"FLO BALLARD WAS RAPED AT KNIFE POINT BY FORMER NBA PLAYER"
Reginald Harding, (May 4, 1942September 2, 1972) was a professional basketball player.
A native of Detroit, Michigan, Harding, a 7'0" center, was selected by the Detroit Pistons in the fourth round of the 1962 NBA Draft. He became the first player drafted into the NBA without having played in college.
Before being drafted, Harding was a stand out ahtlete and considered the best looking boy on campus, but he had problems. If girls danced with him at school dances held on the weekends, that following Monday (at school) he would seek them out and stalk each one of them.
For a few seasons he was the team’s starting center, and on a good night Reggie would score maybe 12 points and grab a dozen or so rebounds. But he was grossly overmatched when the opposing center was someone like Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain.
Harding's basketball career was cut short at age 26 by a number of personal problems. As a player, he spent time in jail and was rumored to carry a pistol in his gym bag, and caused problems with his teammates with antics such as threatening them and the Pacers' general manager Mike Storen with his gun (the latter occurring on television). Harding also often struggled with drug addictions.
Harding returned to the streets of his youth and fell in with the wrong crowd. The story is legendary of him putting on a ski mask and robbing his neighborhood liquor store at gunpoint.
“What are you doing, Reggie?,” the proprietor asked of the seven-foot-tall robber.
“It ain’t me, man,” Reggie replied.
According to Peter Benjaminson's "The Lost Supreme: The Life of Dreamgirl Florence Ballard," Harding raped Florence Ballard, a member of The Supremes, at knifepoint in 1960.
In September, 1972, at 30 years of age, Harding was on the streets, chatting up some friends. A car drove by, shouted his name, and some words were exchanged. Someone in the car opened fire with a gun. Harding was dead, a bullet through his skull and brain.
Joseph Arrington, Jr. (August 8, 1933 August 13, 1982), better known as "Joe Tex," was an soul singer-songwriter, most popular during the 1960s and 1970s. His style of speaking over music, which he called 'rap,' made him a predecessor of the modern style of music.
Tex was not only an electrifying entertainer with a phenomenal stage show, he was also an accomplished songwriter who penned two of his biggest hits: "I Gotcha," and "Ain't Gonna Bump No More With No Big Fat Woman." In Soul Train's early years, Tex was their biggest draw. He got a bigger audience than James Brown. His dance routines (with a rigged mic) accompanied by Soul Train dancer Damita Jo Freeman are still discussed at Soul Train reunions.
A feud between Tex and James Brown started on tour when Brown accused Tex of copying his stage moves, Brown also began dating Tex's wife. In response, Tex wrote a song called "You Keep Her." They played a few more shows together until Tex mocked James Brown's act of throwing a cape over his shoulder and screamed "please-get me out of this cape." Brown later fired a gun at Tex in a nightclub.
On August 13, 1982, Joe Tex died at his home in Navasota, Texas, following a heart attack, just five days after his 49th birthday.
Jack Leroy "Jackie" Wilson, Jr. (June 9, 1934 January 21, 1984) was an American singer and performer. Known as "Mr. Excitement", Wilson was important in the transition of rhythm and blues into soul. He was known as a master showman, and as one of the most dynamic singer and performers in R&B and rock history.
Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley (on separate occasions) admitted to watching and studying Wilson from the wings. Michael Jackson often said Wilson was the greatest entertainer on earth. Jackson also helped pay some of Wilson's medical bills when he became ill.
Wilson was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Jackie Wilson #68 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
Wilson's personal life was full of tragedies. On February 15, 1961 in Manhattan, Wilson was injured in a shooting. It is said the real story is that one of his girlfriends, Juanita Jones, shot and wounded him in a jealous rage when he returned to his apartment with another woman, fashion model Harlean Harris, an ex-girlfriend of Sam Cooke.
Freda Hood, Wilson's first wife, with whom he had four children, divorced him in 1965 after 14 years of marriage. His 16-year-old son, Jackie, Jr. was shot and killed on a neighbor's porch in 1970 and two of Wilson's daughters also died at a young age. His daughter Sandra died in 1977 at the age of 24 of an apparent heart attack. Jacqueline Wilson was killed in 1988 in a drug related incident in Highland Park, Michigan. The death of Jackie Jr. devastated Wilson, and for the next couple of years he remained mostly a recluse, drinking and using marijuana and cocaine.
Wilson's second marriage was to model Harlean Harris in 1967 with whom he had three children, but they separated soon after. Wilson later met and lived with Lynn Crochet. He was with Crochet until his heart attack in 1975. However, as he and Harris never officially divorced, Harris took the role of Wilson's caregiver for the singer's remaining nine years.
Stepin Fetchit (May 30, 1902November 19, 1985) was the stage name of an African-American comedian and film actor, real name: Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry. Perry parlayed the Fetchit persona into a successful film career, eventually becoming a millionaire, the first black actor in history to do so. Unfortunately, Perry would mismanage his money and file bankruptcy in 1947.
But, before he did, he used to wear tailored suits and his Rolls Royce was spelled out in neon lights on the passenger door.
Allegedly, Jean Harlow was spotted with him on a few occassions in the mid 1930's, before her death. This information is omitted from all of her biographies but was revealed in a book on black stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Speaking of Jean Harlow, the new book, "Tarnished Angel," makes some explosive allegations that include: Her Sicilian stepfather (Marino Bello) beat her, bugged her for sex, milked her money and kept her in line by threatening to release porn pictures of her from her teens.
Harlow lost her virginity at 14.
Harlow was also suspected of killing her second (abusive) husband but was never charged.
Harlow was involved with Hollywood journalist Ben Maddox but allegedly shared him with Clark Gable. Although both men denied the Tinsel town buzz about their decade-long close friendship, "Harlow knew about them" and didn't mind. Maddox was a powerful figure around Hollywood. He liked beautiful women and handsome men.
Meanwhile, she openly changed outfits on movie sets, flaunting her nude body to the delight of the mostly male crews and she was said to enhance her sex goddess image by icing down her nipples to make them more prominent.
When she wasn't seducing the rich and famous, Harlow was said to walk the streets offering men money to bed her.
OLD SCHOOL TIDBITS:
Tidbits..Actress Denise Nicholas (pictured above, Room 222, Heat Of The Night) was once married to singer Bill Withers (Lean On Me, Ain’t No Sunshine) they divorced as unsubstantiated rumors of domestic violence spread.
Tony Turner reveals in his book, "All That Glittered," that the last tour Flo Ballard went on with the Supremes was filled with drama.
Hotel management had stopped allowing liquor into Flo's suite. 'I assumed Berry Gordy had told management, Florence Ballard's suite is 411, there's to be no liquor delivered to 411, so if any phone calls come from that room for liquor, take the order and say thank you and never deliver it.'
Flo was infuriated and loudly complained to me, 'They've got security sitting outside my door, they want to know any time I leave the room, Berry Gordy's next door with Diana, he's got the door cracked, he's sticking his head out all the time."
Tony Turner reveals in “All That Glittered,” that Flo Ballard told him that Mary Wilson used her shoulder to cry on after Marvin Gaye married Berry Gordy’s older sister, Anna.
Kevin Ammons reveals in his book, “Good Girl, Bad Girl,” that Whitney Houston’s former publicist Regina told him that Whitney Houston and Robyn Crawford once visited Michael Jackson at “Neverland Ranch,” and right before their eyes, allegedly, "Michael’s cheeks started slipping. He’d allegedly had implants to give him high cheekbones and they just came loose and slipped right down his face, resting on his jaw."
Tony Turner reveals in his book, “All That Glittered,” that the Supremes were the first ladies of the Motown picnics. At their picnic table, they ate off fine china with sterling silverware and crystal glassware and cloth napkins and a huge arrangement of fresh-cut flowers. And then there were the Marvelettes and the Vandellas, they were at a table close by drinking beer and eating off paper plates. Diana Ross made the comment, “How common!”
Turner also reveals, Flo once told me, “I was instrumental in starting the Supremes and I asked Mary and another girl to join and then Paul Williams (Temptations) came along and asked if Diana could join too. I never wanted Diana in the group, I didn’t like her voice because it wasn’t that strong but Paul was friendly with Diana at the time and since he helped me with my singing career, I owed him a favor and said okay.”
Turner adds, Flo also told me that Diana was allegedly going out with Smokey Robinson and he was married and she claimed, Diana was allegedly going out with one of the Holland brothers (Holland-Dozier-Holland) as well and his wife allegedly came and tried to beat Diana up and Flo had to jump in and save her. “All that stuff I did for that b**ch, all the times she was sticking her neck out, opening up her big mouth, running after somebody’s boyfriend or husband, getting beat up and I would have to save her butt. Now look what she’s doing to me.”
In 1972, Hollywood took an interest in black model Naomi Sims as a potential actress and offered her the title role in the movie Cleopatra Jones, but when Sims read the script, she was appalled by the racist portrayal of blacks in the movie, and she turned it down. Sims ultimately decided to go into the beauty business for herself.
When singer Stephanie Mills married Shalamar singer Jeffrey Daniel (2nd photo, left), a lot of people were reportedly against the marriage. Mills, a Broadway star, marrying a former Soul Train dancer was unthinkable, it's even rumored that a friend of Mills, allegedly tried to block the limo from leaving the church after the wedding. Mills once stated in an interview that Daniel’s friends were very unfriendly towards her and reports of domestic violence surfaced shortly after the marriage. Allegedly, singer Jody Watley (2nd photo, center) wasn’t happy about the marriage either, because she had been linked to Daniel prior to the marriage. The couple divorced a short time later.
Chaka Khan reveals in her book, "Through The Fire," she was visiting her mother and realized she had forgotten her house keys. She called her husband Richard and asked him to leave the key in one of their secret spots. It was late at night when she returned home. She was eight months pregnant with her second child and tired. She soon realized that Richard had forgot to leave the key and she had to break a window to get into the house.
When Richard returned, she lit into him and hit him-Richard responded by hitting her in the eye.
Chaka went and got a shotgun, she loaded it and pulled the trigger, she missed him but he hightailed it into his office, slammed the door and turned off the lights. Chaka busted down the door and shot up the room. It's a miracle he didn't get hit.
