red carpet before the gala.
Motown icon Stevie Wonder wrapped up the four-hour gala, inviting Andra Day, Brittany Howard, Billy Porter, and Ellie Goulding to perform some classic hits. Wonder got the crowd on their feet on his own, performing a melody of some of his most iconic songs including “My Cher Amour,” “You Are The Sunshine of My Life,” and “Superstition.”
Robinson and Wonder both received Kennedy awards in 1999 and 2006, respectively.
The show was taped and is set to air December 22 on CBS.