DREAMGIRLS has been released and the obvious comparisons to The Supremes and Diana Ross have been raised. Mary Wilson in an interview indicated that Miss Ross was not very kind and an internet headline read that Miss Ross would be seeing the movie with her lawyer. When reading the actual transcript of the quote, it sounds more like a joke then a serious threat.
Diana Ross is constantly given a bad rap. She is a Diva. She is a bitch. She is controlling. What no one seems to talk about is that Diana Ross is an icon. She is a mega star. Imagine what it must be like to go through an entire day hearing the same things over and over and over and over….. “I love you Diana!” “You are the best, Miss Ross!” “Diana, can I take a picture with you?”
Is it any wonder that when she is in a working environment she would request that no one talk to her? Would you fault her for wanting to have a few moments of peace when she is among her peers? The very same people who should recognize that she might like a respite?
Several years ago when I had a former life working in entertainment, Miss Diana Ross was going to be visiting a studio where I was working. She was going to be there on business and since I, along with my co-workers, were the only ones that were in the studio, she was going to stop by while our television show was working. Our producer called a meeting to let us know that a letter was received to let us know Miss Ross would be visiting but no one was to speak to her. She wanted to conduct her business and be on her way.
Immediately, I raised my hand and said, “You know I am going to talk to her!”
To which my producer said, “This is why we are having the meeting. I am asking you not to speak to her.”
I replied, “Okay…but, you know I will!”
Mr. Producer politely says, “Please, I am asking nicely not to.”
And I say back to Mr. Producer, “Look, I am a homo. She is a Gay Icon. I HAVE to talk to her. Either she will be a bitch and I will have story to tell or she will be nice and I have a story to tell but either way, I am talking to her.”
(So you see? Even her peers, such as myself, ignore her pleas to have some peace of mind. The price of being an icon, no doubt!)
The day of the Diana Ross visit arrives and we are all working very hard as usual when suddenly I feel the room stiffen. It was as if every one started working in slow motion and the tension in the air was thick. Here was my moment and I had no idea what I would say.
I turned around and locked eyes with Miss Ross as she peered from behind her dark glasses and looked away. I turned away and did my best double take to turn around and lock eyes with her again but this time I held my gaze. I saw her eyes dart back and forth. I knew that she was anticipating the normal response. Then a brilliantly scathing idea (Sorry Haley Mills!) hit me!
“Excuse me” I said, “Aren’t you Tracee’s Mom?”
“Yes, I am!” Tracee’s Mom responded.
I then got up and walked over to Miss Diana Ross and introduced myself. We chatted for about 20 minutes about her daughter, the actress, how I knew her, how talented she is and basically, I gave Diana Ross an opportunity to stop being a cultural icon and just get to be a Tracee’s proud mom! She chided me for not offering more roles to her daughter and I assured her I would try to do better.
Miss Ross then politely excused herself because she had to continue on her day. I returned to my seat next to my Producer who was staring me down.
“What?” I said to him.
“You f*cking amaze me, you know that?” Mr. Producer said
Sometimes I amaze myself. I got a great story and no one can ever tell me that Diana Ross is a Diva, a bitch or controlling. To me, she is a mom; a mom who loves her daughter and was just as proud as a mom could be to hear good things about her family.
You may have to call her Miss Ross but she will always be just another Mom to me.