When she came to her senses, she felt bad that her young daughter had witnessed the incident. Chaka called the cops, lied and told them that a intruder was in the house and he had punched her in the eye.
When the cops arrived, they obviously didn't believe her story and handcuffed Richard and took him to jail.
After sitting down and thinking about what happened, Chaka came to the conclusion, "So there I was, an almost felon, the mother of a five-year old, with another baby on the way, a screwed up marriage and bills on top of bills. And there were thousands of women out there envying Chaka Khan, thinking if only they were me."
Chaka Khan reveals in her book, “Through The Fire,” that Ike Turner had fallen in love with Chaka Khan and Rufus. He flew us to L.A. and put us up at the Hollywood’s ‘Jet Motel,’ and said he wanted us to record in his studio. As it turned out, what Ike really wanted was for me to become an Ikette. I was like Hell, no! Ike had his brilliance but he was insane back then.
The classic song, “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong is one of the few songs to go platinum for three different artists, Gladys Knight, Marvin Gaye & Roger Troutman. Marvin Gaye's version was the most successful.
Chaka Khan reveals in her book, next thing I know, I was working with Stevie Wonder on the lyrics for “Tell Me Something Good.” And because I was jazzed about having Wonder on our album, I forfeited a co-write credit. A lot of people can’t believe that. They ask me if I’m bitter. Did I feel exploited? If I had been able to predict that song would be a smash, would I have done things differently? No, I’m not bitter. In a way, I was exploited but that happens to everybody no matter what field he or she is in.
In Related News: Chaka Khan reveals in her book, “Through The Fire,” I met Prince because he tricked me, sometime in the 1970’s, while I was playing San Francisco. I was in a hotel when my phone rung. It was Prince pretending to be Sly Stone. I said, “I didn’t know you were in town!” It had been a long time since I’d seen or spoken to Sly Stone. Could I come meet him at the studio he was working in? “Sure!”
When I got to the studio, we couldn’t find Sly or anybody else for that matter, until we stepped in this one little room and spied this skinny little guy with a humongous Afro. I asked, “You seen Sly?” He replied, “That was me that called you.” I asked, “And who the hell are you?”
Even back then Prince was very seductive. As we started talking I wasn’t able to stay pissed at him for long and we kept in touch. Sometime later, I was with a friend who was playing Prince’s album. One song caught me. “Ooh, that’s a great song!” I never forgot that song, “I Feel For You.” Several years later, I did a cover of that song and it became one of my biggest hits.
Margaret Maldonado reveals in her book, “Jackson Family Values.” In 1974, Joe Jackson (Jackson family patriarch) invited Cheryl Terrell who was in her early 20’s to a party he was throwing while his wife Katherine was away. After everyone left, allegedly, Cheryl spent the night with Joseph in his and Katherine’s bed. Cheryl got pregnant and informed Joe that she intended to have the baby. Joh’ Vonnie Jackson was born in 1974, the day after Michael’s birthday.
Although Joe placed his name on the birth certificate as Joh’ Vonnie’s father, he tried to cover his tracks to keep Katherine from discovering what was going on but it took a matter of days for Katherine to learn that there was a new baby girl in the Jackson family.
In the past, Katherine had always turned a blind eye to Joseph’s escapades but this time would be different. She told each of her children to have absolutely no contact with the mother or child. “If you see her or have contact with her, you are making what your father did okay and it is not okay. I will never accept that girl into this family.” Most of the children respected their mother’s decision with the exception of Rebbie.
Rebbie allegedly felt bad for the child and uncomfortable about her mother’s attitude. She began to check up on the child and a close relationship began to develop. Rebbie allegedly asked Janet to come visit the girl. Katherine discovered what was going on behind her back and confronted Janet who allegedly admitted she had met Joh’ Vonnie. Katherine told her never to see Joseph’s daughter again. The next time Rebbie called Janet to come visit, Janet allegedly said, “I’m sorry, but if it hurts Mother, I can’t come.”
In the 1970’s it was an appropriate outrage (led by late actor Calvin Lockhart) in Black Hollywood when it was announced that a white producer was interested in turning King Tut’s life into a film starring white actor Richard Thomas, well known as John-Boy on the "Waltons." The outrage was so intense that the project was shut down shortly after it was announced.
Shortly after Teddy Pendergrass split from Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes he assembled his own group of Blue Notes and they once shared a bill with Bobby Womack.
Pendergrass reveals in his book, “Truly Blessed,” that the arrangement was ‘we would alternate opening and closing with Womack. Bobby had been around a little while longer than us and I guess he felt that he should headline every night. All through the tour he bitched and moaned until one night he decided to do something about it. It was our night to close the show but shortly before show time, we got word that Bobby would try to pull something.’
I announced from the stage that the show was over, good night! The houselights went up and we headed offstage. I hadn’t even gotten backstage, and what do I see but Bobby and his band hauling ass, heading for the stage, ready to go. I ran backstage where I found Bobby in the wings, he looked perfectly healthy to me. “You are not going on!” I shouted in his face. “This damn show is over! I just closed it!”
He replied, “No, Ted, you just opened it, he replied sarcastically. “I’m going on.”
When the emcee announced that Womack had recovered and was going to play, the crowd applauded. I stood backstage glaring and thinking; he’s not going to get away with this.
I shouted for the sound man ‘unplug that asshole.’ The stage went dark and silent and that was it. You should have seen the look on Bobby’s face when he realized he wasn’t going to be headlining that night.
A member of Womack’s crew threatened to shoot me, forcing me to hide out in my dressing room.
Tony Turner reveals in his book, “All That Glittered,” that Florence Ballard once told him a story about one of Berry Gordy’s parties at his pool house. Of course Flo wasn’t invited but Mary Wilson allegedly kept hammering at her to go along uninvited and Flo said she thought it was a bad idea but she went anyway. She got all dressed up and turned up with Mary.
“Tony, you could have heard a pin drop. After the gasps had died down. She told me, “Honey it was like when Moses parted the Red Sea, everyone moved aside for me to glide by.”
They were all glad to see her but nobody could appear too thrilled because Berry Gordy and Diana Ross were watching. Flo said she stayed clear of Berry Gordy and he made no attempt to acknowledge her existence. He was stretched out on a chaise and Diana was stretched out on the next chaise. They had their court jesters around them, so Flo and Mary sauntered over to the other side of the pool, to the bar area and soon enough, Diana started to make little trips over.
Flo said every time Diana came over the whole place got quiet. The first time, she came over and asked Flo how she was doing. Flo said, “Pretty good, and you?” Diana went back to Berry and they started whispering. Five minutes later she was back, she’d heard that Flo’s two singles flopped. How had her career been going since? Flo answered, “Fine.” Diana went back and whispered to Gordy, everyone else went back to their conversations with an eye and ear open in Flo’s direction.
Five minutes later Diana’s back again, commenting on Flo’s weight (size 9), and isn’t that the dress Flo bought four or five years ago when she sang background for Diana, and how it's amazing that the dress still fits.
Flo answered “Yeah,” very loudly and asked Diana, “Ain’t that the same wig you wore five years ago?” Every time Diana comes over she gets bitchier, and Flo gets louder.
Flo’s slugging cocktails, she’s warming up now, Diana comes over to talk about Flo’s weight again and when she leaves Flo turns to Mary and screams, “IF THAT FUCKING BITCH COMES OVER HERE ONE MORE TIME I’M GONNA KICK HER BLACK ASS!"
Everyone stops breathing, all eyes swing from Flo over to Diana and Gordy and the next thing you hear is Berry Gordy saying, “Who brought this woman here?” He’s shooting daggers at Mary, “Whoever brought this woman here better get her out of my house!"
Flo stormed out with her head held high.
IN RELATED NEWS:
Tony Turner reveals in his book, “All That Glittered,” after Flo Ballard left the Supremes, a few months later, she was in New York signing with ABC records. Flo was also being chauffeured around in a limousine and she had decided to rent a luxurious penthouse apartment in New York.
She rented a penthouse where the elevator opened right into the apartment. The place was huge and packed with antique furniture. Flo was decked out in a mink jacket and a designer dress.
Meanwhile, the new Supremes were in town to perform on the Ed Sullivan show. At first, Flo said she and her husband were going to go down to the show as invited guests. But right before the show they got a call back saying there was a mistake and there were no seats available.
Flo told me to go to the live taping and come back to her penthouse to watch the show on TV.
I went to the rehearsal and I told everybody about Flo’s new penthouse and Diana Ross immediately started questioning me. Shockingly, she even invited me up to her suite for pizza and soda so I could tell her everything. I told her about the foyer, the elevator with the gates, the elevator man and everything. She replied, “Well, I am sure it’s not that big.”
I said, “Oh, she’s got three maids rooms and she’s got four couches in the living room. Diana said, “I’m sure it’s not four couches, Tony.” I said, “I can count.” Diana added, “I don’t see why she should need all of that. Still, I told her about the fabulous views at night with all the lights of the city and she said, “Well, you know those penthouse suites get very sooty. Anyway, it’s not really hers, it’s no better than renting a hotel suite because it’s somebody’s else’s house so don’t get too excited about it.”
Then she started lecturing me, “You have to learn the difference between quality and quantity dear.”
That was that, she was through with the conversation and it was time for me to leave.” I had been dismissed.
I left and went over to Flo’s, she was lounging on a big double bed with caviar, Ritz crackers and a magnum of Dom Perignon. As we watched the Supremes on TV, Flo kept screaming at the screen, “Mary! Wake Up!” “Mary, can’t you see, it’s all Diana?”
When the performance was over, Flo looked at me and said, “Honey, you didn’t tell me it was this bad.” Get me another tin of Beluga caviar!”
Events leading up to Teddy Pendergrass’ car accident, in his own words. "Nearly two years to the day after my thirtieth birthday, I came to another crossroads, but not one of my choosing. It was March 18, 1982, I arranged to meet my friend Yvette at her house and take her to an exclusive downtown Philadelphia club I frequented. We were just friends and we passed a few pleasant hours listening to music, sipping champagne, dancing and chatting with the regulars. An ‘attractive woman,’ approached our table and reminded me that we had met before at a soul food restaurant, across the street from “Philadelphia International.” I did vaguely recall meeting this woman. I invited her to sit with us and we passed the time in lighthearted conversation and laughs, just having a great time."
