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The “Supreme Glamour” of Mary Wilson

L-R Mary Wilson, Diana Ross, Cindy Birdsong

Mary Wilson was in Las Vegas when we talked. As a former Supreme, Ms. Wilson expressed her love of being a Supreme but assured me she is enjoying her life now as a solo artist. Wilson is performing her own music, stepping out from the background into the forefront as a performer in her own right. She has also assured that artist rights are respected.

“When Rock & Roll and Rhythm & Blues were popular, artist contracts back in the 1950s were horrific. The 1960s brought Motown and contracts improved. Artists in the ’70s and ’80s got paid a little better. Each generation things got better but still horrible. The Music Modernization Act (MMA) was legislation I was part of with other artists, who were also responsible for getting legislation passed on October 11, 2018. The Music Modernization Act assured that artists starting in 1972 who were not paid when their music appeared on radio, Internet, digital, etc., finally got paid. The generation of Gloria Lynne and Ruth Brown never did get paid so their families should look into getting their share,” remarked the activist singer.

Mary was asked by the Humpty Dumpty Institute if she would be interested in carrying on Princess Di’s involvement with unexploded bombs since Di’s death. People are being maimed and blown up still so Mary agreed to continue Lady Di’s efforts to help get the bombs detonated. “I was also appointed an ambassador by Colin Powell wherein I traveled to various countries doing diplomacy and advocating for America,” explained Mary, who used her celebrity to bring attention to world hunger, HIV/AIDS awareness, encouraging world peace as part of her humanitarian efforts.

This year the Supremes will be celebrating their 60th Anniversary since they began singing in 1959 as the Primettes.

This year also Mary Wilson is introducing her new book entitled “Supreme Glamour,” which is due to be released in the UK sometime in May and in the US in September. “’Supreme Glamour” will be my 3rd book. My First was “Dream Girls: My Life as a Supreme.” The second was entitled “Supreme State: Someday We’ll Be Together,” the third book was a combination of the first two books with updated chapters. My new book is actually the fourth, although I say my third. “Supreme Glamour” is a coffee table book based on the gowns the Supremes wore. I also discuss the glamorous part of the Supreme’s career,” said Mary, who mentioned the Supremes purchased their own gowns. She continued: “Many of our gowns have been lost. We moved around so stored them in various places, but somehow or another, some of the gowns went missing. Therefore, I ended up buying some of them back via Ebay. Fans have found them for me and gave them back. One woman contacted me stating she was traveling in France and saw a beautiful gown at a yard sale wherein she discovered my name on the label. I am still searching for those missing gowns. Therefore, I dispute when people say they got these gowns via a good source. Well, that source wasn’t from me or Diana Ross!”

Mary is going to be appearing at the Cafe Carlyle in NY for 2 weeks, from May 28-June 8th. “People are used to me being a background singer so they do not know what I really sound like. I used to do ballads on our live shows, so I produced a Jazz American Songbook Show and recorded it in SF. I perform it and people seem to love it. It is like a dream come true performing at Cafe Carlyle where I can finally show off my talents. My dreams are coming true. Some have taken 50 years but now it is all about me as a performer. It is a whole different kind of joy for me,” remarked Wilson excitedly.

Mary Wilson to perform at the Cafe Carlyle in NY,
May 28-June 8th.

“At 75 years old, I am not trying to compete with the Mariah Careys or the Mary J Bliges’ who are just wonderful. But as a singer you get older and maybe I’m not at the top of the charts as when a Supreme, but I am blessed to put music out there and as long as people hear me, I am happy,” stated the former Supreme.

Mary participated on a panel at the LBJ Library Museum in Austin, Tx, where the participants discussed what’s happening in music. She also attended a summit on ‘Race Relations in America.’ The LBJ Library Museum is also showcasing a Motown Exhibit that people may find worth visiting.

“It makes me feel good that little black girls from Detroit, Michigan, entertained and put smiles on peoples faces and after all these years the smiles are still there. We dared to dream and those dreams came true,” remarked Mary, who has done work with the Cancer Society, UNICEF, AIDS and Cystic Fibrosis.

Also, as a mother and grandmother, she loves working on behalf of children. “Any time I have an opportunity to help children, I do. I became involved with a Figure skating project in Harlem, which has since moved to Detroit. They teach young girls how to figure skate. They also mentor them.

“People need to believe in themselves and stand up for things we think aren’t right. Fame prevented me from attending college but I realize education is important. It’s sad to see that the things I learned in school are no longer taught today. Some of those courses need to be reinstated. Americans need to get behind the system of education so our children are guaranteed a future,” expressed Mary with great passion.

“Please come out and see my show at Cafe Carlyle. I really enjoy sharing the love.”

About the Author

Journalist and radio host, Deardra Shuler, has a background in publishing, theatre, concert promotion, producing and was the former PR chairman of FESPACO, an African film festival in Burkino Faso. She reviews books, plays, theater and movies. Her short story was published by Penquin Books in Aurielle Ford's book "Mystical Souvenirs." Deardra has her own blog under Writblog and writes for several African American publications in New York. She has a column and radio show in Sweden entitled Music Pastures. Her show Topically Yours is on the Blakeradio Network, Rainbow Soul. She also produces and facilitates other radio programs that she has brought to the BlakeRadio network.

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