Browse shows on: Musical Roots and Branches

ABJ interviews, field productions, and historic performances explore the social and cultural roots of Detroit's eclectic and highly influential contributions to American music. These ABJ shows feature an intermixture of conventional themes in urban pop culture (youth, political protest, romance, defiance of social conventions) with themes in black history and culture (blues, Christian spirituality, liberation).

Colored People's Time 3 (1968)
Guests: Bill Murphy, Earl Grant, George Kirby, Ray Jenkins
Host: Tony Brown
Producer : Tony Brown
Duration: 01:00:51
Description: This show includes musical performances by Bill Murphy, Earl Grant, and Hal McKinny Quintet, features on the presidential election and politics, and an interview with George Kirby. Sandy Lawrence provides a snapshot of Detroit's upcoming events in the Grapevine feature. Abe Ulmer highlights news stories.
Colored People's Time 5 Colored People's Time 5 (November 14, 1968)
Guests: International Gospel Choir, Black Students Association, Arthur Ashe Jr, George Kirby, Bill Murphy, Gwen McKinney, Kim Weston, Marcus Belgrave, Thomas Bowles, Diane Carol, Hal McKinney
Host: Tony Brown
Producer : Gilbert Maddox, Tony Brown
Duration: 56:53:09
Description: The program opens with Hal McKinney's jazz band performing "Freedom Jazz Dance," featuring Hal and Gwen McKinney on vocals. Although they are not individually credited, it appears that at least two prominent jazz musicians, trumpeter Marcus Belgrave and saxophonist Thomas "Beans" Bowles, are members of McKinney's band...
Colored People's Time 13 Colored People's Time 13 (January 22, 1969)
Guests: Inkster Community Choir, Lorenzo Wright, The Brothers of Soul, Stokely Carmichael, John Lewis, John Conyers, David Bing, Davis, Martha Jean Steinberg, Marcus Belgrave, Thomas Bowles, Carmen Murphy
Host: Tony Brown
Producer : Gilbert Maddox, Tony Brown
Duration: 01:01:04
Description: This program from the fall of 1968 is interesting for a variety of reasons. It's wide-ranging content mix of news, music, fashion, theater and cultural commentary offers fascinating insight into the concerns and interests of Detroit's African American community of the period. In addition, it provides an enlightening example of local television production style in the late 1960s. Moreover, the program is remarkable for the number of cast and crew members who went on to notable careers in the mass media and academia.
James Brown James Brown (1978)
Guests: James Brown
Host: Ron Scott
Producer : Ron Scott
Duration: 00:29:21
Description: James Brown has been a powerful figure on the music scene since the 1950s. This 1978 program, with host Ron Scott, consists of an interview with Brown that examines some of his personal history and his objectives as a musical artist.
James Brown (clip 1) (1978)
Guests: James Brown
Host: Ron Scott
Producer : Ron Scott
Duration: 00:00:00
Description: They begin by talking about Brown’s early life, during which he worked extremely hard and only went as far as the seventh grade. Brown says that his early life taught him about the importance of working hard and gave him an appreciation for struggling to get somewhere, and Scott asks him what he says to youngsters that don’t know what that is like. Brown says that he makes them aware of their ignorance of this, and that they should understand that it exists.
Millie Jackson Millie Jackson (1978)
Guests: Mildred Jackson
Host: Ron Scott
Producer : Ron Scott
Duration: 00:28:40
Description: The show opens with a 4 minute live performance of Millie Jackson singing "Sweet Music Man." Host Ron Scott interviews Jackson about a range of topics from her performance style to "kids today," women's liberation, and her plans for the future.
Stevie Wonder: A Motown Legacy Stevie Wonder: A Motown Legacy (1980)
Guests: Ted Hull, Ester Gordy Edwards, Stevie Wonder
Host: Gene Elzy
Producer : Deborah Ray
Duration: 00:29:41
Description: This program, from very early in 1980, is an exploration of the career and music of Stevie Wonder, who joined Motown Records at age 12 and soon became one of the record label's most popular and successful recording stars.
The Harlem Dance Theater (1980)
Guests: Arthur Mitchell
Host: Gene Elzy
Producer : Deborah Ray
Duration: 00:25:31
Description: This upbeat show includes scenes of dancing at the Harlem Dance Theater, an interview with Arthur Mitchell, the dance director for the Theater, and footage of Arthur Mitchell teaching an audience about dance.
To Be Woman, Gifted, and Black: From One Generation to Another To Be Woman, Gifted, and Black: From One Generation to Another (1980)
Guests: Lena Horne, Nikki Giovanni
Host: Gene Elzy
Producer : Alfa Harrison, Deborah Ray
Duration: 00:28:57
Description: This show features interviews with Lena Horne and Nikki Giovanni about their careers, work, and what it means to be a black woman in modern-day society.
Rock, Radio, and Racism, part 2 (February 15, 1980)
Guests: Pat Holliday, Brian Sheffield, Larry Strauss, Fred Jacobs, Miller (voice only) London


