Shinola’s Great American: Smokey Robinson Is Still Doing What He Loves Best

Shinola Watch

Motown’s Smokey Robinson turns 80 years old next month, and Shinola is introducing new products in honor of the singer, songwriter, producer and this year’s focus for Shinola’s Great American Series.

“After 60 beautiful years of creating and being inspired by music, I’m still living my dream,” says Robinson, whose creativity shows no sign of waning. “To partner with and be recognized by Shinola, a Detroit-based company, as their next Great American is an absolute honor. I worked closely with them to create a one-of-a-kind watch for both men and women, and I hope my fans wear them proudly.”

Robinson was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, but his music has traveled around the world and has had a lasting effect on multiple generations of fans, defining a new era with an unforgettable sound. So it’s fitting that in addition to two new Vinton watches, journals and a greeting card, the collection also includes a Runwell turntable crafted by family-owned American turntable manufacturer VPI Industries, based in New Jersey.

“Shinola is honored to celebrate Smokey Robinson as our latest Great American,” said Shannon Washburn, President & CEO of Shinola. “Born and raised in Detroit his impact on music and artists around the world is legendary. Having met Smokey at the onset of the project, I was impressed by his approachability, humility and kindness. He embodies the attributes in line with the Great Americans Series we celebrate at Shinola.”

Prior watch and accessory collections in the Great American Series, which made its debut in 2013, have paid homage to Maya Angelou, Jackie Robinson, the Wright Brothers and others who have made a lasting mark on American culture.

The quart-driven Smokey Robinson Great American Series Vinton watches are fitted with argonite movements, and are offered in 38mm or 32mm case sizes. Each features a circular brushed stainless-steel case and a three-link stainless steel bracelet. This three-hand timepiece has Arabic numerals on the true-blue enamel dial, and the caseback of the timepiece is designed to be engraved, as are all the casebacks within the new Vinton collection.

“With the Vinton, we set out to make a much slimmer watch with a slimmer case,” according to Shinola Watch Design Director Bill Guy. “We then had this caseback with a big, bright steel surface right around the time engraving was taking off with our jewelry line. It was the perfect time to emphasize engraving.”

Engraving is a popular trend among watch enthusiasts, and the caseback of a timepiece offers a discreet canvas for a message, a date or simply initials. A choice of font and font size for the engraving are also available.

Limited to 1,000 pieces in each size, the Smokey Robinson timepiece gift set—watch and 45 rpm record adapter—is priced at $950 (it debuts January 31), and it will be available on and at Shinola retail locations. Incidentally, the purchase of a Smokey Robinson Great Americans Series watch grants access to The Foundry: a private collectors’ club established exclusively for owners of limited-edition Shinola products.


Article via Forbes

Berry Gordy & Smokey Robinson Feted by Ryan Gordy Foundation


In celebration of Motown Records’ 60th anniversary, the Ryan Gordy Foundation (RGF) honored founder Berry Gordy and music legend Smokey Robinson at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills Monday evening. The fete drew a glittering array of stars and personalities from the entertainment and sports worlds including Lionel Richie, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Paris and Prince Jackson, producer David Foster and Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

Hosted by comedian Chris Tucker and helmed by chairperson Frances Robinson, the dinner and awards event raised $250,000 toward the building of a center for the RGF. Launched in 2017, RGF is named after Gordy’s grandson Ryan, who died of leukemia at the age of 29 in 2016.

Michael Jackson’s two eldest children, Paris and Michael, presented the evening’s first statuette — the Power of Love Award — to Gordy. “We honor you and your lifetime of incredible achievements across music and entertainment,” noted Prince.

Added Paris, “This is a man that we love so dearly and appreciate with all of our hearts.”

Robinson next took the stage to pay tribute to Gordy. He said, “You’ve been my mentor, my motivator, my encourager, my confidant, my go-to and — back in the days when we lived in the hood — we were each other’s ‘N’-word, a high and prestigious position. But the sum total of all these and other my’s is that you are my best friend. I love you.”