"It was getting late and Yvette reminded me that she had to get up early for work the next day. It seemed rude to leave so abruptly, so I said to the other woman, “Come on, you can ride with us, I promise I’ll bring you back here after I drop off Yvette.” “All right,” she replied. A few minutes later, the three of us were driving through Philly in my Rolls Royce, laughing and talking about nothing in particular.
We had said good night to Yvette at her house and were heading back downtown to Philly along Lincoln Drive, a notoriously winding road that runs almost the length of the city. As we were approaching the curve, I braked to slow the car but it didn’t respond. I instinctively gripped the wheel and hit the brake again. Nothing. Then I heard a loud crash as we hit the metal guardrail. After that, I remember my head hitting the ceiling of the car, then a terrifying blur before the car came to a sudden, violent stop."
"I was still sitting in the driver’s seat, and my head was bent down in an odd position. When I tried to move, nothing happened and I was instantly overwhelmed by the wrenching fear that something was terribly wrong. When I tried to speak my voice was so soft it was barely audible.
Slipping in and out of consciousness, I heard someone say, “Don’t worry Teddy, we’ll get you out,” and then I closed my eyes."
Source: “Truly Blessed,” by Teddy Pendergrass
*Contrary to what you just read, numerous media outlets reported that Teddy Pendergrass was returning from a Philadelphia 76’ers game (when the accident occurred). Allegations persisted that he attended the game with transvestite, Tenika Watson, who had a long rap sheet for prostitution. And, a black publication made the allegation that Pendergrass had been spotted at a few events prior to the accident in the company of Watson. Also, it has always been rumored but never proven that a second passenger was in the back seat (when the accident occurred) and she was whisked away because she was the wife of a famous man.
Tony Turner reveals in his book, “All That Glittered,” ‘For the Supremes farewell show in Las Vegas, me and a rich friend called Flo Ballard about twenty times, trying to convince her to come to the show. We told her we would fly her in by private plane and have a limo waiting for her that would transport her to a hotel suite, all paid for. We even promised to take her shopping and have a makeup artist do her makeup; all she had to do was show up.
But, Flo was too upset. She wasn’t coming. She was missing the big farewell and she sounded all worn out.’
‘You could tell she’d been crying, you could hear her kids in the background, and her husband Tommy hadn’t showed up yet and I just felt sad because this was not the way I had ever thought it would turn out, with the original Supremes going on three separate roller coasters headed in three separate directions and Flo’s going so far and violently down.’
When the farewell show was all over, nothing had really changed. Diana and Berry went off to the blackjack tables to gamble big money on their movie-star dreams, Mary escaped to her suite with her best friend and Cindy partied the night away. While Flo was left in Detroit, broke, drunk and beat. Someone had shot her moon. And I couldn’t understand what had happened to her dream until I knew her nightmare.
Meanwhile, after Diana Ross left the Supremes, the group was being booked into less and less prestigious places and Motown continued to deprive them of the attention they deserved. They couldn’t have Diana Ross, who’d been billed as the prima donna since 1966, out there on her own and have the Supremes neck and neck and have the Supremes surpass her. So the press releases were not put out for the Supremes and their tour schedule was never published and the new Supremes never appeared in the same places as Diana Ross.
Diana never mentioned the Supremes and I never once saw Berry Gordy with the Supremes, he was always with Diana.
After Diana got married it just became a trio instead of a duo. The first time I saw them to me it seemed like nothing had changed, her husband was almost an accessory. It was still Diana and Berry Gordy descending the staircase together, coming down to the Empire room, meeting the people afterward. Diana still looked to Berry Gordy for everything and whatever she wanted she got.
Sometimes Gordy would ask, “How’s Mary? How’s she’s doing? I’d tell him, “Oh yeah, she’s in Vegas, she’s fine.” And he’d say, “Oh good, give her my regards.” That was all, it was like talking about a person he never really knew.
Sadly, Teddy Pendergrass reveals in his book, “Truly Blessed,” that he has experienced insensitivity regarding his disability from famous peers and fans, as follows: “Anyone who saw Barbara Walter’s Thanksgiving 1988 20/20 profile would think she thought the world of me. But off camera, she asked abruptly, “So, are you broke?” I didn’t understand why she asked that or what she was getting at. Later, when she asked about my sex life, I struggled to be good-natured but I couldn’t help wondering, why would anyone think I would answer a question like that.
"Another hurtful encounter was when my nurse and I ventured out to a Detroit mall. I was approached by fans and stopped to chat. The crowd around me kept growing, so I tired to keep the exchanges short. I was talking to someone when one particular woman said hi.
“Hi,” I replied, and then turned my attention back to the first person. “Well I’ve got my mother here with me and I just want to-“ the woman said loudly.
I stopped, looked up and as nicely as I could, replied, “Excuse me. I can’t talk to everyone at the same time.
The woman shot me a dirty look and marched off. An hour later, I was wheeling toward the exit when the woman suddenly ran up alongside my nurse and me. “So, you couldn’t talk to me!” she shouted.
“Let’s get out of here,” I said to my nurse. People were stopping and staring at me. I glanced around for a security guard or anyone who could help.
The woman continued shouting at the top of her lungs, “Why, you crippled motherfucker, you! Who the fuck do you think you are?”
I stopped, turned around in my chair and stared at her. It was one of the most painful moments of my life. The damage was done; the cruel words had pierced my soul. If I could have gotten up out of that wheelchair, I might have killed her. Instead I rode back to the hotel, wishing I could cry.
During his solo success at Motown, rumor has it that Rick James was looking to work with a female singer (songwriting and production). It was allegedly suggested to James, 'Why not work with the first lady of Motown, Diana Ross?' James flat out refused to work with Ross under any circumstances. Instead, he happen to discover Teena Marie and the rest is history.
While Teddy Pendergrass was recovering in the hospital from an auto accident that left him paralyzed. His wife had phoned Johnnie Wilder and explained to him how depressed Pendergrass was.
Pendergrass had known Johnnie for years but they had never spent a lot of time together or been close friends.
Wilder was a talented singer, songwriter and musician. He was the lead singer of the group Heatwave. In the late 70's, they topped the charts with "Boogie Night," "Groove Line," and the classic romantic ballad "Always And Forever," which Johnnie sung lead on.
Pendergrass says, "Johnnie understood my problem in a way no one else could: A 1979 car accident had left him a quadriplegic. While I was in rehab, he paid me a surprise visit. My spirits rallied for the moment."
A few weeks later, Pendergrass arrived at Johnnie's house in Ohio. "Despite what had happened to him, Johnnie seemed at peace with himself and his situation. Johnnie had continued to write and produce and he was especially proud of his home studio."
Over the next few days, we went out a few times and attended church together. At one point, Johnnie and I started working on some music in the living room. Johnnie had a drum machine which I played with a pencil since I had limited movement of my hands. We probably could have really come up with something if I hadn't kept falling asleep.
Johnnie was the first person who really understood what I was going through. He was a living example of how life after paralysis could be if you decided to make it so.
Sadly, Johnnie died in his sleep last year, cause of death remains unknown.
Source: "Truly Blessed," by Teddy Pendergrass
Soul singer Smokey Robinson fears his addiction to golf is getting out of hand - he wakes before dawn to play. The Motown legend, 67, is so passionate about the sport he'd rather play a round than sleep. Robinson says, "I love golf more than any other sport I've ever done. Golf is the heroin of sports. There is nothing else you could call me at 4.30 in the morning and say , 'Smokey, let's get up and do this,' and I would say 'Where?'"
Lenny Kravitz has produced three cuts for the upcoming "Labelle," reunion album featuring the original members, Patti LaBelle, Sarah Dash and Nona Hendryx. In Related News: The first time around, the group's career came to a screeching halt, when Hendryx was allegedly walked off stage during a performance in Baltimore. She was taken away from the show in an ambulance after allegedly suffering some kind of breakdown. The night before, allegedly Hendryx got into a fist fight backstage with a group member.
Rick James reveals in his book, "Confessions Of Rick James," that he had a manager who smoked weed at his desk and let his schmucks take care of his business. He thought he was too rich to get involved, and after doing what little he did, he would go to his house in Hawaii to relax some more. "If I had known then what I know now, I never would have let that bald head son-of-a-bitch near my business."
"I use to tell Teddy Pendergrass how he was ripping his ass off but Teddy was so busy fucking over people himself-and sleeping with other men's wives and thinking he was God's gift to the Universe, I just said, "Fuck it, Teddy. You'll see in the long run, and I was right."
After he finished a four month tour with Teena Marie. He returned home and received his first royalty check for "Come Get It," and "Bustin Out," it was for 1 million and eight hundred thousand dollars. He moved into an estate and bought a Rolls Royce and a Jaguar.
HOLLYWOOD'S FIRST BLACK POWER COUPLE:
Actor Don Mitchell (Ironside) and actress Judy Pace were the first black power couple in Hollywood. After "Ironside," ended, Mitchell became an successful entertainment executive and a shrewd businessman with lucrative investments.
The couple was one of the first black couples to occupy a mansion in the Hollywood Hills. Mitchell also rolled around town in a Rolls Royce. Rare feats for a black man in the 70's.
Meanwhile, Judy Pace made a name for herself in "Cotton Comes To Harlem," and "Peyton Place." She also lost out to Diahann Carroll for the role of "Julia." Pace was once deemed "the most beautiful African-American woman in Hollywood" by Daily Variety. Pace became the first face of Fashion Fair cosmetics and was its spokesmodel.
Pace is currently featured in the play, "The Divorce," in Los Angeles.
Mitchell and Pace would become the parents of two daughters. One of those daughters, Shawn Mitchell is now a very successful attorney, her sister, Julia is an actress and will appear in the upcoming film, "Bill," with Jessica Alba.
Judy's sister Jean was married to music legend Oscar Brown, Jr.
After Mitchell and Pace divorced. He was briefly linked with Lola Falana after appearing on a soap opera with her and Judy married late baseball star Curtis Flood.
Rick James makes the following allegations in his book, "Memoirs Of A Super Freak."
"Once while in a Hollywood hotel I was visited by Ola Ray. Ola and I had been friends long before she ever did Michael Jackson's "Thriller," video.
