Happy Birthday Ms. Diana Ross. You have survived and you are still singing most of your songs in their original key. You are vivacious, have raised five successful Black Children and have maintained your dignity, health, beauty and unchallenged space in American history Music. You are the entertainment-vocal stylist DIVA of all times. You have sang your songs and the songs of Barbra Streisand. You earned an Academy Award but paid the "Black Tax" when they withheld it as a punishment to Berry Gordy for acting like White producers had when they advocated for their White heroin. You have stumbled but never fallen from grace. And now in your mid seventies you are one of the only women in this country holding it down on the national stage as you continue to tour the country and the world.
Now if your people will just send me that picture that one of "Larrs" friends took of me and you I will be just overjoyed. As old as I am and as outspoken, I still remember at the DIVA's live performance when you came down from way up in the Madison Square Garden Concert Hall and put your microphone under your arm, reached down and thanked me for my love then kissed me square in the mouth as you sang "The Best Years of My Life."
Life has been a blessing and I have lived some special moments. As a freshman in College and later as a Dean at Harvard, I got to introduce my Congresswoman Shirley Chisolm, sat at the feet of Muhammad Ali, dinner with James Baldwin, a private conversation with President Nelson Mandela in CapeTown South Africa, meeting serenading President Barack Obama, singing for and crying with joy after meeting Ruby Dee, embracing Berry Gordy and thanking him and all the Motown acts for saving my life, speaking on the phone for two hours to the Mother of Luther Vandross confirming she and Luther were distant cousins, appearing with the late Dorothy Donegan at the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl, when I made my vocal debut ( picture but no tape) producing a full musical concert honoring Mr. Harry Belafonte as a musician at Berklee College of Music .. and yes.... you kissing me in front of the world. ( I think I was before Arseneo) I know all of these things occurred because I have pictures as proof. I sometimes have to pinch myself. I don't recount these stories to brag but to affirm the glory of Spirit and the grace God has shown me by meeting many who inspired me to inspire others.
These experiences coupled with dedicated parents who sacrificed so much for their three boys makes me sing because I am Happy, Sing because I am free. "HIS EYES IS ON THE SPARROW AND I KNOW HE WATCHES OVER ME AND YOU TOO DIANA ROSS.