Happenings TEMPTATIONS OTIS WILLIAMS- Photo credit Photography by Scott Leon. Courtesy of UME

Published on October 20th, 2021 | by Dr. Jerry Doby


City College Center for the Arts Celebrates 
the Temptations’ Otis Williams

Music pioneer to be feted virtually at the historic Aaron Davis Hall on November 1 in honor of his 80th birthday

TEMPTATIONS OTIS WILLIAMS- Photo credit Photography by Scott Leon. Courtesy of UME

TEMPTATIONS OTIS WILLIAMS- Photo credit Photography by Scott Leon. Courtesy of UME

City College Center for the Arts, on the campus of City College of New York, is honoring the 60-year history of the legendary Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and Grammy® Award-winning Otis Williams and The Temptations, on Monday, November 1, with a special live, virtual event. The affair will feature a conversation with Williams, a founding and the sole surviving original member of The Temptations sharing memories about the “Evolution of The Temptations’ Music, 1961 – 2021,” while also celebrating his 80th birthday. This special virtual conversation will be simulcast at citycollegecenterforthearts.org from the Aaron Davis Hall’s renowned Marian Anderson Theatre, named after the distinguished African American singer who broke racial barriers and inspired new generations of singers of all colors. Distinguished musician, composer and entertainment entrepreneur K. Sparks will conduct the online event, which begins at 7:30 p.m. EDT and will feature other special guests.

City College of New York President Dr. Vincent Boudreau said, “For more than four decades, Aaron Davis Hall has been Harlem’s performing arts center. World scholars, artistic giants and academic geniuses like Nelson Mandela, Alicia Keys, President Barack Obama and Ella Fitzgerald, just to name a few, have blessed these stages through the years. The City College of New York is so proud of the contributions The Temptations have made, and continue to make, to the American cultural landscape and we are honored to add their name to that distinguished list.”  

Otis Williams, legendary recording artist, songwriter, executive producer and author, said, “I am thrilled to be celebrating the group’s 60th Anniversary and my 80th birthday with our extended Tempts’ family from across the City College campus in Harlem, and throughout New York and the rest of the country. The Temptations had some of its most memorable performances in Harlem and other parts of New York during our career. To mark these capstones with an online discussion about my career at the prestigious and diverse City College of New York, a college known for its commitment to the Performing Arts, and for recognizing one of the greatest trailblazers in American music history, Marian Anderson, is an incredible honor for me and The Temptations.”

The City College Center for the Arts:  

The award-winning City College Center for the Arts hosts an ambitious, year-round calendar of professional performances in the historic Aaron Davis Hall. Its mission is to provide a creative arts 

center and focal point for the City College of New York, building a sense of community within the College, elevating the profile of Aaron Davis Hall in the greater New York area, and connecting the College to the surrounding community through the arts. 

The 630-seat Marian Anderson Theatre is the largest theatre in Aaron Davis Hall. It was dedicated in 1993 with a tremendous ceremony featuring Harry Belafonte, Jessye Norman, Max Roach, Martina Arroyo, Arthur Mitchell with members of Dance Theatre of Harlem and Phylicia Rashad.  

Marian Anderson is remembered as one of the best American contraltos of all time. She was the first African American singer to perform at the White House and also the first African American to sing with New York’s Metropolitan Opera. Anderson’s achievements, which inspired generations of young black performers, also included a concert before 75,000 listeners at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939 arranged by Eleanor Roosevelt after the Daughters of the American Revolution denied the singer the use of the concert hall in their national headquarters.


The Temptations, one of the most prolific musical institutions of all time and known as the “No. 1 R&B Artists of All Time” (Billboard), are commemorating their 60th Anniversary, now through June 2022. The year-long campaign will feature celebratory events along the way, including the Imperial Theatre re-opening on October 16th of the Broadway musical, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations, based on Otis Williams’ personal journey, and the Tempts’ brand-new single, “Is It Gonna Be Yes or No,” available now. The single is a duet between the group and the equally legendary Smokey Robinson. The song is a preview of the upcoming Temptations 60 Album. The Temptations’ presence across multi-media platforms has never been more vivid, and their popularity is ever-increasing. Most recently, adding to their dozens of sampled tracks, their hit “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” was used as the foundation of the Migos smash, “Avalanche.” Their #1 nationally rated Emmy® Award-Winning Television mini-series, The Temptations, which first aired to rave reviews in 1998, is still on air or streaming every day somewhere in the world. Williams’ autobiography, Temptations, was recently released as an audiobook edition for the first time, with a new introduction by Williams.

The Temptations were among the first African American musical artists to crossover into mainstream America and appear on popular, national television programs, such as The Ed Sullivan Show, and The Hollywood Palace in the 60s. Trailblazers, the group’s star power was so striking that these national programs, and many others, scheduled appearances for The Temptations multiple times in a single year. On December 9, 1968, Diana Ross & the Supremes and The Temptations starred in a network television special TCB (Taking Care of Business), a first for two African American music groups. According to published reports at the time, the television special won its time slot, was named the #1-rated television variety show in 1968 and received an Emmy nomination. The original cast soundtrack album, TCB, reached #1 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums’ chart. In July 1969, Motown produced a television special called The Temptations Show. In November of that same year, a third national television special, G.I.T. (Gettin’ It Together) on Broadway, starring Diana Ross & the Supremes and The Temptations aired nationally. Never before had two contemporary African American groups headlined their own #1 nationally rated television specials, all produced by Motown, an African American owned company. At the time, this was an unparalleled accomplishment for African American entertainers. The Temptations helped change the face of primetime television and fueled the growth in the performing arts and entertainment world for African American artists forever.

The group has won five GRAMMY® Awards, including a GRAMMY® Lifetime Achievement Award, and Motown’s first-ever statuette, awarded to the Tempts for “Cloud Nine” for Best Rhythm and Blues Performance by a Duo or Group, Vocal or Instrumental in 1969. Their No. 1 hits “My Girl” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” are in the GRAMMY® Hall of Fame. The group has been inducted into the Rock & Roll, National Rhythm & Blues Music, and Vocal Group Halls of Fame. Throughout the group’s evolution, they have released countless gold, platinum and multi-platinum chart hits, many considered American masterpieces. 



About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, Media and SEO Consultant, Journalist, Ph.D. and retired combat vet. 2023 recipient of The President's Lifetime Achievement Award. Partner at THM Media Group. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, the United States Press Agency and ForbesBLK.

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