In December, during an interview about “Dreamgirls”, Beyoncé told Access Hollywood’s Shaun Robinson that, despite the similarities in the story, she only truly felt like she was channeling Diana Ross during the scene in which she sings “Heavy.”
However, anyone who knows their music history can see that “Dreamgirls” has a lot in common with the story of the early days of Motown Records.
Motown Icon Smokey Robinson noticed it, too, and let Shaun know how unhappy he is in a new, exclusive interview.
Shaun: You took issue with Jamie Foxx and with Beyoncé and with Eddie Murphy for even taking this role?
Smokey: I love all of them I admire them you know and I said Motown is also their legacy, they’re young black people. Motown is also their legacy. It’s your legacy. It’s every black person’s legacy in America. The creators of the “Dreamgirls” movie have blatantly indicated that they are depicting Berry Gordy and Diana Ross and the Supremes and Motown and they have done it with a lot of false information and negativity.
Shaun: Well, wait a minute … where have they ever said that this is the story of Diana Ross and the Supremes and Barry Gordy?
Smokey: You’ve seen the movie right?
Smokey: So you know what they’re saying.It is Smokey’s belief that Jamie Foxx’s character, Curtis Taylor, Jr., is supposed to be a not-too-well-disguised version of Motown founder Berry Gordy, who first signed The Supremes, Stevie Wonder and Jackson 5, just to name a few.
Shaun: What was it about that portrayal that offended you?
Smokey: Berry Gordy created something with his dream that allowed a lot of other dreams to come true and he did it with integrity, he did it honesty…
Shaun: As opposed to taking money from organized crime figures?
Smokey: Absolutely! As opposed to doing that…
Shaun: As to paying DJs under the table?
Smokey: As opposed to doing that.
Shaun: That never happened?
Smokey: That never happened. As a member of the Motown family, it’s insulting to me … I think that they owe Barry Gordy a public apology and they should do it rapidly.
Now, for the record, in spite of what Smokey believes, Foxx told Shaun that he did not base his performance on Gordy, claiming, “I got my character from all the record executives that I have ever met in the past four years. Not Berry Gordy at all.”