Chaka Khan and Mary J. BligePeople do what they feel they must. Whatever it is — within reason — works for me, so long as  they are not trying to “convert” me.

It was surprising to hear about talented and likable season 7 “American Idol” runner-up David Archuleta leaving show business  to devote his time to Mormon missionary work. (He didn’t say it would be indefinitely.)

But he is certainly not the first entertainer to make such a move, or something similar.  Vanity (biggest hit: “Nasty Girl”) is a minister today (her real name is Denise Matthews), as are Joe Simon (“The Chokin’ Kind,” “Drowning in the Sea of Love”), Joseph Simmons (“Run” of Run-D.M.C., now known as “Rev. Run”), singer/actress Della Reese, football superstar Roosevelt Grier, Demond Wilson (Lamont on “Sanford and Son”), Dan Mountney (former WDIV/Channel 4 news anchor and reporter), and former sexy singer/actress/dancer Lola Falana, among others.

And then there’s Al Green who became a reverend in 1976, but gradually returned to singing his R&B hits, including “Love and Happiness,” “Let’s Stay Together” and “I’m Still In Love With You.”  But he still a pastor, in Memphis.

SO MANY people, yours truly included, feel so much compassion for Valerie Simpson following the August passing of her longtime husband and collaborator, Nick Ashford. 

The two were born to be together and their marriage would have no doubt continued on and on. 

Those same concerned fans have been wondering how Simpson has dealt with that horrendous blow, what she is doing now and what is in her future.

In response, PBS will air a special titled “An Evening With Valerie Simpson” in February, hosted by “PBS NewsHour” senior correspondent Gwen Ifill.

Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, as a team, are forever etched in our minds.

IT IS ALWAYS special when hot stars of today get together with the great veterans, such as Mary J. Blige and Chaka Khan appearing together on “2011 VH1 Divas Celebrate Soul.” And I recently ran across a picture of Mary Wilson, original member of iconic Supremes, and superstar Beyoncé.

When exploring etymology (hey, I had to look that word up too!), we are informed that the word “fan” — as in supporter — actually evolved from “fanatic” which was introduced into the English language around 1550, meaning “marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion.”

Of course, the word today usually has a “less intense” interpretation.

WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND? — Reader Janice Marcum says Jill Scott, whom she describes as “an excellent singer and performer,” is “real” and “long overdue” for the full level of recognition that she so richly deserves.

But she also believes that Jennifer Hudson, who is “everywhere,” is to a certain extent overrated. 

“Others who are just as good are not getting the attention she’s getting,” said Marcum.

If you have thoughts you would like to share, e-mail them to or mail them to me at PO Box 02843, Detroit, MI 48202.

When she was the much-liked judge on “American Idol,” Paula Abdul was known for sometimes being a bit “ditzy.” 

Apparently not much has changed because on a recent episode of “X Factor” she said to a contestant, “You manifest with abundance in the heart department.” (Wow, talk about awkward sentences!)

Speaking of television, one of the simple pleasures of life for people like me is to change the channel whenever a televangelist appears on the screen. Ditto for dumb reality shows.

BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW…that Ne-Yo’s real name is Shaffer Chimere Smith Jr., and that “Chimere” is an African word that means “God’s deed.”

MEMORIES: “Vision of Love” (Mariah Carey), “He’s So Fine” (the Chiffons), “Just the Way You Are” (Billy Joel), “Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me” (Gladys Knight & the Pips), “Shake You Down” (Gregory Abbott), “All Night Long (All Night)” (Lionel Richie), “Twilight Time” (the Platters), “War” (Edwin Starr), “Disco Lady” (Johnnie Taylor), “I’ll Take You There” (the Staple Singers).

BLESSINGS to William Ross, Cynthia French, Joseph French, Shirleen Fort, Bruce Knight, Michael J. Powell, Diane Perkins, Jo Thompson, Jim Burns and Gisele Caver.

WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Alan Cohen:  “The life available to you is far greater than the one you have accepted.”

Let the music play!

(Steve Holsey can be reached at and PO Box 02843, Detroit, MI 48202.)      

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