Reflections: Setting the record straight

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    David Humphries_webWe are all familiar with the great song “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,” written by Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson and popularized by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. (Okay, never mind the bad grammar in the song title!)

    Well, David Humphries, the founder of the “Hair Wars” fantasy fashion extravaganzas which have become a national phenomenon, is facing a problem he had not anticipated — frauds and thieves.

    All over the country, fake “Hair Wars” shows, much like bootleg movies and CDs, are being offered to the public, and most patrons are unaware of the fact that these shows are counterfeits.

    The truth of the matter, says the understandably annoyed Humphries (known to many as “Hump the Grinder”), is that he registered the name “Hair Wars” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Jan. 27, 1998.

    And since that time there have been official “Hair Wars” presentations on the TV shows of Oprah Winfrey and Rikki Lake, among others, as well as in Time magazine and the Wall Street Journal, to name a couple of publications, plus on CNN, “Dateline NBC” and VH1. 

    And let’s not forget the “Hair Wars” tours, the movie and the book, as well as the fact that the organization has made hairpieces for none other than Lady Gaga.

    Humphries has six words for the crooks: “Be original, create your own name.”

    To read about the real “Hair Wars,” visit

    RICKY GERVAIS, the comedian/actor in the news a lot lately due to his outrageous jokes about fellow entertainers at the last two Golden Globe Awards, is to be commended for knowing where and when to draw the line.

    He says, and he is correct, that jokes should only be made about what people do, not what they are, the latter of which is out of their control. Things like gender, race, sexual orientation, height, etc., are just realities that people have nothing to do with. And they are not good, bad or anything in between. They just are.

    Something that amazes and disheartens me is how insensitive and mean-spirited some Black people can be. You would think that the racism African Americans have faced (and still face to a lesser degree) would make them far less likely to be judgmental of others.

    But so often I hear Black people say hurtful and just plain evil things about people of Arabic descent, Caucasians, gays, Black people who do not “conform” to what the criticizers expect, etc. (Some people refuse to be “put in a box.”)

    That kind of garbage has no useful purpose and it is always a huge mistake to paint a whole group of people with one brush., leader of the innovative band Black Eyed Peas (a favorite of mine), sure has a lot of friends in many places. His upcoming solo album, oddly titled “#willpower,” will feature guest appearances by, among others, Jennifer Lopez, LMFAO, Shakira, Mick Jagger and Britney Spears. A release date has not been set, but (he lowercases the “w”) promises an uplifting album, offering “encouragement to those who need it.”

    THE PHYSICAL beauty of show business ladies such as Beyoncé Knowles, Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez and others is so often celebrated — and rightfully so — but there is one who is not acknowledged in that respect as often as she should be.

    I refer to the talented actress Gabrielle Union, she of the dazzling 300 watt smile. The lovely lady has, of course, appeared in many movies and on many televisions shows.

    Not surprisingly, the No. 1 and No. 2 spots on the national blues albums chart are occupied by the late, great Etta James, “Icon” (a collection of greatest hits) and “The Dreamer” (her final album).

    “Icon” has good songs on it, but there are many far better and more extensive collections easily attainable. (Stop by Melodies & Memories, 23013 Gratiot between Nine and Ten Mile Roads, or visit

    Among my favorite songs by the irreplaceable Etta James are “Tell Mama,” “Something’s Got a Hold On Me,” “Stop the Wedding,” “Two Sides (To Every Story),” “Pushover,” “Seven Day Fool,” “Baby What You Want Me To Do?” and her drastically rearranged version of Sonny & Cher’s famous “I Got You Babe.”

    THERE HAVE long been too many Grammy categories, so it is not difficult to understand why the number of categories has been reduced from 109 to 78. There was no reason for Jesse Jackson to get involved. 

    But the always “publicity ready” Jackson is to be commended for not accusing the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) of racism, which this decision had nothing to do with. The reduction involves many ethnicities.

    Kool & the Gang seems to be an odd choice for opening act of the reunion tour of rock supergroup Van Halen, featuring a returning David Lee Roth. (The show comes to the Palace of Auburn Hills on Feb. 20.) But this pairing is not nearly as bad as the one from a number of years ago: smooth pop crooner Johnny Mathis with R&B belter Jennifer Holliday opening!

    Speaking of good singers, because of President Barack Obama singing a line from “Let’s Stay Together” at a recent fundraiser at the Apollo Theater, an additional 16,000 copies of the song were immediately sold. You can just picture the smile on Al Green’s face!

    Star Jones, whose departure from “The View” was filled with hard feelings and accusations, returns for a guest appearance on Feb. 22. She and Barbara Walters have patched things up.

    BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW…that Jasmine Guy had three records on the national charts in the early ’90s, one of which, “Another Like My Lover,” reached the Top 10.

    MEMORIES:  “The Glamorous Life” (Sheila E.), “Can You Feel It?” (the Jacksons), “I’m Every Woman” (Chaka Khan), “Hold On” (En Vogue), “It’s You That I Need” (Enchantment), “Get Up Offa That Thing” (James Brown), “On Broadway” (George Benson), “So Much in Love” (the Tymes), “Ribbon in the Sky” (Stevie Wonder), “Don’t Look Any Further” (Dennis Edwards, featuring Siedah Garrett).

    WORDS OF THE WEEK, from George Patton: “Success is how high you bounce when you hit rock bottom.”

    Let the music play!

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


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