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CHICO DEBARGE said wryly, “I be wantin’ those years back!” He was making reference to the years he spent incarcerated when he could have been working on career development.
T’KEYAH CRYSTAL KEYMAH, who was so funny as a regular cast member on “In Living Color,” very much wanted to audition for the 1995 hit movie “Waiting to Exhale” but, she said, “they wouldn’t even let me audition.”
The parts went to Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, Whitney Houston and Lela Rochon.
TOMMY DAVIDSON (also from “In Living Color”) said he was surprised that he had a full house at the Palms Theater because Luther Vandross was appeared down the street at the Fox Theater that same night.
EMERY KING, former WDIV/Channel 4 news anchor, said his most embarrassing career moment came when he was working for a TV station in Washington, D.C. It was in the dead of winter and he was doing a live report on the lawn of the White House.
At one point the news anchor on the air at the time said, “So Emery, what’s going on in there right now?” Freezing, annoyed with the question, and not realizing the cameras were rolling, King said, “How am I supposed to know?” (There may have been an expletive in there!) Of course, he was mortified when he realized that thousands of viewers had heard this!
VENTRILOQUIST Willie Tyler had not planned on leaving Detroit, but practically every time he would leave town for performances, he would return and find that his west side home had been broken into.
SHERYL LEE RALPH, who was promoting her beauty and fitness video at the time, told me that she hates it when Black women wear makeup not suitable for them. For example, black or dark blue lipstick, she said, “makes them look like Lily Munster.”
DESPITE THE Temptations being with Motown for decades, Eddie Kendricks said he and Berry Gordy had fewer than six conversations. Kendricks was outspoken and he said Gordy didn’t like that.
But we think it might also have had something to do with Kendricks reportedly having a “special fondness” for Diana Ross, and you know Gordy wasn’t going for that.
ONE TIME Melba Moore mentioned in an interview — in a concerned way — that Freddie Jackson, with whom she had once recorded, was having some financial problems. I printed that. Word got back to Jackson and he called, furious.
I think he badly overreacted. He denied what Moore said, then added sardonically, “Do you know where she lives?” Furthermore, he invited me to come to his home to see that he was doing just fine. (I saw no reason to do that!)
JEFFREY OSBORNE had a great song on his first solo album titled “Congratulations.” Several years later, Vesta recorded a similar-sounding song, also titled “Congratulations,” with similar lyrics. “It was just different enough for me to not be able to sue,” said Osborne, ruefully.
THE O’JAYS were asked whether or not it was difficult to go to sleep after the excitement, noise, etc. of a concert because the performer is still so wound up.
“You might go to bed,” said Sammy Strain, “but you ain’t goin’ nowhere near sleep!”
LUTHER VANDROSS, a huge Supremes fan, said when he was younger he attended a concert by the trio at an arena. Luther, who smoked at the time, was excitedly looking through the bleacher seats at Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson heading to their dressing room.
Some ashes from his cigarette wafted down and landed right on the toe of Florence’s beaded, high-heeled, expensive shoe. She looked up, very angry. Luther was so embarrassed he jumped back so she couldn’t see him!
CARL WEATHERS came to Detroit on one occasion and liked Vernor’s Ginger Ale so much that he began having it shipped to him in California.
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