Berry Gordy is among those to be honored by President Barack Obama with the National Medal of Arts later this month.
Actors Morgan Freeman and Mel Brooks are also among the leading creative figures who have been invited to receive the medal at a White House ceremony on September 22.
National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu said, “These National Medal of Arts recipients have helped to define our nation’s cultural legacy through the artistic excellence of their creative traditions, and I join the President in congratulating and thanking them for their contributions.”
Gordy said in a statement: “As a kid from Detroit, with big dreams and a passion for music, I am truly honored and humbled to be recognized and to receive the National Medal of Arts from the president of the United States,”
The White House said Gordy was being honored “for helping to create a trailblazing new sound in American music.” Gordy, who will turn 87 in November, founded the company that became Motown Records and eventually nurtured it into the country’s biggest black-owned corporation.
Gordy’s close friend and fellow Motown pioneer Smokey Robinson was a National Medal of Arts recipient in 2002.