Lenny Kravitz used to watch Motown legends such as Jermaine Jackson take on Diana Ross play poker at label boss Berry Gordy's house when he was a boy.
He said: ''It was the first time I saw that high-end glamour and wealth.
''I couldn't even fathom that people lived like that - long driveway, a hangout room with every pinball machine, every videogame imaginable.
''And the house went on for days, suites here and rooms off rooms. They'd be playing poker at night, Jermaine Jackson, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, so I was just blown away.''
Lenny - who is of mixed race - was glad to see black people achieving success and treated as equals in society, and said he was further given self confidence to be who he was by his mother.
The 47-year-old musician added to The Guardian newspaper: ''She wanted me to know exactly who I was, because the reality is that you're not any more this than that when the split is 50-50.
''She said, be proud of both sides, honour them both, but make sure you know that society will never let you be anything but black. It was a good lesson, though I don't know how much of it I understood at the age of six.''