“I have come full circle,” he said onstage. “It is only appropriate (to announce this) while here in Detroit, the city where my fairy tale happened with all of you.”
Gordy helped globalize Black culture via Motown and his stars such as Diana Ross & the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations and the Jackson 5.
Gordy founded Motown in 1959 and sold the label in 1988, but the 89-year-old has remained involved with projects like “Motown The Musical,” which debuted on Broadway in 2013 and a recently aired Showtime documentary about the record label.
Earlier this month, Gordy announced his $4 million donation to help fund the Motown Museum’s expansion project.
“I’m excited about the future of Motown Museum and happy to support it,” Gordy said. “Not only will the expanded museum entertain and tell the stories of talented and creative people who succeeded against all odds, but it will also inspire and create opportunity for people to explore their dreams the way I did mine. I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of that.”
Speaking to the Orchestra Hall audience on Sunday, Gordy said he’s been thinking about retirement for some time.
“For years, I dreamed about it, talked about it, threatened it,” he said.
The evening also included director-writer Lee Daniels presenting Gordy with the Motown Legacy award.