"We'd started our relationship as lovers and slowly ended up being good friends. Ola was a smoker, like myself, and we enjoyed each other's company immensely."
"Once while visiting me we ran out of drugs. She decided she wanted me to come with her to cop some more. We went to a friend of hers named Billy. I had met Billy, known to every one as B.T., in my earlier years in L.A. and I had never really cared much for him. I always felt he thought he was God's gift to everybody."
"Billy was a handsome fellow whom women were attracted to."
"When Ola and I arrived at his apartment he was more friendly to me than before and we got along great. I ended up never leaving and we became the best of friends. I ended up moving in with him. He gave me my own private room."
"Billy had always been one of the most successful drug dealers in Hollywood and he was high profile. He loved expensive clothes and beautiful women-I mean lots at one time-expensive restaurants and expensive cars-not the usual taste for a young Black male in Hollywood dealing dope to celebrities. He loved to surround himself with the best Hollywood had to offer."
"Billy and I would go to a club and the next thing you know half the club would want to follow us. Seems everyone had heard about our wild parties. I was buying coke from Billy most of the time. I smoked coke but he didn't."
"One day after watching me binge he refused to sell me any more dope, saying he didn't want to see me die. I was pissed."
"I stayed with Billy off and on for about a year. After that I was cut off. I moved out to the beach. I was getting high one day, all the sudden someone started beating on the door. It sounded like thunder. I asked who it was. The voice said, "Jim Brown."
"I never knew quite how to refuse Jim Brown. Richard Pryor was a good friend of Jim's and I think Jim didn't want to see what happened to Richard happen to me."
"After talking to me and seeing I was okay, he left."
Rick James makes the following allegations in his book, "Memoirs Of A Super Freak."
"I had OD'd in Buffalo and was rushed to the hospital where the doctors quickly brought me back to life. I was kept there for observation. Without warning, I decided to get up and leave. My Mom had come to the hospital to stop me from leaving. When she saw me getting dressed to leave we got into a yelling match. I pushed my Mom to the floor just to get her out of my way. As I looked down and saw my beautiful little mother on the floor, I knew my life was terribly, terribly wrong. I never forgave myself for that moment."
Debbie Allen was a dear friend of mine. She wasn't a party girl and we never had sex, in fact she was more like an older sister and a very strong lady. She was doing a show on Broadway, which had sold out. I told her I wanted to come to the show and she said she'd love to have me come. She said she would buy tickets with her own money just to make sure I would come. I sent her a bunch of roses and told her when I'd be there.
When it came time for me to go, I couldn't get out of bed. I had two women in bed with me and we were totally out of it. My phone rang, it was Debbie. "Rick, get your ass up and bring your ass to the theater. I'm not playing." I tried to give Debbie a million excuses but she just said: "Fuck that. You'd better be here."
"I dragged myself out of bed and called a limo. When the limo arrived, me and my two ladies piled inside. We arrived at the theater and ended up sitting in the light booth where they lit the stage. I found a couch in the corner, laid down and never did see the show.
After the show, we went backstage and Debbie dragged me into her dressing room and slammed the door. She threw me into a seat and sat on top of me so I couldn't move. She told me I was killing myself and throwing my life away. She spoke to me in a way no one ever had. I'd always liked Debbie, but feared her too. I just looked at her, knowing she was completely right. Maybe if someone like Debbie was in my life I would not be doing what I was doing. But, for some reason, I doubt it.
Despite Debbie's pep talk, I stayed in New York for a few more months, spending most of my time with my two ladies, we ate out, saw plays, danced and got as high as we could.
One of my all-time favorite films is the 1969 movie, "The Learning Tree," based on Gordon Parks' adaption of his autobiographical novel starring Kyle Johnson as Newt in the lead role (above, second photo).
The film was selected to the National Film Registry in the Library of Congress.
What few people know, Kyle Johnson is the biological son of actress Nichelle Nichols, (Uhura on Star Trek).
In the 1960's, actor James Edwards (above, left) career was watched very closely. He was 6'2, lean but muscular with chiseled features and dark brooding eyes. He was also well spoken and articulate.
It was speculated that James Edwards would be the first black heartthrob in Hollywood history.
His career seemed on the upswing when Stanley Kramer cast him in "Home Of The Brave." In 1954, Edwards was scheduled to appear opposite Dorothy Dandridge in "Carmen Jones." But when Otto Preminger shot the film, Harry Belafonte replaced Edwards as Dandridge's love interest probably because Preminger was involved with Dandridge and Belafonte was married, making him less threatening to Preminger that Edwards was.
"He was at the time the only really famous black actor," according to Diahann Carroll.
But, Edwards was rumored to be a heavy drinker and notorious womanizer. He became his own worst enemy.
He was dressing like a star, acting like a star but no one was beating down his door to give him any work.
Damning stories began to circulate which affected his career, significantly. Edwards was linked with a glamorous blonde star under contract to MGM. At a party, the two were said to have argued. In a fit of anger, Edwards allegedly slapped her.
Most in Hollywood sadly watched Edward's decline.
Diahann Carroll was transfixed by the handsome Edwards although he drank constantly, from morning to night.
He bragged to Carroll how he had sex with the wives of powerful Hollywood producers who had sought him out.
Though he frequented restaurants in Beverly Hills and Hollywood, he was rarely welcomed. It was known in town that he might explode at any given moment.
Despite this, Carroll was drawn to him. She waited in anticipation for the moment when their relationship would be consummated. One evening after she sat in a bar with him, he took her upstairs to a bedroom and asked her to remove her clothes, which she did. He just sat there staring at her for the next hour and then he got up and left.
Years later, Diahann Carroll saw Edwards on Sunset Boulevard. She was devastated by his looks. The alcohol had ravaged him and he seemed very sad and defeated. "We were both late for appointments, so we wished each other luck and wen tour separate ways. A few months later, I read in the paper that he had died."
According to webcommentary. com: Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx and Morgan Freeman all owe James Edwards a huge debt of gratitude.
Source: "Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams," by Donald Bogle
When Rick James was serving his sentence at "CRC," he got into a fight was a big, tattooed redneck, Aryan-power inmate who got mad at James because he was selected for the prison baseball team. One day he stayed back after practice and sucker punched James in the bathroom. He didn't know James use to box as a youth at the YMCA. Rick fucked him up bad and was about to finish him off when another inmate intervened and said, "Don't, you only got a short time, don't fuck it up."
The fight ignited a race war between the black and white shot callers. The Crips, Bloods and Mexicans were on James' side and the Aryan Powers were on the dude's side. Guards broke it up before violence occurred.
When James got transferred to Folsom and was walking through the yard. Over two thousand inmates stopped talking and lifting weights when they saw James. They started singing his songs, cheering him and asking about the Mary Jane Girls.
The first day there, James told the sergeant that he wanted to make a phone call, the sergeant replied, "Well, boy, if you want to make a phone call, you'll have to sing for it." Then he tried to pass it off like he was joking and said, "OK, you can make the call."
The day before James was scheduled for release, he got a call from his fiance (Tanya's) mother who said, Tanya had a bridal shower and she'd shoplifted a pair of shoes for it. She was being sent back to jail for a probation violation.
James was heartbroken.
Source: "Memoris Of A Super Freak," by Rick James
Teddy Pendergrass was scheduled to present Bill Cosby an award at a function in Philadelphia. He says, "Bill came on stage, then surprised me and everyone else there by walking up to me, dropping a microphone in my lap and saying, "I'm not leaving here until you pick up that mike." This was totally unplanned and I was taken aback. As I sat in my wheelchair, all I could do was shake my head no. I couldn't even venture to guess why Bill was doing this. Did he think he was helping me? That putting me on the spot like this and making me struggle was somehow good for me? If Bill really knew me, he'd know how much I'd overcome just to be there. I thought Bill would get the message when I refused, so you can imagine my shock and horror when he shouted, "I'm not leaving here until you pick up that mike!" A nervous silence fell over the crowd. I was embarrassed, humiliated and furious. Didn't he realize how devastated I'd be if I failed.
Rick James makes the following allegations in his book, "Memoirs Of A Super Freak."
"The first time Teena Marie and I made love was during a tour in Pittsburgh. She wrote a song about it called "Portuguese Love." She told me later that I was the first one to ever give her an orgasm. We made love from sundown to sunup. But, we were never boyfriend and girlfriend. I would always tell her that I prided myself on maintaining my freedom. Sometimes if she was angry about other women she'd curse me under her breath when we sang, "Fire And Desire."
"Once during a tour I was headlining in Atlanta. Teena wasn't billed on this date. Two weeks before the tour, I told her it would be good for her album sales to sing, "Fire And Desire," with me on this gig. There would be eighty thousand people there. She said she would come do it. Come time for the date, she comes to my dressing room with my sister Penny. I asked her if she was going to sing. She said not unless I paid her something like $10,000 dollars. I got so fucking mad I raised my hand at my sister. Penny said, "Just do it motherfucker. You'll hear from our attorneys." I was so hurt. My own sister was stabbing me in the back. Teena I could see, but not my own blood."
I was on stage. The show was going well. During "Fire and Desire," I was facing the crowd and I heard this loud uproar. I looked around and Teena was on stage. I was still pissed but played it off. She sang great. But after the show I didn't want to see her face, especially after I found out that my brother Roy, who was not working with me on tour, paid Teena her money. Her album was very big at the time but I never wanted to admit that she was a big draw on tour. In retrospect, I admire her for standing up to me like that."
Although Fredi Washington who starred in the original "Imitation Of Life," (2nd photo) and Nina Mae McKinney (no photo available) were considered the first black glamour girls in Hollywood, Lena Horne was in a league of her own.
Horne was the first black actress given star treatment in terms of having special designer gowns, eating in the stars part of the segregated commissary and really associating with the upper echelons of the studio. Horne could even borrow gorgeous designer gowns to wear to parties and industry events.
Max Factor even created a special makeup (Light Egyptian) for Horne. Hazel Washington (Hollywood's first studio licensed black hairstylist) was brought in to style Horne's hair.
Within a short period of time, Horne grew even more chic: in looks, in dress, in attitude.
Lena Horne was the first black Hollywood star.
