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Reeves Sees Motown’s Past as Key to Detroit’s Future

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Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Martha Reeves, the earthy-voiced lead singer of Martha and the Vandellas, had enormous hits for Motown in the ’60s including “Dancing In the Street,” “Heat Wave,” “Nowhere to Run” and “Jimmy Mack.”

Now, running for City Council, the Hitsville cornerstone wants to reinvigorate Detroit’s downtown and boost tourism with a shopping mall, a nightclub devoted to Motown’s legendary sound, and a landscape dotted with tributes to the record label’s biggest stars.

“One of my biggest dreams is to put up statues downtown – statues of Stevie Wonder … Smokey Robinson – that would be really great,” she told AP.

Reeves, 64, was nominated for City Council on Tuesday when she finished ninth out of 120 hopefuls in the primary with 27,313 votes. The top 18 vote-getters earned spots on November’s ballot, from which nine Council members will be elected.

“I’ve been dancing in the street,” Reeves enthused. Regarding the City Council seat she said, “This is not a need for a job. It’s a job that needs to be done.”

“I could’ve been in L.A. and forgot about all this stuff. I could sell my property, move to Las Vegas and just play the slot machines. Why should I be bothered? Because I love Detroit. We have an obligation to hold onto its history,” she told supporters.

Reeves, who was born in Alabama but moved to Detroit with her family when she was 11 months old, said that her top priority is ensuring the city’s neighborhoods are adequately policed, noting that she’s been unable to fix up some of the 18 old buildings she’s acquired since 1999 with the intention of renovating due to threatening thugs.

“Junkies and crackheads have been taking down boards and even held some of the workmen at gunpoint until they ran away,” she said. “The policing needs to be there, and it needs to be visible.”

Like the statues of Stevie, Marvin, Smokey, and Diana.

What about more recent Detroit star Eminem?

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About Eric Olsen

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    Somehow one doesn’t think of Eminem as a ‘Detroit’ star – else he embodies a different mode of expressiveness – where is his style of hip-hop native to, anyway?

  • Eric Olsen

    maybe Compton since he’s so down with Dre

  • http://groups.yahoo.com/group/marthareevesthemotowndiva Shawn

    Martha will do great things for Detroit !It’s been her way and will continue to love people !And care about the quality of life for others .Shawn