Duration: 00:57:06
Description: This show looks at racism in the music industry, mostly focusing on Detroit radio stations.

Guests include Pat Holliday, radio personality from CKLW; Brian Sheffield, a manager and promoter; attorney Larry Strauss; Fred Jacobs, program director for WRIF; and over the phone Miller London, vice president of sales for Motown Records. There are also appearances by various other artists and radio personnel that are not named.
Sun Ra Sun Ra (1981)
Guests: Sun Ra
Host: Deborah Ray
Producer : Deborah Ray
Duration: 00:28:54
Description: Sun Ra captured almost as much attention for his outlandish costumes and strange philosophical pronouncements as for his innovative jazz compositions. But it was his advocacy of "free jazz" and his early use of electronic synthesizers that inspired and influenced a wide array of other jazz musicians.
Through the Artist Eyes (1981)
Guests: Walter Morgan, Burnis Day, Aaron Ibn Pori Pitts
Host: Deborah Ray
Producer : Deborah Ray
Duration: 00:30:22
Description: This show is a special showcasing black artists, including Walter Morgan, Burnis Day, and Aaron Ibn Pori Pitts.
A Gospel Tribute (December 1981)
Guests: Mattie Moss Clark, Clark Sisters, Timothy Wright Choir, Sara Jordan Powell, Rance Allen Group, Michigan State Community Choir

Producer : Deborah Ray
Duration: 00:58:00
Description: This show is performances by and interviews with gospel singers and groups.

Guests include Mattie Moss Clark, a singer and songwriter who teaches at the Conservatory of Music; Timothy Wright of the Timothy Wright Choir; gospel singer Sara Jordan Powell, who has also worked in academia; Rance Allen of the Rance Allen Group. There are also performances by the Michigan State Community Choir and the Clark Sisters.
Reverend Franklin Reverend Franklin (1984)
Guests: C. L. Franklin, Claude Young, Martha Jean Steinberg, Erma Franklin, Robin McCoy, Fannie Tyler, The Royal Crusaders, S. L. Jones, Marlon Terrell
Host: Ben Frazier
Producer : Ed Gordon, Alicia Nails, Njia Kai
Duration: 00:53:00
Description: This hour-long program from 1984 is divided into four segments. Three of them deal with youth-related issues or programs, but the longest and most prominent of the four is a 20-minute tribute to the Rev. C.L. Franklin, one of Detroit's most prominent and influential ministers.
Bloodlines and Bridges: The African Connection (1986)
Guests: Imani Humphrey, Sharon Stallworth, Thomas F. Stallworth III, Samuel Ajiri, Ricardo Solomon, G. Mennen Williams, John Conyers, Walter Morgan, Marion Crawford, Elise Davis, Kamal Amen Ra
Host: Darryl Wood [bio]Darrell Wood hosted the show for ten years from 1988 to 1998 under the title American Black Journal. His shows sought to focus on the skills and talents of many of the nation's leading African-American business people to public television.