Source: "Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams," by Donald Bogle
RICK JAMES & LINDA BLAIR:
Actress Linda Blair (The Exorcist) came to Buffalo to see me and I was very happy to see her. A few months before her visit she had called to say that she had-had an abortion, and that it had been my child. She said she was in the middle of shooting a movie and was starting to show, and she didn't think I would care anyway.
She was wrong. I did care deeply. I loved Linda and it hurt me that she would choose to abort our child without even wanting to talk to me about it first. I still look back on her choice with sadness and wonder about our baby, and how having that child might have changed me life.
One night during her visit, I took her into the studio and we sat down at one of my synthesizers. I was showing Linda how to write a song on keyboards and I started playing. I told her that in composition you're ok as long as you keep playing. It's when your fingers stop moving that you're in trouble. The next thing I knew I was composing a tune about her called, "Cold Blooded."
"She was the inspiration for that song."
Studio chief Harry Cohn (third photo) was enraged by stories of a Sammy Davis/Kim Novak (center) dalliance which first surfaced after Chicago newspaper columnist Irv Kupcinet reported that Davis had spent time with Novak's family in Chicago. Cohn was puzzled. "I could understand Harry Belafonte," Cohn reportedly said, "but him!"
For years, even decades afterward, the rumors ran rampant that the Mafia, at Cohn's behest, put a hit on Davis and caused the car accident in which he lost his eye.
Kim Novak later acknowledged that the studio told her not to see Davis and "put guards in my house and all that." She heard the stories that Cohn threatened to take out Davis's other eye unless he left her alone.
Novak believed that Davis "did get frightened by the threat of the studio."
Oddly, despite rumors to the contrary, Novak says, "He was like a friend. But it was not romantic." She adds, "But even if it were, I saw nothing wrong with that."
The studio's attitude, however, made her defiant. "I felt like who's going to say because he's black that you shouldn't see each other. He was a great friend."
Yet, when Novak was asked whether Davis was in love with her, she said, "I think he was."
Source: "Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams," by Donald Bogle.
RICK JAMES & THE MARY JANE GIRLS:
Rick James reveals the following allegations in his book, "Memoirs Of A Super Freak."
"After I released "Throwin Down," I decided I wanted to put together a girl vocal group, which had been a lifelong dream."
My original concept was called, "The Colored Girls." I showed the concept to Prince's manager: Three girls in negligees. Next thing I know, here's Vanity Six. That taught me not to show my cards too quickly. I was going to assemble a group of four girls and I would make sure they'd be able to kick Vanity Six's asses.
"I assembled a group that included Joanne "Jo Jo" McDuffie, Candice Ghant, Sharri Wells, and Kim (Maxi).
All four of them needed a lot of work: Clothes, hair, skin, teeth, the whole nine yards. I even sent them to Seth Riggs, a well-known vocal teacher in Hollywood. Jojo sang lead and background on their first album. Maxi was the weakest vocalist in the group. She always needed help on the vocal side."
The only Mary Jane girl I ever had a sexual involvement with was Maxi (above, far right).
We'd do dope and f**k our brains out! I was actually very fond of her. Maxi was a strong girl and very sensitive. All the other girls got terribly jealous over our affair. It started out hot and heavy but later slowed down, mostly to take the pressure off her from the other girls.
They always needed my attention as confirmation of their talents and the other girls took it badly that I was paying extra attention to Maxi. I had confrontations with each one, except Candy over Maxi.
Jojo was really into the bible and at the time didn't drink or smoke. She was the most intelligent of the girls but I thought she was the nicest one and the least likely to ever back stab me. Mom said I was wrong and unfortunately, Mom turned out to be right.
I gave the girls a good salary and on tour I had security watch them like hawks. Guys like Sugar Ray Leonard, Malcolm Jamal Warner, football stars and basketball stars were chasing the girls down. Unless a dude was really on his job and had his shit together, he got no Mary Jane action. The girls would sometimes bitch and moan but that was the way it was.
In the early 1970's, Isaac Hayes was on fire! Not only was he a platinum selling artist, he also wrote and produced for Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, etc. He helped create the "Stax" sound. Hayes was pulling in nearly five figures a week.
He kept a million dollar account in a local bank in Memphis, Tennessee. This is where he met a pretty black bank teller named, Mignon. They began dating, when Hayes proposed, he gifted her with eight engagement rings, one for each finger.
For her wedding gift, Hayes gave her a matching convertible Jaguar.
The couple resided in a mansion with maid service.
Hayes also became the spokesperson for a line of customized cadillac's named, "The Pimp Mobile."
By 1976, Hayes was no longer selling big, leading to the closure of his label, "Hot Buttered Soul."
Hayes and his wife were forced into bankruptcy, owing over $6 million.
Over the years, Isaac Hayes was able to recover financially.
Margaret Maldonado reveals the following allegations in her book, "Jackson Family Values."
During the recording of "2300 Jackson Street," there was a lot of infighting taking place between the brothers. Not a day went by that one or more of them wouldn't be on the phone in an uproar. Jermaine complained about Tito spending too much time with his cars and model airplanes. The buzz on Randy was that he was never around when they needed him. They nicknamed him "Grand Opening," because they said he had time for the opening of a new restaurant or nightclub.
But nothing was as bad as the back-and-forth bickering between Jermaine and Jackie. Both of them wanted to sing the lead vocals on every song on the album.
The recording was not the only topic of discussion. The girlfriend merry-go-round gave them all something to talk about. Jackie, now divorced from Enid and done with Paula Abdul, had begun to see a girl named Victoria. At the same time he was seeing actress Lela Rochan.
One day Victoria would be at the house. The next day it would be Lela. Neither of them knew about the other's existence. It got even worse when Jackie and Victoria became officially engaged and Jackie continued to bring Lela to the house.
That was mild compared to what was going on with Randy. Randy was seeing a beautiful Persian girl named Eliza, whom he'd met at a nightclub. Eliza was also dating Gabriel Horowitz, a professional gambler and former husband to L.A. prosecutor Marcia Clark. Randy was crazy about Eliza but not quit crazy enough that he didn't have another girlfriend on the side. He had met Alijandra Loaiza and rented her an apartment. The relationship remained hot until the afternoon Randy made a surprise visit to the apartment and found Alijandra in bed with her best friend's boyfriend. Randy was so upset he ran outside and sat crying on the curb.
Kevin Ammons makes the following allegations in his book, "Good Girl, Bad Girl."
By 1998, Robyn Crawford had allegedly taken charge of Whitney's career, allegedly, replacing Cissy Houston. When Whitney bought her lavish estate and moved Robyn in, Cissy was supposedly livid.
According to Ammons' then girlfriend, Regina Brown (Whitney's former publicist), "Nobody liked Robyn but everyone was intimidated by her. A perfect example is the time Robyn allegedly forbade Regina to travel with Whitney to Europe, allegedly telling her, "If you go, you may not come back alive!"
Whitney insisted Regina go on the trip. From then on, Robyn allegedly treated her like a piece of shit every chance she got. "We were all sitting around one day when she came after me with claws bared, but some of the people in the room grabbed her and held her back." I looked at Whitney and she was sitting against the wall with a smirk on her face.
Allegedly, Whitney's brother Michael once responded to Robyn's bad treatment of him by grabbing her by the throat and choking her before he came to his senses.
After Whitney started dating Bobby Brown, she would take off to Atlanta to see him.
Robyn would call, and call, demanding to know where Whitney was. Regina refused to tell her. Robyn would yell, "You fucking liar. I'm going to kick your ass!"
According to Regina, Robyn would call all night, screaming obscenities and threatening Regina with physical harm unless she told her where Whitney was.
Kevin and Regina would eventually turn off the ringer so they wouldn't be bothered.
(A CHANGE IS GONNA COME)
Bobby Womack reveals the following in his book, "Midnight Mover."
"One day, Sam Cooke called me and asked me to come over. Sam was standing in the middle of the living room when I arrived. He didn't say much, he just cued up a song.
We listened, a great booming sound crashing out of his massive studio speakers and when it ended I had nothing to say.
The song was 'A Change Is Gonna Come.' I didn't know what I could say. I knew what I was thinking, though.
I looked at him and he stared right back, he looked right through me.
What do you think? He asked, staring at me hard.
'It sounds like death.'
'Death?' Sam hadn't expected that.
'Yeah, it's just so eerie, I told him. 'It gives me the chills, Sam.
Sam leaned over and stopped the tape machine. Then real slow, he turned back to me. Then he said, 'I promise, I won't ever release that song.'
Sam said, it will never come out, Bobby. I'm scared of that song.' It will never be released- 'Not while I'm alive.'
Why do you think I am afraid of this song? He asked. I said, 'it sounds like death, like somebody died or somebody is going to die.'
That's what I'm afraid of. 'Death.' It ain't the one, he kept repeating.'
Womack says, "I tried to take back my opinion because I wanted others to hear the song, it is a beautiful song but he told me I'd already spoken my bit.
"A Change Is Gonna Come" was written and first recorded in 1963 and released under the RCA Victor label shortly after Cooke's death in late 1964.
Kevin Ammons makes the following allegations in his book, "Good Girl, Bad Girl."
"Around the time Whitney Houston's album "I'm Your Baby Tonight," came out (before Bobby Brown) she renewed her relationship with Eddie Murphy. This time it was a sexual relationship.
According to Ammons, Whitney's childhood friend and assistant Robyn Crawford was livid and asked Whitney to stop seeing him, Whitney ignored her and continued the relationship.
She was finally beginning to appreciate the perks of being able to date openly and to go out in public with someone she cared about."
Whitney was crazy about Eddie and then Eddie dumped her.
"Whitney was still carrying a torch for Eddie Murphy and she wanted to get back at him for dumping her. She thought if he saw her with other guys, he would become jealous and come back to her."
Whitney had a brief fling with Randall Cunningham (former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback) at her place in Antigua, allegedly, Cunningham was hooked. According to Ammons, Cunningham told Whitney's former publicist, Regina Brown, that he was in love.
He would call and Regina would allegedly put him on the speaker phone so Ammons could listen. Ammons said, "The guy sounded upset and couldn't understand why Whitney wouldn't talk to him."
Meanwhile, Regina called Whitney and told her the photographs of her and Randall had arrived. Whitney told Regina to give them to the rags (National Enquirer and Star tabloids).
