It’s An ‘A’ Thing

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    This has been noted before, but we are doing it again because of its significance: The overwhelming majority of female singers from Detroit have a first name that ends with an “a.”

    Think about it: Anita Baker, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Ortheia Barnes, Rena Scott, Martha Reeves, Sandra Feva, Freda Payne, Erma Franklin, Della Reese, Thornetta Davis, Priscilla (CeCe) Winans, Belita Woods, Ursula Walker,

    Laura Lee, Elbernita (Twinkie) Clark and Dorinda Clark-Cole of the Clark Sisters, Kierra (Kiki) Sheard, Brenda Franklin (one of Aretha’s backup singers), Alberta Adams, Sandra Bomar, Agatha (Kim) Weston, Telma Hopkins and Vanessa Bell Armstrong.

    IS THERE no end to the exploitation of Michael Jackson? Reportedly, there is now a cologne called “M” — based on Jackson’s DNA! The company is called “My DNA Fragrance.” What next?

    Sade has finally finished her new album, titled “Soldier of Love.” Why such a long delay? She hasn’t had a new release since 2000! Maxwell, who knows a lot about unbelievably long delays between releases, has heard much of the new Sade album and says the fans will love it. He even went so far as to label it “monolithic.”

    Speaking of new albums, if you like the smooth, warm vocal stylings of Harry Connick Jr., be sure to pick up his latest release, “Your Songs.” He puts his unique spin on familiar material such as “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” “Smile,” “Just the Way You Are,” “Mona Lisa” and “The Way You Look Tonight.”

    That was silly and shortsighted of ABC to cancel Adam Lambert’s appearance on “Good Morning America” because of his raunchy performance at the American Music Awards.

    IN A RECENT column there was an inaccuracy regarding the first family of jazz, the Marsalises. There are six brothers. Branford plays saxophone, Wynton plays trumpet, Delfeayo plays trombone and Jason plays drums. Ellis III and Mboya are not in the music business.

    Some people get tired of Jesse Jackson popping up everywhere. One of our readers, Greg Hendricks, described him as “an eternal opportunist and photo-op king.” Another reader identifies him as “Jesse ‘Where’s-The-Camera?’

    Jackson.” What I hate is the media setting up people like Jackson, Al Sharpton, Cornel West, etc. as spokespersons for the African-American community. Basically they think and speak for themselves, just as we all should.

    Queen Latifah’s latest album, “Persona,” has basically been given the cold shoulder by radio programmers. She says it has a lot to do with sexism in the hip-hop world. (She returns to rapping on “Persona.”)

    There could be some validity to her claim, but another factor is that lately, Academy Award-nominated Latifah has been singing jazz and standards, and therefore might no longer be taken completely seriously as a hip-hop artist.

    The Beyoncé prime time TV special was very enjoyable, as was the Paul McCartney special. We are looking forward to Jennifer Hudson’s special on Dec. 14, titled “Jennifer Hudson: I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” She returns to her Chicago hometown.

    Norman Whitfield, the famous Motown producer/writer best known for his work with the Temptations, received wide praise during his lifetime. But Jimmy Ruffin recently described Whitfield as “a cold-blooded guy.”

    Believe it or not, I passed a beauty shop the other day that was called “Curl Up and Dye.” (What a horrible name!)

    BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW…that Halle Berry and Mo’Nique both have a “thing” for Doritos.

    MEMORIES: “Everlasting Love” (Carl Carlton), “Let’s Dance” (David Bowie), “I Wanna Be Your Lover” (Prince), “Yes I’m Ready” (Barbara Mason), “Can I?” (Eddie Kendricks), “Fight the Power” (the Isley Brothers), “These Things Will Keep Me Loving You” (the Velvelettes), “Chapel of Love” (the Dixie Cups), “Get on the Dance Floor” (Rob Base and D.J. E-Z Rock), “Groovy Situation” (Gene Chandler).

    BLESSINGS to Ron Banks, Al Hudson, James Ross, Stephanie Ross, Fred Smith, Denise McClung, Thomas A. Wilson, Greg Dunmore, Nick Hood III and Michele Jackson.

    WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Alan Cohen: “Most great ideas and inventions were laughed at before they were appreciated. Hold on to the faith in your vision.”

    Let the music play!

    (Steve Holsey may be reached at and P.O. Box 02843, Detroit, MI 48202.)


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