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Producer : Darryl Wood, Debra Mims
Duration: 00:55:05
Description: This show explores the African roots of Detroiters.


Guests include: Imani Humphrey, founder of Aisha Shule an African centered charter school in Detroit, Thomas and Sharon Stallworth, the parents of a child attending the school; Dr. Samuel Ajiri, the president of Western Medical Systems, Inc., who is a native of Nigeria; Ricardo Solomon, chairman of the International Exchange council; the chief justice of the Michigan supreme court, G. Mennen Williams; congressman John Conyers; artist and art dealer, Walter Morgan; secretary of Wayne County government, Marion Crawford; Elise Davis, a researcher of African American history; and Kamal Amen Ra, an African drummer and dancer.
Motown Records (February 2, 1987)
Guests: Earl Van Dyke, Thomas Bowles
Host: Ed Gordon
Producer : Ed Gordon
Duration: 00:28:47
Description: This show is about motown records. Guests include Earl Van Dyke, a keyboardist for Motown Records' in-house Funk Brothers band and for other famous performers (Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, etc), as well as a soloist; and Thomas Bowles, a Motown saxophonist and leader of the Swinging Dashikis, a band that played back up for Motown acts.
The Winans (May 11, 1987)
Guests: Marvin Winans, Michael Winans, Ronald Winans, Carvin Winans
Host: Ed Gordon
Producer : Trudy Gallant, Ed Gordon
Duration: 00:28:32
Description: This show is an interview and performance by the Winans brothers. The Winans are a Grammy award winning gospel group.
Radio Personnel (June 1, 1987)
Guests: Jay Butler, Clarence Rome, Steve Williams, John Mason
Host: Ed Gordon
Producer : Trudy Gallant, Ed Gordon
Duration: 00:26:31
Description: This show is about the importance of music and radio in the black community.
Guests include radio disc jockeys John Mason, WJLB; Jay Butler, WQBH; Clarence "Foody" Rome, WGPR; and Steve Williams, WJZZ.
Levert-Gordon-Levert (June 17, 1987)
Guests: Gerald Levert, Sean Levert, Marc Gordon
Host: Ed Gordon

Duration: 00:24:07
Description: This show is an interview with the musical group, Levert.
Miki Howard (November 2, 1987)
Guests: Miki Howard
Host: Ed Gordon
Producer : Trudy Gallant, Ed Gordon
Duration: 00:25:08
Description: This show is about singer/actress Miki Howard, her life, and music.
Natalie Cole (November 9, 1987)
Guests: Natalie Cole
Host: Ed Gordon
Producer : Ed Gordon, Trudy Gallant
Duration: 00:28:28
Description: This show is an interview with singer and songwriter, Natalie Cole.
Najee (1988)
Guests: Najee
Host: Ed Gordon
Producer : Trudy Gallant, Ed Gordon
Duration: 00:25:28
Description: This show is an interview with Najee, a jazz artist who plays saxophones and flutes, and just had his first gold album. The show also includes clips from some of his music videos.
Motown Revue Reunion Motown Revue Reunion (1989)
Guests: Johnny Bristol, Sylvia Moy, Ian Levine, the Satintone, the Velvelettes
Host: Trudy Gallant
Producer : Tony Mottley
Description: In 1989, a British record producer who had grown up listening to the hits of Detroit's Motown Records during the 1960s decided to bring together many of the old groups together for to make a series of new recordings. In this program, host Trudy Gallant interviews the producer, Ian Levine, and two of the former Motown songwriters - Sylvia Moy and Johnny Bristol - who were involved in the new project.
Old Hastings Street Old Hastings Street (1989)
Guests: Dorothy DeMorcia, Wardell Polk, Siliva Williams, Lyman Woodard
Host: Trudy Gallant
Producer : Tony Mottley
Description: This program from February 1989 crosses a range of categories as it explores the history of Detroit's black neighborhoods in the first half of the 20th century. Host Trudy Gallant discusses that history with a panel which includes two Detroiters who grew up in the Black Bottom/Paradise Valley area on the city's near east side, and the curator of a new exhibit about the period on display at the Detroit Historical Museum.
20th Anniversary Special (September 25, 1989)
Guests: Tony Brown, Gil Maddox, Abe Ulmer, Ron Scott, Juanita Anderson, George (voice only) Martin
Host: Trudy Gallant
Producer : James Jackson
Duration: 00:59:38
Description: This show is about the history of Detroit Black Journal, and is filled with clips from old shows.