Kevin talked Regina into selling the photos of Whitney and Randall for $20,000. England's Sunday Mirror sent a courier with a check.
The following week, the photos were plastered all over the tabloids in this country and abroad.
All of this just to make Eddie Murphy jealous. Despite this, the couple never reconciled.
According to Bobby Womack, "Ray Charles was a notorious womanizer. He'd chase women harder than anybody, always hitting on the background singers. One day I heard he had a girlfriend coming to see him. He told me how beautiful she was, gorgeous figure, long legs. She showed up and man, she was plug ugly."
"Sometimes I couldn't figure Ray out. He was blind and obviously couldn't tell if an ugly woman told him she was hot but he would and could play chess."
"That impressed me. All the band would try and beat him, but he'd kill everybody at the game. I couldn't work out how he knew where the chess pieces were. I'd lived and worked with the Blind Boys, so I knew a lot of moves blind people had but I never figured how Ray could do that."
Kevin Ammons makes the following allegations in his book, "Good Girl, Bad Girl."
Robyn Crawford's behavior was so bizarre it had everyone in the Houston family worried. She would throw temper tantrums daily, threatening to kick everybody's ass, cussing people out right and left and making the staff at Nippy, Inc. feel miserable.
Ammons claims Robyn told him, "If Whitney goes through with this marriage to Bobby Brown, I'll hold a press conference and tell everyone about Whitney and me!"
Allegedly, according to Ammons, she was constantly telling him that she was going to sell to the press the story about her alleged relationship with Whitney and everyone at Nippy, Inc. She also claimed to have information about a drug deal involving Bobby Brown that no one knew about.
Ammons adds, "Whitney's father John was at his wits end. He had tried everything he could to quiet Robyn but she was out of control and continued to stir up trouble wherever she went."
Ammons says John approached him and allegedly said, "We've go to do something about that motherf**king b**ch, she's ruining my family and driving everybody nuts. She's lost her grip on reality. I'll pay you $6,000 if you put the fear of God in her." Ammons replied, 'I have a problem with that John. He raved on for several more minutes and I continued shaking my head no."
I was dating Whitney's former publicist Regina Brown at the time, she asked me, "Why can't you attack Robyn?" It's no big deal, you'll be doing everybody a favor and you would also get a record deal out of it."
On the day of the Whitney Houston & Bobby Brown nuptials, Whitney had a black Porsche delivered to Robyn's house to ensure she would be in a good mood and not cause a scene or embarass her at the wedding. Also, Whitney's late father John hired his own bodyguards to keep an eye on Robyn. He was afraid she'll carry out her alleged threats to kill Bobby.
Later, when we got back to Regina's apartment, I noticed three beautiful statues sitting on her table. I asked her where they came from and she said they had been sent to Whitney but she liked them so much she had decided to keep them for herself.
"Regina, that's the same thing as stealing," I said. "How can you do that to Whitney?" "It's not stealing because Whitney will never know. She has no idea what people send her."
This would be the beginning of the end for Regina, despite Whitney paying her six figures a year, buying her a new Mercedes, paying the rent on her apartment and her air fare, Regina made a big mistake.
Finally, a book on the late-great Phyllis Hyman. The book is titled "Strength Of A Woman," and is written by Jason A. Michael. Hopefully, this book will be adapted for film. Hyman is also Mary J. Blige's idol.
Singer Miki Howard and the late Gerald Levert were once romantically involved, and that romance spawned one of Howard's biggest hits, "Love Under New Management." The song was written during their brief love affair, but was released after their romance had dissolved.
Bobby Womack says, "I turned Wilson Pickett on to cocaine. I really believed I was giving him something good because it was something that worked for me but then I heard he got busted for coke possession in the early 1990's and then I didn't feel so good."
"I did blow for 20 years of my life. To add to the paranoia, my brothers were reluctant to be around me. They knew the threats that were out there against me for marrying Barbara (Sam Cooke's widow). They didn't know what to do but without them I was totally alone, all by myself, and, because my father and mother had been against the marriage to Barbara, there was no family in my corner."
"My mother had said, 'I don't think you should marry that woman, you don't know anything about that woman. That's Mrs. Cooke, that's Sam's wife.'
"I said I was getting married anyway."
"This guy named Gene was my dealer. He was laying coke on me every day. I was spending $700 a week with Gene on coke. Barbara took care of the bill. He would bring it up to the house. I would tell Gene I didn't want it no more. He said, 'Nah, man. Here take it.' Then I'd pour it out on to the glass coffee table in the lounge, chop out half a dozen killer lines on that smoked-glass top and snort most of it before he was at the bottom of the driveway."
Source: "Midnight Mover," by Bobby Womack
Bobby Womack makes the following allegations in his book, "Midnight Mover."
"A blind man playing chess was one thing but flying a plane-now that was different. The first time it happened it tripped me out. I got aboard the rig we were flying on. It seated about 40 and all the band was there. It was Ray Charles' own plane and I saw him up front in the cockpit clicking all kinds of switches and flipping buttons.
"I didn't say anything because no one else did. I thought, 'They'll tell him to come back and take his seat soon. And, sure enough, Ray ambled back, buckled up and the plane began to taxi down the runway."
"However, as soon as we hit air, the buckle was off and Ray raced up the aisle towards the cockpit. I said, "Where's he going?" He never runs like that when he's going on stage to play the piano.'
The pilot handed the controls to Ray. One of the band members filled me in: "Ray always takes over the controls." That freaked me out. 'Oh, Jesus me. Dear Lord,' I prayed. 'There's a blind man flying the plane. This is nonsense. I kept my eyes shut and prayed throughout the flight." Man, I couldn't sleep for thinking about our flights between gigs.
I had also heard that Ray had tried to drive his Caddy one day. Just decided he fancied driving it home so he ordered his driver into the passenger seat, got behind the wheel and set off. He hit some dustbins, two or three cars but luckily no people before the cops stopped him.
One day I asked Ray, "Why do you think you can fly a plane?" He said, "Because it's mine."
When James Brown was four years old, his mother Susie announced without any advance notice or warning that she was leaving her husband, Joe and her young son James for another, better-connected man. Joe begged her to stay and asked, what about James? To which Susie replied with coldness, “You keep him.” Rejection burned straight to James’ soul and he would never completely heal from the abandonment. James Brown would not see his mother again for twenty years.
Years later, after achieving success, James Brown said, “Elvis Presley wanted everything I had, in addition to gospel he wanted to somehow get into soul. I had a man working for me by the name of Bob Patton and Elvis used to call him all the time to get my tapes so that he could play them until he thought he had the sound down. Then he’d rent a theater for himself and friends so he could perform soul music, James Brown style. Not long after he asked me if he could use my band as a backup for a tour, but I couldn’t go for that. That was my band, and my band only.”
Also, few people know that Elvis used to discreetly date James Brown’s late wife Adrianne Rodriquez, they dated several years before she married James Brown.
Source: "James Brown: I Feel Good," by Marc Eliot
Kevin Ammons reveals in his book, "Good Girl, Bad Girl," that Whitney Houston's former publicist Regina Brown (his former girlfriend) was wheeling and dealing, trying to make deals with the tabloids regarding Whitney's wedding photos.
She made a deal for $85,000 plus an additional $2,500 for the whereabouts of the honeymoon.
Now, all she had to do was get her hands on the negatives and have copies made to sell to several tabloids and pocket the cash. No one would be the wiser.
This was her downfall, greed.
Robyn Crawford had long suspected Regina was the leak at Nippy, Inc. but Whitney refused to believe her when she brought it to her attention.
Regina had planned on arriving at the wedding photographer's studio before anyone else and replacing the photos she had copied but Robyn arrived early and going through the photos she noticed several were missing. Robyn was livid and demanded to know what Regina was doing with the pictures. Regina didn't have a answer.
Kevin says, Regina told me that Robyn gave her the coldest, hardest, most hateful look she had ever seen. Then Robyn said, "I know what you're up to, Regina and this time you're not going to get away with it."
Later, according to Kevin, Robyn called and said, "I'm sorry you're mixed up with that b**ch because she's in big trouble. Tell her for me that her days at Nippy, Inc. are numbered. I've always suspected she was the one feeding the tabloids and now I know it. You can also tell her that she's a low-down, double-crossing c**t and I can't wait to see her head roll when Whitney gets home."
A few days later, Regina called Kevin and told him she got fired and that Robyn had tried to kill her by knocking her to the floor and choking her.
According to Kevin, she also said, "John Houston (Whitney's father) is still here and I told him that was the biggest mistake he and Whitney ever made by firing me! I'm sick of this bullshit and I'm gonna blow the lid off this fucking place." I can make more money writing a book than I ever did here. I'm going to tell the world about Miss Goody-Goody and I'm going to tell about how John tried to hire you to beat up Robyn."
I heard John's voice in the background saying, "That would be a very, very big mistake, Regina."
Later that evening, according to Kevin, Whitney called and confronted Regina about writing a book, according to Kevin they spoke for a few minutes and then Regina became belligerent and started cussing her out and then she hung up in Whitney's face.
Whitney called back, Kevin answered, she said, "Kevin, you better talk to her crazy ass and tell her she's fucking with the wrong person. Nobody's going to talk to me like that or threaten me or my family. And tell her for me that she's a low down, double-crossing bitch."
According to the late James Brown, "Things started out rocky between Ray Charles and me. Especially when I was the closer on a bill Ray shared. We were both such intense performers and he followed me as the closer, never an easy thing for anyone to do. Each of us instinctively knew that nobody could follow us. We were the showstoppers and show enders."
"Ray didn't like the fact that I was so young and so strong. And, I didn't appreciate having to do battle for top turf. Also, both of us liked a lot of women, and sometimes the same ones."
"It wasn't until we sat down and talked man-to-man that I could get past my own insecurities and Ray could see who I really was."
"As we got to know each other better, I soon came under his glorious spell and we became the best of friends."
"Despite being blind, Ray always had the uncanny ability to identify me. I don't know how he did it. I was walking down a hall one day and he happened to pass me and suddenly he broke into a big smile and said, "That's James Brown...'Please Please Please' James Brown, isn't it?"
Source: "I Feel Good," by Marc Eliot
"I ran to him when the curtain went down and said, 'Why did you bite me?' and he said, 'Well, I got excited.'" Eartha Kitt on the Hollywood fable that she was once bitten by her "Time Runs," co-star Orson Welles, who called the singer/actress, now 80, "the most exciting woman in the world."
