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Kerry Gordy on playing basketball with a high-heel wearing Prince

Kerry Gordy on playing basketball with a high-heel wearing Prince

He may be the son of Motown’s Berry Gordy — but one of his most memorable moments with a musician came on a basketball court with a high-heels-wearing Prince.

Kerry Gordy told Page Six that he once got to play against the “Purple Rain” star and witnessed the late Minnesota music legend’s famous skills as a baller — albeit with a bit of a self-inflicted handicap.

“He was slipping a little bit with his high-heeled shoes on,” said Gordy, who goes by KG. “I don’t know how he did it. I guess he was playing on his tippy toes because, you know, running in high heels is a nightmare. But anyway, he was amazing.”

KG said that he eventually got to know Prince for more than just his basketball skills, which the “Raspberry Beret” singer honed in high school and which were immortalized in a famous “Chappelle’s Show” comedy sketch.

He said the enigmatic performer liked to cultivate an air of mystery in public but was very different in private.

“[It was a] childlike spirit,” he said. “But when he was out in the public, he was cool, always cool.”

He also added that “I would tell him ‘no’ — and most people couldn’t tell him ‘no.’”

Berry Gordy. Kerry Gordy.
Kerry shares a striking resemblance to his dad, Berry Gordy,
Instagram

The 62-year-old is the product of his father’s second marriage to Raynoma Mayberry, who worked as a producer, songwriter, and singer.

Kerry was born the same year Motown was founded — and confessed that growing up as the son of the legendary record label’s founder was not always easy.

“Everything that I did up until I was the age of 25, in his opinion, was garbage,” he said with a laugh, explaining that his lineage is both an asset and a liability.

Kerry Gordy and Stevie Wonder.
Kerry Gordy with one of his best pals, Stevie Wonder.
Courtesy Kerry Gordy

He said that he went into the business world, but would sometimes have trouble securing a loan, with prospective creditors wondering why his father wasn’t investing in his pitch if it was such a good deal.

“I’m actually doing things where I need outside investment, so the liability there is, nobody wants to give Berry Gordy’s son money … Secondly, ‘If [Berry Gordy’s] not investing in those projects then something must be wrong with the project,” KG said.

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“Nobody wants to get on the bad side of Berry Gordy, especially in the music side of the entertainment business.”

However, KG says that he’s “uniquely qualified because I had a chance to be in Motown from the age of 14, starting in the mailroom all the way through. I’ve had two to three years in everybody’s department so I know everybody’s job.”

Kerry Gordy and Lionel Richie.
Kerry Gordy and another close friend, Lionel Richie.
Courtesy Kerry Gordy

One of KG’s businesses is copyright recapture, where — along with his team members Ashley Garrett, Linda Edell Howard, Lenny Greene and his sister-in-law, Desiree Gordy — he helps songwriters regain their publishing rights.

The very first person he helped was Robert Bateman, who co-wrote the classic “Please Mr. Postman” and then fell on hard times because he wasn’t getting any residuals for the classic tune.

“He didn’t have a pot to p–s in,” said KG, who recalled Bateman calling to borrow three thousand dollars.

“So that’s how I kind of got started in the business,” he explained. “Meanwhile, obviously, you know, going through the potential lawsuits with the companies and all of that kind of stuff, I was bombarded. Everybody thought I was an idiot. All the lawyers thought I was an idiot. My father thought I was an idiot.”

Tom Hanks, Kerry Gordy, Ben Donenberg
26th Annual Simply Shakespeare Benefit, Los Angeles.
Kerry Gordy hanging out with Tom Hanks and Smokey Robinson in 2016.
Ryan Miller/Shutterstock

KG’s company succeeded in obtaining a very healthy settlement for Bateman, allowing him to live out the rest of his life in comfort.

Since then, the company has helped the writers of songs such as “Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg,” “The Tracks of my Tears” and “I’m Every Woman.”

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There isn’t a single Motown artist KG doesn’t have a relationship with. He remembers once losing a running race to Diana Ross, who is the mother of his half-sister Rhonda.

Stevie Wonder is one of his best friends; ditto Marvin Gaye, who was “like an uncle.” He calls Lionel Richie “the best” and says Michael Jackson was a schoolmate.

KG recalls the late King of Pop as being a very talented painter in his youth. He says Jackson once tried to teach him the art, but eventually gave up and relegated him to changing the paint water.

Kerry Gordy and Michael Jackson.
Kerry Gordy laughing it up with childhood friend Michael Jackson.
Instagram

“You have to understand these people, all these artists, were looked up to by the world,” he said. “And they looked up to our family. So people who looked up to Diana Ross and Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, The Temptations — those people looked up to us. So I was a prince in this kingdom called Motown … They just all treated me fantastic, all of them … I did love them all like family because it was a family.”

Ever-busy KG told Page Six that he closed a “big deal” with Sony this week, has a film financing deal, is currently working on over 100 copyright recapture cases and, as if he needed something else to occupy his time, also has a memoir in the works.

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About the author

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Mary Dehart

Mary works as a part time technician for a popular technology firm and in her spare time, she contributes to the technology section of The Madison Leader Gazette with her impeccable knowledge of modern-day technology.

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