I continue to be amazed at the young black women today who can tell you everything about Marilyn Monroe, but have no idea who Diana Ross is or how she helped pave the way for generations of black female singers to be able to do it all.
At the height of her career, Diana was a bonafide singing sensation and movie star. She was everything black female entertainers continue to aspire to be and she did it all at a time when America was not very open to turning on their televisions and seeing gorgeous brown women in sequins and feathers.
Yes, honey, no one could rock glitter and a boa like Miss Ross. Diana was everything- a beauty icon, a fashion icon, and everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Luther Vandross have spoken about what it meant to them to be exposed to Diana’s likeness at such a young age.
If you are one of those women who have never experienced the power of Miss Ross, do check out these video below.
In 1983 Diana staged a free concert in Central Park that attracted an estimated 800,000 people. It began to rain and, well, the rest is the stuff legends are made of.
At one point Diana is singing Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand, and the wind is blowing so hard she is nearly blown over. But in true diva fashion, Diana started posing it up. It was at that point I truly believe she solidified herself as an icon.
Fast forward to the 6:10 mark and then sit back and watch the magic. The entire video is worth watching however, and is interspersed with newspaper clippings applauding her amazing showmanship.
And surely you have all seen this video. Diana and Michael Jackson performing together at one of her concerts in the early 80s. Peep Diana’s stage presence. My gawd, the woman was on fire.
And finally, a rare 1973 performance of Diana singing Ain’t No Mountain High Enough in London. It just went on and on and on… LOL