One night, around 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an highway, a dangerous situation in any era. This woman was trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.
Surprisingly, a young white man stopped to help her. This was generally unheard of in the conflicted 60's. She prayed he had good intentions.
The man would take her to safety, he also helped her get assistance and put her in a taxi cab. He noticed she seemed to be in a big hurry, but she managed to get his address before the taxi pulled off.
Seven days went by when the good samaritan heard a knock on his door. To his surprise, a giant console TV was delivered to his home.
A note was attached, which read: "Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway last week. The rain had drenched not only my clothes but my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husbands bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others. Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole."
Rain Pryor makes the following allegations in her book, "Jokes My Father Never Taught Me."
"There were so many hookers coming in and out of the house that I accepted it as a fact of life, as my father (Richard Pryor) had done in his own youth, and their comings and goings resulted in an incident some years earlier that became part of the Pryor family lore."
"It was Thanksgiving. Dad had a lot of friends and family there. He also had a couple of girls stashed in the bedroom, who were still recuperating and it seemed like they were taking their sweet time about going home."
"Finally, Mama called everyone to the table. I remember walking past Dad's bedroom and hearing the girls saying they were waiting on their money, so when I got to the table I sat down and immediately turned to my father. "Daddy," I said. "The whores need to be paid."
"For a moment, everyone looked at me in stunned silence, then they all burst out laughing. When the laughter died down, Daddy went off to pay the whores and then we had ourselves a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner."
Excerpts from Phyllis Hyman's new biography "Strength Of A Woman," by Christopher Whaley @ Soul Tracks:
Standing at 6'0, Phyllis Linda Hyman could dazzle with her beauty and mesmerize with her voice.
It was with Norman Connors that Phyllis made her major label debut in 1976 that planted the seed for the Philadelphia-bred chanteuse to make her mark on the music world. Slowly but surely Phyllis was becoming a force to be reckoned with as hits like "You Know How to Love Me," "Living Inside Your Love," and "Under Your Spell" inched their way up the charts. Unfortunately, she felt Clive Davis and the powers-that-be at Arista Records were not putting the same effort into her album sales as they did for her label mate, Angela Bofill. Although she could pull in an audience, the records were not flying off the shelves and as a result, a disgruntled Phyllis let it be known how unhappy she was at the label. It didn't help that her combination of substance abuse and mental health issues were getting the best of her and would eventually lead to her leaving the label just as Davis began grooming an emerging young singer from New Jersey by the name of Whitney Houston.
Despite a failed marriage, weight gain, insecurities, and missed opportunities (she was slated to play Shug Avery in The Color Purple), Phyllis found a fresh start at Kenneth Gamble's Philadelphia International Records, the legendary label that was once home to the Jackson's, MFSB, Teddy Pendergrass, and the Three Degrees. Her 1986 project, Living All Alone, produced the classics "Old Friend" and "You Just Don't Know" but stopped short at 465,000 albums sold, thus robbing Phyllis of something she long desired: a gold record. With her mental health deteriorating at a steady decline and facing a mountain of financial difficulties (she was in debt to Arista Records), Phyllis would not release another album until 1991's Prime of My Life which finally awarded Phyllis her first number one hit with "Don't Wanna Change the World."
But that would be the beginning of the end for Phyllis Hyman.
Erratic behavior mixed with substance abuse led to no-shows and botched concert appearances. Her weight gain became so uncontrollable that her self-esteem was at an all-time low. She often spoke about her suicidal thoughts as well as expressed how unhappy she was with life in general. She was adored by fans from around the world and those within her inner circle tried in vain to show her how much she was loved and appreciated but it wasn't enough. Life had become unbearable and on June 30, 1995, Phyllis Hyman took her own life. She was a few days shy of her 46th birthday.
Richard Pryor's daughter Rain makes the following allegations in her book, "Jokes My Father Never Taught Me."
"One night we were gathered at the dinner table. Dad (Richard Pryor) was in such a foul mood that the whole house was tense. He kept picking fights with his Black wife Deborah,calling her nasty names but he never hit her though, because this woman knew where to draw the line."
"One of the young servants emerged from the kitchen and went around the table, setting a hot dinner roll next to each of our plates. When she reached for me, I said, "Thank you, Doda," and a split-second later I felt the back of Daddy's hand smash into my face. Nearly breaking my nose.""I put my hand to my face and felt blood pouring from my nose and I immediately burst into tears."
"He shouted, "What did I tell you about disrespecting people?" I replied, "But she asked me to call her 'Doda," I protested. Doda herself came to my defense, her head bowed, too afraid to look Daddy in the eye. "It's true, sir. It's my nickname. All my friends call me Doda." I looked at my father and said, "See, I didn't do anything wrong! I repeated, still wailing." He said, "Don't you talk back to me goddamn it! I'm sick of your lip!"
"My great grandmother jumped to my defense. "Now, goddamn it, boy, leave the girl alone! You about broke her nose. Go help your sister get cleaned up."
According to Rain, Pryor never apologized to her. Rain adds, "Dad also wandered through the house at all hours, mumbling and cursing at unseen ghosts."
by: Etta James
*I was booked to do a radio show called "Jazz Plus Blues Equals Soul." It was me, Count Basie and Billie Holiday booked for the evening. Billie was late, when she finally arrived, she came in walking with a man on either side of her. They seemed to be supporting her. She looked bruised and swollen, from her hands to her feet. She was my idol and I was so star struck, all I could do was stare at her, speechless. She finally asked, "Are you looking at me? "Yes, I answered." She then looked down at her swollen hands and rubbed them together, as though in pain. She looked me dead in the eye and said, "Just don't ever let this happen to you." And with that, she walked away." I never saw Billie Holiday again but I wish I would have taken her advice.
"It happened to Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington, they also say it happened to Ella and Sarah; it certainly happened to Aretha and me. The wrong men. Not all of them, but so many you have to ask yourself why."
"A man called "The Pimp,' which should have been a clue, was my first serious boyfriend. I found his fast world fascinating. I met him in New York in 1962. He was an ex-heroin junkie. I first saw him hanging out at a after hours joint, acting slick and snorting coke. He was from Boston and loved calling himself a "Roxbury N**ger." The Pimp was drop-dead handsome. He had that Don Juan look, thin moustache, dark bedroom eyes, and wavy hair. women loved him. He also had a reputation for violence. People said he killed his last girlfriend. They also said, at age 14, he killed a man. Sadly, these stories only excited me."
"The Pimp satisfied me sexually, before long, sex and violent men were mixed up in my young mind. My friend John Lewis tried to warn me. As an ex-pimp, John knew the type. John told me the Pimp had a reputation for brutally beating women. I ignored John's warning."
"One day, the Pimp came to my hotel suite, as soon as he entered, he started sniffing and asked me if I had another man in the room earlier? I told him no! He said, "You lying b**ch, he then punched me in the face and knocked me clear across the room. When I landed on the floor, I was within an arm's length of my purse with the pistol inside. I went to grab it but the Pimp got to the purse before I did, he found the gun and went berserk, kicking and beating me all over the room." After this violent episode, things cooled off between us. After a few months, we got back together."
"One night, John, his girlfriend, and I were visiting singer Jackie Wilson. The Pimp tracked me down and was banging on Jackie's door. After Jackie opened the door, The Pimp rushed towards me with his fists clenched. Jackie was a former Golden Gloves boxer, he got between us and kicked The Pimp's ass. Before he left-a bloody and battered mess, he screamed, "Etta, if I ever see you again, I'm going to kill you." You ain't nothing but a Jackie Wilson groupie."
"One day I returned home from shopping, the Pimp was waiting for me, he beat me within a inch of my life and afterwards, he screamed, "B**ch, go wipe the blood off." When he fell asleep, I got my gun and stood over him, I pressed the trigger, lucky for him, he had taken the bullets out earlier."
"I called my friend John, he sent over protection. My bodyguard threw the Pimp out and threatened to kill him if he ever came near me again, he didn't, because he never stood up to a man, just women."
Rain Pryor makes the following allegations in her book, "Jokes My Father Never Taught Me."
"From the start, dad's (Richard Pryor) new white wife-Jennifer Lee hated me from the start and I hated her."
"In the summer of 1982, Dad took the whole family to Hawaii.
"One night Jennifer got so drunk and in her incoherence accused me of sleeping with my very own father." I was thirteen years old and absolutely devastated by the false allegation, so I ran to my father and told him what she'd said."
"Now, let me tell you, I had seen my father beat the hell out of plenty of women, and I had seen him beat us kids, myself included, but I had never in my life seen him attack anyone with such ferocity. He went absolutely ballistic."
"Leave the room honey," Daddy said, punctuating his words with a blow to Jennifer's head. "We're having a little grown-up argument. Nothing to worry about. I just want to make sure this b**ch gets her mind right once and for all."
"Jennifer was lying on the floor, whimpering, and at that moment I felt genuinely sorry for her. My dad hit her again. "That's right, bi**h! he said. "I'm the head n**ger in this house and you better not fucking forget it!"
"My father had a history of violence, but this was beyond violence, and it was beyond comprehension, too. If he hated her so much, why didn't he get rid of her once and for all? And, if she hated him, why did she stay? But then it struck me. They don't hate each other. Dad and Jennifer have a sick type of love for each other."
Eartha Kitt says, "I often think of my mother. Though I do not remember what she looked like, I feel her presence with me all the time. I still feel her warmth, her beauty, as she played with Pearl, my half-sister."
"We were so poor, most of the time we lived in the forest, or at least slept there covered with pine straw. I remember, a long, long period, we had been traveling a lot. I don't know where we had come from or where we were going, but I walked barefoot on the longest road I had ever seen."
"One day, we looked for shelter, during this time, other Blacks looked out for one another and helped as best they could."
"Momma turned on a pathway leading to a house. She knocked on the door a few times and it opened. I don't know what the face behind the voice looked like as I was busy hiding against Momma's back, not wanting to be seen. Momma asked for shelter and food, pleading softly with the woman. I could hear her saying, 'Just for tonight...my children are hungry and tired."
