From the time I was old enough to talk, my mantra was “Let Meeee Do It”. And I always did whatever “it” was with my own sense of style. “I remember when I was around nine years old, my dance instructor told my Mom that my sister was a better student than me because she followed direction, but that I was a better dancer because I was creative and improvised.” I am still creative and just like when I was nine, I still improvise.
I grew up in a traditional middle class Black family in Detroit, Michigan. Both my parents were school teachers. I was the oldest of three, with a younger sister and brother. From an early age I knew that I loved music and I loved fashion. My parents always had music playing in our home, and I created a dance floor or a stage, wherever I could. My mother made sure that we always looked “adorable”. So it came as no surprise that as soon as I was old enough to get a job, it was as a Senior Fashion Board member for the J.L.Hudson Department store in downtown Detroit. It wasn’t really work; It was a fun job that entailed being on a panel of other high school students, giving our opinions on the latest fashions, and participating in make-up demonstrations and fashion shows. It was the start of my love affair with shoes, clothes, make-up, accessories, and anything Fashion!
During that same time, I was singing in choral groups in high school and came to the attention of another student that was putting together a traveling show called The Famous Brothers Review. I was a solo act, but toured with nearly 20 folks to nearby Michigan cities playing to sparse audiences, honing our crafts as singers, performers, and entertainers. Growing up in Detroit at that time, afforded me a front row seat to the birth of Motown Records. And it was the best training ground anyone could ask for. As my parents were friends of the Gordy family, I was enamored by the entrepreneurship of Berry Gordy, the remarkable lineup of talent, the grooming and preparation they experienced, and then, the style in which it was all packaged and presented to the world.
So thanks Detroit! Thank you Motown, and a very Special Thanks to Laura and Wilbur Davis….my Mom and Dad!
I am blessed.