Reflections: Good For A Laugh


In these challenging times, it is important to have something to chuckle about, or at least smile at the recollection. As an encore — because they have appeared in this column before — we are sharing a few things that this columnist finds amusing.

Darlene Love, the veteran singer (and actress) who recently starred on Broadway in the hit musical “Hairspray,” said, “There can be few things more unnerving than facing a roomful of your peers, especially if your peers are Black women. Those eyes lock on you like lasers and there is no escape.”

A long time ago, Tina Turner,  an R&B star as opposed to a rock icon, told her audience, “When I think of soul I think of grease ’cause ain’t nothin’ no good without the grease.”

In “You’re All I Need to Get By,” the classic hit by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell written by Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, Gaye says, “Like an eagle protects his nest for you I’ll do my best.”  A well-known singer from Detroit said he always thought Marvin was saying, “Like a nigga protects himself…” (He thanked me for correcting him!)

A fan of Tramaine Hawkins approached the famed gospel songstress at a record promotion event in downtown Detroit.  The fan said with great enthusiasm, “I’ve been a fan of yours for a long, long, long, long  time.”  Hawkins responded, “Thank you, but  you can leave off some of those longs!”

IT IS A good idea to avoid using the word “never” excessively because, as the legendary pianist/singer/songwriter Fats Waller used to say, “One never knows.”

I “never” thought the day would come when I would be really into a Macy Gray album (although I did love her first  hit, “I Try”). That “Donald Duckish” voice always grated on my nerves after a short period. However, her new album, “The Sellout,” is great. Exceptional, unique songs, fine production, outstanding musicians, and in this context, her voice works.

Pick up this album if you want a very different listening experience from a strange lady who, admirably, avoids conformity.

FAMOUS people are displeased whenever someone writes an unauthorized biography. Oprah Winfrey is no exception. Like many before her (Frank Sinatra, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, etc.), she is upset that Kitty Kelley has written “Oprah: A Biography.”

Kelley, who has never been successfully sued, refuses to back off from anything she has written. In this particular case, she said she did four years of research and conducted over 800 interviews.

Janet Jackson says one of her dreams is to portray the legendary Eartha Kitt in a film or television biopic. She has noted that the late star actually expressed support for such a project.

Good news for Usher. His album, “Raymond V Raymond,” debuted at No. 1 on both the national R&B and Pop charts.

If you watched the “Soul Food” TV series, you will remember Malinda Williams as Tracy “Bird” Van Adams. She just taped a pilot titled “Let’s Stay Together” for BET, about a newly engaged couple, and she has high hopes for it being picked up.

Brandy and her brother, Ray J, often talk about how supportive they are of each other’s endeavors. That’s great, but wonder how she felt when Ray made that graphic sex video with Kim Kardashian in 2007.

TURNS OUT that talented singer/comedian Jim Carrey is one of Tiger Woods’ biggest supporters. He said publicly that so many people love to “attack someone we envy who s stumbling.” (He’s right.)

Mary J. Blige has spoken of a different situation. She says there are actually people out there who liked her more when she was plagued with personal issues, including drugs and attitude. But Blige is very pleased with her “new, improved and happy” life, so those who prefer the old Mary will never be appeased.

We keep hearing about those so-called “Tea Party” people who are so against President Barack Obama — who is doing a highly commendable job — and health care reform. Well, it goes way beyond health care.

The overwhelming majority of them — and they are almost always Republican — are upset because things are changing in America and will never be the same again. A Black president. A Hispanic Supreme Court Justice. A female Speaker of the House. Gay people asserting their rights. People in general demanding respect. And on it goes. Plus, it’s just a matter of time until Whites are no longer the majority in this country.

BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW…that there was once a vocal group called the Cavaliers, several of whom were brothers of the Temptations.

MEMORIES: “Tired of Being Alone” (Al Green),  “I’ll Bet You” (Funkadelic),  “Take Your Time (Do It Right)” (the S.O.S. Band), “This Time I’ll Be Sweeter” (Angela Bofill), “Hearsay” (the Soul Children), “Straight Up” (Paula Abdul), “Are You That Somebody?” (Aaliyah), “Turn Your Love Around” (George Benson).

BLESSINGS to Renaye Coles, Antoine Foster, Derek Smith, Charlotte A. Brooks, Sabrina Owens, Cynthia Bailey, Randye Bullock,  Frances J. Warren, Stephanie Davis, Ronald Rhodes, Melvin A. Chapman, Barbara Scott and Phil Smith.

, submitted by reader Greg Hendricks: “The harder you try to deny who you are, the more you set yourself up for so much pain.”

Let the music play!

(Steve Holsey can be reached at and P.O. Box 02843, Detroit, MI 48202.)

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