"As I glanced up to take a quick peek at the voice's owner, she was looking around to see what was hiding: 'No, I don't want that yella gal in my house."
"I wondered, why was I called a yella gal? But this wasn't the first time I heard the term and this wasn't the first time we were rejected from shelter because of my complexion."
"The next scene I remember is Momma talking to a black man, when he took one look at me, he also rejected us."
"Some time later we came to a tiny cottage. Momma knocked on the door. When the door opened I stiffened with fear, afraid of rejection. To my surprise, the older lady invited us in and invited us to stay with her."
A short time later, I realized she was blind and couldn't see my complexion to reject us.
"A few months later, I overheard a conversation between Momma and a man, she was pleading with him to take us in as a family, he shouted, "I don't want that yella gal in my house."
"Later that day, Momma left Pearl and I in the house and met the same man outside. Momma and the man walked away arm in arm and I stood at the window looking out at them. Momma seemed so happy."
"This was the last time I ever saw my mother."
Source: "Confessions Of A Sex Kitten," by Eartha Kitt
(EARTHA KITT & THE NOTORIOUS PLAYBOY)
Eartha Kitt has been romantically linked to notorious playboy/gigolo Porfirio "Rubi' Rubirosa (second photo). Rubi was allegedly a political assassin, a diplomat, a chef, a formula one race car driver and a world-class polo player. He was once married to two of the richest women in the world, his divorce settlements included: A coffee plantation in the Dominican Republic, several polo ponies and a private plane.
Rubi was also linked to Ava Gardner, Jayne Mansfield, Zsa Zsa Gabor, etc. Ian Fleming based James Bond on Rubirosa.
Rubi was also known for "his endowment," a reported 14 inches (once described as the size and length of a wooden pepper shaker you find in restaurants). It was rumored that his underwear had to be tailored. Rubi charged women astronomical amounts of money for his services, and they paid without hesitation. Whenever he checked into a hotel, numerous women would be in the lobby, hoping for a chance to sleep with him.
What's interesting, he was so fond of Eartha Kitt, he never charged, he always picked up the tab and treated her like a queen as he did with all the Black women he dated.
Rubi and Marilyn Monroe had a intense chemistry at a private boat party hosted by JFK but Rubi kept his distance because he was aware of her involvement with JFK.
Rubi died after he crashed his Ferrari. Two of the Kennedy sisters attended his funeral.
Eartha Kitt takes the reader inside her first date with Rubirosa in "Confessions Of A Sex Kitten."
"When I danced with the Katherine Dunham troupe, important personalities came backstage to meet Miss Dunham (third photo). One of them being Porfirio "Rubi" Rubirosa. All the girls snickered and peeked around the theater walls and curtains when we heard he was there. Handsome? God, was he handsome!
It was rumored that Katherine Dunham was quite close to Rubirosa and each one of the female dancers, including myself, were afraid of being fired but we secretly desired a date on the town with Rubirosa. I was standing by the side of the stage one night when he was being ushered to Miss Dunham's dressing room suite. He looked at me with a slight smile.
I never had the slightest idea he would actually take me out on the town until a note came to my dressing room some days later saying, "I will pick you up tomorrow night after the show for dinner at Maxim's, signed 'Rubirosa.' Jackie Wollcott, who was my dressing room mate giggled at this the whole evening. 'Kitty, you have a date with Rubirosa, what are you going to do? If Miss Dunham finds out you'll probably be fired.' The next night the phone rung, it was someone calling on behalf of Mr. Rubirosa, the male voice said. 'He is confirming his request for dinner at Maxim's tonight. I said, "I have nothing to wear." The man said, "Mr. Rubirosa has given me instructions to take you wherever you want to go shopping for anything you want-at his expense of course."
Rubirosa picked me up in a chauffeured limousine. We entered Maxim's with four bodyguards in tow. The violin quartet serenaded us and we were led to a table with orchids, Dom Perignon, and Beluga caviar displayed on ice. Rubirosa was Cary Grant, Errol Flynn and Tyrone Power all in one. He presented me with a box, inside was the most beautiful string of pearls I had ever seen.
When the night ended, I thought, now is time for the pay-off. No such thing. I was driven to my hotel and bade goodnight at the door as Rubriosa kissed my hand before departing in his limo.
To read more about Rubirosa, click on the following link: Most Notorious Gigolo/Playboy
Rain Pryor reveals in her book, "Jokes My Father Never Taught Me." "Growing up, I suffered through my fair share of sexual abuse, including one memorable experience with a guy who was close to the family. After I told my father (Richard Pryor) about the sexual abuse, instead of confronting the guy, he proceeded to teach me a lesson by giving me a good whipping. I screamed, "What are you beating me for? As, I tried to block the blows. I yelled, "I didn't do anything." "Yes you did he hollered, you were flaunting your stuff." I was only a child and those words and his violent reaction continue to haunt me." That's when I realized that my father was truly crazy!"
Etta James says, "During one of Irving Feld's Top Ten Tours down in Florida. Sam Cooke and I really tightened up. He was always trying to calm me down. When we stopped to play a college that wasn't on our itinerary, for example, I threw a fit. If I was going to work an extra gig, I wanted extra money."
I remember Sam watching me with those gentle eyes of his as I verbally assaulted Herbie, the Jewish guy who ran the show. I was loud and obnoxious, putting on this public display of defiance. For all my forcefulness, though, I didn't get anywhere. "Come on, Sam," I said, "how can you just sit there when you know this ain't right?" "It is shaky, he replied, but acting a fool is no way to get more money. Why don't you try a little calmer approach?" With that, Sam took Herbie aside and, quietly reasoning with him, got bonus cash for the two of us." Sam would also tell me how record companies were banks, there to loan you money to make music. He was such a savvy businessman, no wonder he became the first black artist to own his publishing, he also had a company that pressed his own records and he owned a liquor distillery."
"These were also the years of Destiny. Destiny was a 350-pound roller-skater drag queen. She saw me at the Apollo after I had lost so much weight and said, "Ooooh weee, Miss Etta James. Just tell me how in the world you got so thin?" I said jokingly, "Turn into a drug addict and you'll lose weight too." Unfortunately, Destiny took me literally. She became an addict. I met Destiny through a mutual gay friend. These guys were the first in a long line of gay friends who were among my closest companions in life. We liked drugs, liked to party and talk shit."
"Destiny lived with me for a while and she loved to dress up. Destiny would cruise the bus stations on Tuesday nights. She never detailed her sex life and like me, she loved getting high. Destiny never lied about her nature to men, she wasn't ashamed or conflicted, just horny."
"I was with Destiny and singer Esther Phillips when I got busted in Indianapolis. Ray Charles had been busted there by the same cops who hassled us. Esther got off because she claimed to be just passing through. Esther, bless her heart, was a junkie like us but couldn't own up to it. They threw me and Destiny in jail."
"Life returned to normal when we were released but my friend Destiny would eventually die of a drug overdose. She was a cherished friend and I wish I could have saved her."
by Etta James
"When I got back to New York, my friend Faye introduced me to black gangster Red Dillard. Red was a famous mobster with a Robin Hood reputation. He was known as a cat who looked out for poor folks."
"He was also known for bloody shoot-outs with Bumpy Johnson (5th photo). I liked Red, we weren't in love with each other but we were a good couple and he respected women. The year I went with him wasn't his best, he had legal problems involving a murder rap, but nevertheless, he bought me a gorgeous mink coat that one of his hookers stole for him."
"While I was going with Red, my friend Faye had a affair with singer Sarah Vaughn's husband, C.B. Atkins. C.B. had a fleet of cabs in Chicago and was tight with boxer Muhammad Ali, who always came around."
"Me and Red and Faye and C.B. went on a double date, afterwards C.B. invited us to the house he shared with Sarah since she was on tour (although I liked Sarah and considered her a friend) damned if I didn't still go along."
"Faye went around in Sarah's robes and slippers. Meanwhile, I cooked up a mess of gumbo for Red. While it snowed outside, we stayed high for days, eating and partying to our hearts' content. Despite this, I felt guilty and uncomfortable because of Faye's affair with Sarah's husband."
"Faye was no hooker. She could have made millions but she did what she did because she loved making love to men. Men loved her, not only because of her body and lovemaking techniques but because she wasn't coy or tricky like many chicks. Straight up, she'd let a man know what he was going to get. He didn't have to buy her drinks or dinner. We ran close together until many years later, I got nervous about Faye's designs on my teenage son."
"C.B. wound up losing all of Sarah Vaughn's money. After Sarah divorced him, he managed and married singer Esther Phillips (What A Difference A Day Makes)."
"My man Red would eventually die in prison."
"I went on and found a few gigs in New York when Esther Phillips and I started working a cash-checking scheme to feed our drug habits. After we got the money from the cash-checking scheme we'd take the bread and cop us some dope before working the scheme at another hotel. Bouncing from hotel to hotel, we kept ourselves high for weeks. Finally, I got caught since I had the checkbook and not Esther. I did a short bid on Rikers Island."
"When I was released, I resumed my singing career."
Eartha Kitt makes the following allegations in her book, "Confessions Of A Sex Kitten."
"In the 1960's, the civil rights movement was coming into it's prime with Martin Luther King, Jr. at the helm. Every penny I made from my Apollo audiences went to Martin Luther King's organization. I had been threatened by the Black Panthers in the elevator of the Palmer House a month or so before. Four of the football-type muscle men caught me in the elevator, telling me they wanted me on their side. I rejected their threats. 'Okay, Kitt,' they said, 'We will get you in Harlem.' This made me even more hesitant about accepting the contract offer for the Apollo but I took my chances and hoped for the best."
"There was a rally on Seventh Avenue in front of the Theresa Hotel, where those of us who were with Martin Luther King were called on to make speeches in his support. I was booed and hissed and had rotten tomatoes and the like thrown at me by members of the Black Panthers." "When I finished my speech, I returned to the Apollo to finish my shows for the evening. I was followed by members of the Black Panthers who spewed insults at me all along the way. I was told later that the store windows on both sides of the front entrance of the Apollo were smashed with stones thrown by members of the Black Panthers and bomb threats were phoned in, luckily, nothing happened."
"I adored Malcolm X but not his tactics. We had known each other as kids in the streets of Harlem and I had many discussions with him but I believed in Gandhi and Martin Luther King.