Smokey Robinson Celebrates the Miracle of Sobriety at MusiCares

By Dorri Olds 05/25/16

"I have experienced firsthand the ravages of addiction, and the role I’m most proud to be associated with is sober.'"

Smokey Robinson Celebrates Sobriety at MusiCares

Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson was honored last Thursday at the 12th annual MusiCares MAP (Musicians Assistance Program) Fund tribute concert. Actress Angela Bassett presented Robinson with the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award.

“I’ve been blessed to have a truly rewarding career in the music industry,” said Robinson. “And I’ve worn many hats, from artist and songwriter to producer and executive. I also have experienced firsthand the ravages of addiction, and the role I’m most proud to be associated with is ‘sober.’ That’s why I’m so honored to receive this MusiCares MAP Fund tribute, because this charity saves lives day after day, all year long.”

MusiCares' mission is to provide a safety net for those in the music industry who are faced with financial, medical and personal emergencies.

The event, held in downtown Los Angeles at The Novo by Microsoft, was emceed by Cedric the Entertainer, and big names performed covers of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles classics. The honoree himself sat next to his best buddy, Motown’s Berry Gordy, while Andra Day sang "I Second That Emotion," Tamar Braxton belted out "Who’s Loving You," and the Backstreet Boys—dressed in matching outfits a la the Miracles—got down with "You Really Got a Hold on Me." 

The legendary hit-maker spoke of his past struggles with cocaine. “I’m not ashamed to tell people because I want to be of help if I possibly can,” he said. “I look back on some of the people that we have lost earlier on, before there were organizations like this, before there were places that they could go for recovery. Thank God for you. I am so proud to receive any kind of recognition from you and I appreciate you so much. God bless all of you and thank you for being here.” Robinson performed "Tracks of My Tears" and wrapped up with "My Girl."

Neil Portnow, the President and CEO of MusiCares and The Recording Academy credited Robinson as being “a passionate advocate for the MusiCares MAP Fund, and our work to help members of the music industry facing addiction.” He added: “It is a genuine pleasure to honor a true musical icon and a courageous supporter of the recovery community.”

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Dorri Olds is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Woman’s Day and several book anthologies. Find Dorri on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.