MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) _ Smokey Robinson turned down the music and celebrated lesser-known black Americans while speaking in honor of Black History Month at the University of Memphis.
The singer best known for classic Motown tracks such as Tracks Of My Tears,'' ``Tears Of A Clown'' and ``I Second That Emotion'' gave some credit Wednesday to hip-hop music _ with a caveat.
Rappers make ``street poetry,'' he said. ``That's how they view life. Some take it to a negative area. But the positive has always outweighed the negative.''
Young people know ``the Beyonces and the Shaqs because that's what they see,'' Robinson was quoted as saying in The Commercial Appeal. He was referring to singer Beyonce Knowles and pro basketball player Shaquille O'Neal.
``They don't realize for every one of those there are millions of kids who don't make it,'' he said. ``Go to any church and you'll find people who made marvelous contributions. Our kids need to know that.''