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Temptation singer speaks in Tucson

Posted at 11:02 PM, Jan 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-01 07:32:32-05

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Just as if it were the 1960s or 1970s, The Temptations name was on the Fox Theater marquee Sunday night. Singer, Dennis Edwards, performed with his new band called The Temptations Review and also spoke in front of a crowd at Tucson's Sunday Evening Forum.

Edwards was a singer with The Temptations during the late 60s and into the 70s after he replaced David Ruffin. He helped Motown Records with their first Grammy after the release of "Cloud Nine" and he is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with the original five members of the Temptations.

After an introduction at the forum held at Fox Theater, 106.3 The Groove's Rascal along with lawyer Daisy Jenkins interviewed Edwards on stage.

Jenkins asked Edwards to talk about being a part of The Temptations during the civil rights era.

Edwards says before The Temptations there was little opportunity for black entertainers. He says there were only a few famous ones before them, but his band blew the door wide open.

"We made it work," said Edwards. "We opened doors. The youngsters out there now, they have a chance to be whatever they want to be regardless of color, regardless of race because of groups like us."

He added, their goal was to be a good band and the color of their skin did not matter.

A member of the audience asked Edwards about an incident between him and the man he replaced, David Ruffin. In the 1998 movie, The Temptations, Ruffin was shown to have taken the microphone from Edwards while he was performing on stage. Edwards dispelled that rumor Sunday night.

The moderators also asked Edwards about music past and present. He remarked on the differences between radio tours from his time, and online streaming during the 21st century. Edwards also mentioned differences in content of some music these days.

"We sang about love," said Edwards.

The Temptations' hit song, "My Girl", is a good example. Edwards criticized the content in some of today's rap music.

"Whenever you degrade a woman, something is wrong with you. That is the greatest gift a man has ever had," said Edwards to cheers in the audience. He says too many artists in popular music call woman by derogatory names.

This was the first Sunday Evening Forum in Tucson in quite a while. Historically it brought speakers like Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King Jr., and Sandra Day O'Connor. A spokesperson for the forum says they are hoping to bring big-names back to Tucson for their forum.

After Edwards spoke  his band The Temptations Review Featuring Dennis Edwards performed at Fox Theater and benefits went to the Tucson Urban League.