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We need to spread message of love through music at this time, says Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder has urged musicians to once again spread the message of love through music amid “serious times throughout the world”.

The music superstar surprised a Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony to honour Motown singer Martha Reeves, alongside the “King of Motown” Smokey Robinson and Motown Records founder Berry Gordy – who launched all of their careers.

During his speech, 73-year-old Wonder said Gordy brought Motown to the US, which “really forced the haters of the nation to stop, pause and think about love again – we are now again at this time we need to have that to happen”.

Wonder, who has scored 25 Grammy awards during his career, told the PA news agency after the ceremony: “Music has always been the very thing that has brought people together, more than anything, and it’s a way of expression that you hear and you feel the vibrations and those vibrations turn into how and what you feel.

“And so I think that as much there have been so many things that have been written about, but at this time most importantly I think we have to have more love in it.

“We have a time where people have fallen too much in love with things, like social media and different platforms, things that raise our children, where I think we need to have as parents take more time to raise our children and not things, different opinions or conspiracy theories determine how our children think.”

Wonder said Motown has grown and taken on different forms but “at the end of the day, the history and the greatness of Berry Gordy (will live on for) centuries and centuries into the future”.

Martha Reeves With a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Smokey Robinson talks about Martha Reeves as she is honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Damian Dovarganes/AP)

“I think with him will be those artists that have inspired the world,” he told PA of the Motown mogul, who also launched the careers of stars including Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.

“You can’t go a day without hearing What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye, or talk of what he did in doing what he did, so I celebrate that.

“You can’t go any point without someone talking about Dancing In The Street (by Martha And The Vandellas) and every single day of any of our lives you’re going to hear someone say Ooo Baby Baby (by Robinson) – so there you go.”

During the beginning of his on-stage speech, Wonder said he wanted to “take a serious moment because we are living in serious times throughout the world”.

He went on to describe first meeting 82-year-old Reeves, who was lead singer of Martha And The Vandellas with hits including Heatwave, Quicksand, Dancing In The Street, Jimmy Mack and My Baby Loves Me.

Martha Reeves Honored With a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Motown star Martha Reeves celebrates as she is honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Damian Dovarganes/AP)

“As we were then back in the Sixties when I was 11 years old coming to Motown, and one of the first people that I was able to meet was Martha.

“Martha would listen to the songs about halfway written that I wrote, she would keep me from eating too much candy from the candy machine, and she would encourage me to continue to write and to study – she motivated me in the singing and just being kind to people.

“… Martha has continuously spread the message of love, being born in one of the most racist states, Alabama, still using her platform of love to encourage and motivate to love all over the world – so Martha I can congratulate you for receiving this honour, it’s long overdue.”

Robinson, who fronted The Miracles with hits including Shop Around and You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me, described Reeves as “one of our profound acts”.

“She was one of the ones who helped to put Motown on the map all over the world,” the 84-year-old said during his on-stage speech.

“A lot of our family members are gone now, but those of us that are still here, (we) still celebrate the Motown family and so for another one of our family members to be on this Walk of Fame fills my heart and I’m so glad it was you Martha.”