In perfect harmony

Motown is just as relevant today as it was 40 years ago. With hits like “My Girl” and “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” and artists such as Marvin Gaye and The Supremes still on regular rotation at various radio stations, Motown has become a staple in popular music and a celebrated link in Black History Month.

With February coming to a close, Black History Month is remembered with “Old Skool Motown Sound Explosion!” by Touch, a music group who will be performing tomorrow. They’ll play Motown classics from the ’60s and ’70s and speak about the history of the legendary record company.

Touch, who grew from Dayton – much like ’70s funk band Ohio Players – consists of a five-male vocal group similar to the Temptations: Xonerale Freeman, Jerome Johnson, Jonathan Rice, Arthur “Hakim” Stokes and Floyd Weatherspoon.

The group is backed by a six-piece band known as The Untouchable Band.

They have been together for 12 years now and have been playing throughout the Midwest, never making a stop at BG.

Stokes said the group has made a nice following and is honored to be coming to campus, adding that taking their show to several high schools and colleges throughout the Midwest is something they’ve been looking to do.

Touch’s performance is sponsored by the Black Student Union and will take place on Feb. 28 in the Union Ballroom.

BSU has had a busy month, sponsoring Black History Month’s kick-off event on Feb. 3, and heading other events like luncheons and Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations.

BSU wanted to end Black History Month with a performance that is “sure to entertain.”

Derrick A. Jones, a BSU advisor and residence hall director for Rodgers Hall, said he sees the ending of the month’s celebration as something everyone could enjoy.

“We thought it would be nice to end a wonderful month of black history programming with something entertaining, fun and free to the community,” Jones said.

Jones said he sees music as a “great unifier,” and stressed the importance to celebrate black history in its entirety.

“The ground broken in those days made music what it is today,” Jones said. “Touch provides a show that will not only entertain, but educate many of the audience to what music really meant to people and how it is a crucial part of the black experience.”

Stokes emphasized that Touch’s performance pays homage to the contributions made by African-American’s over time, especially “Motown’s tremendous contributions.”

“Black History Month is a time to share with others the contributions made to society. Black people have done so much like inventing the stoplight and open-heart surgery,” Stokes said, adding that most of their contributions are not “common knowledge.”

Jones also added there is a good chance that everyone has been touched by Motown’s music, no matter how old they are.

“This is a show for all ages,” Jones said. “Either you grew up with this music or you grew up listening to this music. It crosses racial and cultural lines with its appeal and that in itself was a major milestone of the era.”

Touch’s performance will take place in the Union Ballroom at 8:30 Tuesday night and is free to the public.

It serves as a chance for the community to celebrate the end of Black History Month with live entertainment and a deeper knowledge of Motown and black’s contributions to today’s society.