Guests include the first host of the show, Tony Brown, Gil Maddox, who originally wrote the proposal for the show, Abe Ulmer, another host of CPT, Juanita Anderson, former executive producer of DBJ, Ron Scott, former producer and host of DBJ, and George Martin, who worked on CPT and DBJ.
Holiday Show Holiday Show (December 1990)
Guests: Diane Campbell, Tina Brooks, Lisa Page, Keith Staten, Witness, Yolanda Harris
Host: Trudy Gallant
Producer : Carlota Almanza
Duration: 00:28:21
Description: This program from December 1990 is a Christmas special devoted to gospel music. Host Trudy Gallant introduces two contemporary gospel music acts: a women's quartet known as Witness and solo performer Keith Staten.
Reggae….The New Sound (1991)
Guests: Steve Nesbitt, Shelly Thunder, Selwyn Brown, Shinehead, Little Lenny (voice only)

Producer : Carlota Almanza
Duration: 00:26:54
Description: This show features a series of music video clips with discussion of the music.
Guests include Steve Nesbitt, drummer for the band Steel Pulse; Shelly Thunder, a reggae singer and rapper; Selwyn Brown, the keyboardist for Steel Pulse; and Shinehead, a rap artist.
Afrocentrism (February 1991)
Guests: Arthur Carter, Lyn Lewis, James Jenkins, Larry Fishburne, Ann Eskridge
Host: Trudy Gallant
Producer : Carlota Almanza
Duration: 00:29:04
Description: This show is a review of black history month.
Guests include Dr. Arthur Carter, interim deputy superintendent of Detroit Public Schools; sociologist, Dr. Lyn Lewis of the University of Detroit Mercy; and writer Ann Eskridge. Clips contain statements from James Jenkins, the founder of Greystone International Jazz Museum; actor Larry Fishburne, best known for his role in the movie "The Matrix"; and the writers of the play "Black Heroes in the Hall of Fame", Flip Fraser and J.D. Douglas.
Modern Day Griot Modern Day Griot (1992)
Guests: Katherine Blackwell, Baba Inshangi
Host: Cliff Russell
Producer : Carlota Almanza
Duration: 00:26:29
Description: This program, broadcast in 1992, is hosted by Cliff Russell. Divided between a music-dance performance by the Ishangi family from West Africa, and a presentation by Katherine Blackwell, an African American storyteller, the show illustrates the efforts of African Americans to explore - and to transmit to their children - the African roots of American culture.
The Boys (1992)
Guests: Khiry Abdulsamad, Hakeem Abdulsamad, Bilal Abdulsamad, Tajh Abdulsamad
Host: Cliff Russell
Producer : Carlota Almanza
Duration: 00:29:07
Description: This show is an interview with the musical group, The Boys. Members of the group are Khiry, Hakeem, Bilal, and Tajh Abdulsamad.
Blue Pigs/ Hugh Burrell (March 22, 1993)
Guests: Hugh Burrell
Host: Cliff Russell
Producer : Carlota Almanza
Duration: 00:28:46
Description: This show is about the Blue Pigs, a musical outreach program of the Detroit Police Department. The guest is Hugh Burrell, the lead vocalist of the Blue Pigs.
Kamal / Vibes International (December 29, 1993)
Guests: Lorenzo Geohagan, Kamal A. Amen Ra, Akoben
Host: Cliff Russell
Producer : Tony Mottley
Duration: 00:27:59
Description: This show features a musical performance by Akoben, including a quick interview with Kamal A. Amen Ra from the group. There's also an interview with Lorenzo Geohagan, editor of Vibes Magazine.
Berry Gordy Berry Gordy (1994)
Guests: Berry Gordy
Host: Darryl Wood [bio]Darrell Wood hosted the show for ten years from 1988 to 1998 under the title American Black Journal. His shows sought to focus on the skills and talents of many of the nation's leading African-American business people to public television.