After a moving a cappella performance of his self-written song “Berry,” Robinson welcomed Gordy to the stage. “Someone please tell me how to follow that,” Gordy said to a laughing audience before thanking the foundation for the honor.

“Tonight makes me realize how and why the power of love is infinite,” Gordy added. “It’s always been the foundation for [Motown’s] success. I accept this award in appreciation for the precious years I spent with my dear grandson Ryan Gordy. He inspired me with thoughts beyond his years and his love for life. He was a fighter who never gave up. For all those sharing in the power of love tonight, I thank you.” Then Gordy, who turns 90 on Nov. 28, exited the stage dancing energetically to Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours.”

Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson, Motown 60

Jesse Grant/Getty Images for the Ryan Gordy Foundation

Next, Robinson accepted RGF’s Legendary R&B pioneer and humanitarian award from Lionel Richie. “Smokey is my hero,” said Richie who, as a member of the Commodores, was the opening act for the farewell tour of Robinson’s group The Miracles. “When we met, he didn’t realize he was my hero. I had never met anyone up close and famous … had never in my life met a black poet. He talked to us and encouraged us. What you feel about Berry, Smokey, I feel about you. I love you man, and thank you for being exactly who you are in my life.”

“Wow, that was beautiful; we’ve been tight a long time,” remarked Robinson who laughingly relayed one of several instances over the years when he’s been mistaken as Richie by fans. “So I just call him Smokey and he calls me Lionel.”

Vibrant performances by former Motown artists Thelma Houston and Mary Wilson, a founding member of The Supremes, rounded out the evening. Houston wowed the house with “To Be Loved,” the Jackie Wilson classic co-written by Gordy, and her own signature song “Don’t Leave Me This Way.” Opening with the standard “Here’s to Life,” Wilson segued into a spirited medley of Supremes’ hits including “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Come See About Me” and “Back in My Arms Again” before jumping offstage to sing Donna Summer’s “Last Dance” while dancing with host Tucker.

Also among the special guests in the audience were Tina Knowles Lawson, actor and comedian Bill Bellamy, commentator and retired NBA player Robert Horry, Katharine McPhee, Debbie Allen, Omarion, Johnny Gill, boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard and Kris Jenner. The event also featured a silent auction with items ranging from Swarovsky earrings, lithographs by Matisse, Renoir and Picasso, a Houston Rockets suite and a Robinson meet and greet.

The Ryan Gordy Foundation is dedicated to inspiring a lifelong commitment to wellness through patient advocacy, wellness education and disease prevention. In describing her reasons for establishing the foundation, Ryan’s mother Anita Thompson remarked, “My life’s purpose is bringing health and wellness to young adults affected by cancer. My son was loving and caring with a beautiful soul. His legacy will live on through the good works of the Ryan Gordy Foundation.”

Article via Billboard

Smokey Robinson Joined Anderson .Paak on ‘Make It Better’ on ‘Kimmel’

Anderson .Paak recruited Smokey Robinson to join him for a performance of “Make It Better” Thursday on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

The Oxnard-born rapper opened the song alone at the microphone alongside his backing band, running through the first verse and chorus before the soul legend walked onstage following a quick introduction by .Paak; Robinson also features on the studio version of “Make It Better,” a standout from .Paak’s Motown-inspired 2019 LP Ventura.

The two vocalists then carried the performance the rest of the way, singing both in unison and counterpoint to each other. “I wanna go to Roscoe’s with you baby,” .Paak sang, with Robinson delivering the closing lyric, “Chicken and waffles.”

.Paak released Ventura — the quick follow-up to 2018’s Oxnard — in April. In addition to Robinson, the Dr. Dre-executive produced album also featured guests like Andre 3000, Brandy, Jazmine Sullivan and a posthumous contribution from Nate Dogg.

“Growing up in Oxnard gave me the grit and the church to find this voice of mine. One town over, I went further and found my depth,” .Paak previously said of the album in a statement. “The duality of each place inspired me greatly and from that I made two albums at the exact same time, but held one back because that would have been too many songs to perform live for you all! I like ending things on an even number, so welcome to Ventura.”

Article via Rolling Stone