Harrell Holmes Jr. portrays Melvin Franklin, one of The Temptations, in "Ain't Too Proud" at the Kennedy Center Opera House from Feb. 13-18. (Courtesy photo)
Harrell Holmes Jr. portrays Melvin Franklin, one of The Temptations, in "Ain't Too Proud" at the Kennedy Center Opera House from Feb. 13-18. (Courtesy photo)

Harrell Holmes Jr. started a singing group called The Little Temptations in the third grade. At such a young age, that鈥檚 how much he loved one of Motown鈥檚 most successful groups. 

His desire to emulate The Temptations began when he saw the NBC television miniseries about the group in 1998. With his mother’s blessing, Holmes pursued his desire to be a Temptation by putting together his own group to perform in his elementary school talent show.

鈥淚 remember watching that movie on VHS every day,鈥 said Holmes. 鈥淚 tried to learn as many of the moves as I could.鈥

Hitting the Stage

Fast forward to now, Holmes portrays The Temptations bass vocalist Melvin Franklin in the national touring company of the musical 鈥.鈥 This production makes a return engagement to the Kennedy Center, Feb. 13-18. 

Audiences will hear songs that the group made famous, including 鈥淢y Girl,鈥 鈥淛ust My Imagination,鈥 鈥淕et Ready,鈥 鈥淧apa Was a Rolling Stone,鈥 and many more. The musical goes through the group’s rise, personnel changes, tension among group members, family life, and hardships.

Holmes has been in the national touring company for 鈥淎in鈥檛 Too Proud鈥 since 2021. The road to this opportunity came because Holmes鈥 parents saw his potential in childhood. After a tryout for 鈥淪tar Search鈥 in Detroit, Michigan, Holmes was on his way to Los Angeles, California to compete on that show. Though he did not win, his family was all in and moved to Los Angeles. 

Holmes then became a contestant on 鈥淎merican Idol鈥 and made it through the show for a few weeks. He performed a Stevie Wonder song, which caught the attention of the multi-Grammy award-winning composer and singer, who gave him a scholarship for high school tuition. All of this happened to Holmes as a teen.   

Enrolled at Hollywood Polytechnic High School, Holmes took in all the classes offered for those in the music business. He is still close to many of his teachers from the school.

鈥淚 took songwriting, performance, dance, and music business classes. It was a one-stop shop for what you needed to know about the music business,鈥 said Holmes.

Being a Temptation

As a member of the 鈥淎in鈥檛 Too Proud鈥 touring company since 2019, Holmes brings to the stage that distinctive deep bass for which Franklin was known. 

Lead vocals in The Temptations were primarily sung by David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks in the original group, then by Dennis Edwards when he joined. Franklin had two songs recorded by The Temptations, on which he sang the lead vocals. Those were 鈥溾 and

Since starting the tour, the most moving moment for Holmes was meeting Otis Williams, whose book 鈥淭he Temptations鈥 was the foundation for 鈥淎in鈥檛 Too Proud.鈥

鈥淥n the first day of rehearsal, I got off the elevator, and saw Otis,鈥 said Holmes. 鈥淲e were introducing ourselves, and Otis got to me and said, 鈥業 know who you play.鈥 鈥淚 almost started crying on the side. I was like, 鈥榃hat is my life?鈥欌

For Holmes, his life has come full circle from living his childhood dreams in his hometown of Saginaw, Michigan.

鈥淓ver since I was eight, I鈥檝e wanted to be a Temptation,鈥 Holmes said. 鈥淭o now have this opportunity to bring their story to life is a dream come true.鈥

For 鈥淎in鈥檛 Too Proud鈥 ticket information at Kennedy Center Opera House, go to.

Brenda Siler is an award-winning journalist and public relations strategist. Her communications career began in college as an advertising copywriter, a news reporter, public affairs producer/host and a...

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