I grew up on Diana Ross. I can still recall The Supremes' appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and the impact they had on me. It wasn't racial -- though she does deserve to be lauded as one of the first crossover performers (yes, after Lena Horne but decades before Michael Jackson) but that wasn't what made her special to me.
She was one of the few young female stars who came into my family's livingroom through the magic of television and dominated. No wussy Leslie Gore. No hippie/dippy Michelle Phillips. Miss Ross was always front and center, always dripping in jewels, high atop the coolest shoes, always looking as though this was about her, and she was seizing the moment.
of female empowerment I encountered.
I didn't discover Babs until much later. But just as I felt liberated when I saw Fanny Brice steering a tugboat while belting "Don't Rain on My Parade" or Katie Morosky speaking her mind in The Way We Were, Miss Ross showed me that women can unashamedly love what they're doing and revel in their own success.
So tonight, I'm thrilled to be paying homage to the old girl. Rumor has it she's opening with my favorite song, "The Boss." Yea!