Click for full biography


Producer : Tony Mottley
Duration: 00:27:47
Description: Founder of Motown Records, Berry Gordy is a legend in Detroit and around the country. Broadcast in 1994 as part of Gordy's tour to promote his autobiography, "To Be Loved," host Darryl Wood talks with Gordy about the early days of his career.
The Black Russians (January 5, 1994)
Guests: Charles Quist-Adade, Joseph White Erakoptobor, Freddie Jackson, Ralph Wiley
Host: Cliff Russell
Producer : Tony Mottley
Duration: 00:28:15
Description: This show is about racism and persecution in Russia. It also includes short segments on music by Freddie Jackson and a book by Ralph Wiley.

Guests include Dr. Charles Quist-Adade, a professor from University of Windsor (at the time) who grew up in Ghana and earned a degree in Russia; Joseph White Erakoptobor, a sufferer of racism in Russia; Freddie Jackson, an R&B and soul singer; and author Ralph Wiley.
Behind the Scenes in Music (July 20, 1994)
Guests: Greg Gumbel, Kathy Baylor, Michael J. Powell
Host: Darryl Wood [bio]Darrell Wood hosted the show for ten years from 1988 to 1998 under the title American Black Journal. His shows sought to focus on the skills and talents of many of the nation's leading African-American business people to public television.

Click for full biography


Producer : Tony Mottley
Duration: 00:27:46
Description: This show features an interview with Greg Gumbel, a television sportscaster, about his life, a music video by Tony, Toni, Tone, and discussion of how song writing and publishing works.

Guests include Greg Gumble, Kathy Baylor, a creative scout for Midnight Music, and Michael J. Powell a music producer.
Stanley Crouch / Jazz (December 1, 1995)
Guests: Stanley Crouch, Phil Lasley, Don Mayberry
Host: Darryl Wood [bio]Darrell Wood hosted the show for ten years from 1988 to 1998 under the title American Black Journal. His shows sought to focus on the skills and talents of many of the nation's leading African-American business people to public television.

Click for full biography


Producer : Tony Mottley
Duration: 00:22:30
Description: This show is an interview with Stanley Crouch about his view of America and his new book, "The All-American Skin Game, or Decoy of Race: The Long and the Short of It, 1990-1994". Stanley Crouch is a writer and jazz critic. Following the interview, there is a jazz performance by Detroit musicians Phil Lasley and Don Mayberry.
Wynton Marsalis Wynton Marsalis (1996)
Guests: Wynton Marsalis
Host: Darryl Wood [bio]Darrell Wood hosted the show for ten years from 1988 to 1998 under the title American Black Journal. His shows sought to focus on the skills and talents of many of the nation's leading African-American business people to public television.

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Producer : Tony Mottley
Duration: 00:27:47
Description: This 1996 program consists of an interview by ABJ host Darryl Wood with renowned trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis, who was 34 at the time. The interview provides insight, not just into Marsalis, but also into the nature of jazz music, and more broadly, the role of the artist in society.
Mojo/Classical (April 12, 1996)
Guests: Electrifying Mojo, Brazeal Dennard, Leslie B. Dunner
Host: Darryl Wood [bio]Darrell Wood hosted the show for ten years from 1988 to 1998 under the title American Black Journal. His shows sought to focus on the skills and talents of many of the nation's leading African-American business people to public television.

Click for full biography


Producer : Tony Mottley
Duration: 00:27:45
Description: This show is about African American music and the end of the Electrifying Mojo's career. Guests are the Electrifying Mojo, a Detroit based radio personality; and Dr. Leslie B. Dunner; conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. There is also a clip of Brazeal Dennard, a choral founder and conductor for an all black group named after himself.