An Interview about Black History Month with Dionne Warwick.
Dionne Warwick, one of the most recognizable voices of the 20th century, sat down with Rev. Dr. Stefanie R. Minatee, founder of Rev. Stef & Jubilation, to discuss her early music career and the importance of celebrating Black History Month. The five-time GRAMMY® Award winner launched her career in 1962, during the early years of the civil rights movement.
On February 27, at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Warwick will join the award-winning choir for From the Middle Passage, an African American Journey, in recognition of the Black experience travels from Africa, to the horrific sea voyages known as the Middle Passage, to the civil rights movement and present day. The legendary R&B singer will perform, “What the World Needs Now is Love,” from her 1966 gold award-winning album, Here There is Love.
Read on to hear more about Warwick’s experience and her upcoming performance.
Q: Who or what was the inspiration behind your desire to pursue music as a career?
A: I think it was pre-ordained. Music has and will always be a part of my life.
Q: If you were not a multi award-winning, critically acclaimed artist, what career path would you have taken?
A: I think I would still be involved in music, somehow. I would use the credentials I have acquired to teach.
Q: Music as an art form crosses various genres, what would you say is your favorite type of music?
A: I love all types of music.
Q: Looking back on the year 1963, do you remember where you were and what you were doing, during the March on Washington?
A: I was in Paris, watching it on television.
Q: What are your feelings about the celebration of Black History Month?
A: Black History is history. It is a part of a timeframe, longer than a month. I always felt we deserve more than just 28 days. It should be all year.
Q: Your career has spanned many decades. Over the years, what changes have you seen or not seen in race relations?
A: In my opinion, race relations fluctuate so much. We have things that occur and sometimes we bring attention to them, and at other times we don’t. It shouldn’t be rocket science to assume what race relations have to be.
Q: You were honored during Oprah Winfrey’s Legends Ball, what was that experience like?
A: It was amazing, absolutely amazing. There are no other words to describe that experience.
Q: How does it feel to work with Rev. Stef and Jubilation and what lesson do you hope people will take away from “From the Middle Passage, An African American Journey?”
A: I love Rev. Stef and Jubilation, I really do! This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. I am looking forward to February 27. Being able to sing one of my favorite songs will be such a blessing, and I hope the people will be uplifted, inspired and blessed by the presentation.