Smokey Robinson goes viral for mispronouncing Chanukah: ‘I’m gonna need a do-over’

Singer-songwriter can be heard pronouncing the name of the Jewish holiday ‘cha-noo-ka’ instead of ‘haa-nuh-kuh’

Clémence Michallon
New York City
Tuesday 15 December 2020 22:52
Smokey Robinson walks the red carpet at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party on 9 February 2020 in Los Angeles, California
Smokey Robinson walks the red carpet at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party on 9 February 2020 in Los Angeles, California

Smokey Robinson has gone viral for accidentally mispronouncing the word “Chanukah”.

The singer-songwriter has poked fun at himself, saying he needs a “do-over” to correct the mistake.

Twitter user Jeff Jacobson said on the platform he had ordered a video from Robinson via the website Cameo, which enables users to purchase video shoutouts from various celebrities.

Jacobson said his mother grew up close to Robinson’s childhood home in Detroit, Michigan, and that he wanted to “reunite them” via video for Chanukah. “But the video takes a strange twist,” he added.

In the clip, Robinson can be heard pronouncing the name of the Jewish holiday “cha-noo-ka” instead of “haa-nuh-kuh”. The word is also commonly spelled Hanukkah, which might explain the confusion.

The Motown icon can be heard in the video kindly telling the video’s recipient: “How are you doing again? Nice talking to you again.” He then explains that the woman’s sons “wanted me to wish you ‘happy Chanukah’”. “I have no idea what Chanukah is,” he adds, “but happy Chanukah, because they said so. Anyway, God bless you babe, and enjoy Chanukah. Have a wonderful time.”

Robinson took the mishap in stride, sharing the video on his own Twitter timeline. “In the spirit of 2020, I'm gonna need a do-over!” he wrote in response to Jacobson. “Please DM me your mother's phone number so we can try this again.”

Jacobson wrote in another tweet: “By the way, @smokeyrobinson can pronounce it any way he damn well pleases. He is a true legend whose music has been with me since birth.

“His kindness and generosity of spirit has already made this most-unusual 2020 Chanukah one of my family’s most memorable. Also, my mom says hi.”

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