As Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, and Florence Ballard once sang…and then it happened.
As a television journalist over the past fifteen years, I’ve conducted countless memorable interviews. They include movie stars, authors, politicians, and most often, ordinary people doing extraordinary work in their communities. It’s always a joy meeting these new people, chatting with them and peeking into their lives, and then taking the little bits and pieces of our conversations and crafting them into a compelling story for viewers.
As readers of The Diana Ross Project already know, my passion is writing about music, and it’s always a thrill to sit face-to-face with those responsible for the songs and albums that have shaped my life. I’m so fortunate that my “day job” often affords me these opportunities; I’ve had the late William Guest teach me the moves of The Pips, and played “name that tune” with Mariah Carey. Gladys Knight called me “wonderful” one time, which resulted in a ridiculous smile plastered on my face for weeks.
But last month…it happened. Before her recent show in Macon, Georgia, Ms. Mary Wilson agreed to sit down for an interview to air on Good Day Atlanta, the program for which I serve as a feature reporter. That it happened now — in the midst of my work reviewing each of the original albums released by The Supremes — seemed particularly serendipitous. So I drove down to the beautiful Grand Opera House in Macon one Saturday afternoon, and finally met one of the women responsible for informing so much of who I am as a human being. I’ve had many, many fellow fans relay stories of Wilson’s generosity and warmth over the years; I can happily say she lived up to her reputation of being a genuine, approachable person, not to mention a fascinating and candid interview.
Here, then, are the two stories that resulted from that conversation. I hope I was able to capture Wilson’s spirit and the remarkable achievements of The Supremes and Motown as Civil Rights pioneers in just the few short minutes we get in television. There were pages of questions I wanted to ask, of course; they involve obscure Supremes gems and the intricacies of recording sessions and what it was like working with various songwriters and producers. Perhaps I’ll have the opportunity to ask them in the future. For now…this “happening” was more than enough.
(And, by the way, you can read my review of Mary’s show that night here.)