Style Icons

Style Icons: The Incomparable, Sensational Diana Ross

Diana Ross glamorous in white

She was the skinny little songbird from Detroit, Michigan with a powerful voice and big dream who became a pop culture icon and a mega-superstar – The Incomparable, Sensational Diana Ross.

Diana Ross singingThe story of Diana Ross rise to fame reads like a movie script.  I guess that’s why her life and loves have inspired two musical hit shows “Dreamgirls”, her unofficial story, as well as “Motown The Musical”.

Diana Ross began her career at Hitsville USA (Motown) singing  songs about love over a soundtracks that moved a nation to dance.  She evolved into a glamorous, sophisticated woman who’s super-talent captured the hearts of millions.

Supremes at Hitsville USA

For me, Diana Ross was the first star I deeply admired because I felt a kinship with her.  Seeing her receive accolades from around the world gave me hope because Diana was being called beautiful for some of the same things I was being teased about (big eyes, teeth, and hair while weighing almost nothing).

Diana’s rise to fame helped me, a skinny little girl with big dreams, imagine more was possible for my future than what I saw around me.

As part of the girl group The Supremes Diana Ross helped the world see black women differently.  As a solo artist and movie star she set a new standard of style, grace and beauty.

Supremes-1965 Where did our love go

Her fabulously over the top costumes and trendsetting fashion style told everyone to take notice – black women can do and be anything we want and we do it well!

Diana Ross’s entertainment career has spanned 50 years.  She still reigns as one of the most successful singing divas of the 20th century.

A Brief Bio

Diana Ross was born as Diana Ernestine Earl Ross on March 26, 1944 in Detroit Michigan to parents Fred Earl and Ernestine Ross.  Her father served in the military during WW2 and her mother was a school teacher.  Diane, as she’s called by close family, was the second child of 6 children.

She started singing in the girl group The Primettes at the age of 15.  The group signed with Motown Records in Jan 1961 and became The Supremes.  The original members were Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard and Barbara Martin, who left the group in 1962.

Supremes swimming 1960'sThe Supremes having fun at the pool

Supremes at Brewster Projects 1967The Supremes in front of the Brewster Projects in Detroit where they once lived, 1967

Supremes - Ed Sullivan andFlorence, Mary and Diana on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1963

In the 1960’s the Supreme’s had 6 #1 hit singles

– “Where Did Our Love Go, Baby Love, Come See About Me,  Stop, In The Name Of Love, Back In My Arms Again, and I Hear A Symphony.

This historic musical feat solidified them as the #1 female singing group in the world.  During this period the Supremes toured the US and Europe as part of the Motown Revue and took the world by storm.  The hits continued through 1969 until Diana embarked on a solo singing career.

Diana Ross eatingDiana being as cool as ever

As a solo artist Diana’s career soared to landmark status with a string of classic love and dance hits in the 1970’s and 80’s.  Songs such as  made solidified her as diva extraordinaire and pop culture icon.

She left Motown for RCA Recording in 1981 when she signed a contract for $20 million, the highest artist contract of that era.

Ross at Studio 54 dancing 1970s

Diana Ross became a beloved pop culture icon and singing diva extraordinaire.

Diana Ross with her children & Berry GordyDiana, Berry and her daughters Rhonda, Tracee and Chudnee

Diana Ross has been married twice and has five children                   – Rhonda Suzanne Silberstein (father Berry Gordy), Tracee Joy Silberstein, Chudnee Lane Silberstein, Ross Arne Naess, and Evan Olav Naess.

Diana Ross with her daughters

Some things to know about Diana Ross:

  • The Supremes had 12 #hits from 196 to 1969.  In addition to the songs above their hits were – You Can’t Hurry Love (1966), You Just Keep Me Hanging On (1966), Love Is Here And Now Your Gone (1967), Love Child (1968), and their last Someday We’ll Be Together (1969).
  • Reach out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand) was the 1st solo record for Diana Ross followed by Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, both in 1970.
  • Diana starred in three iconic films in the 1970’s
    • Lady Sings The Blues, the biographic story of famed jazz singer, Billie Holiday
    • Mahogany, a fictional story loosely based on the life of Donyale Luna, the poor girl from Detroit who became a famous international model, and
    • The Wiz, which she co-starred with Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell and Ted Ross.

Success is nothing without someone you love to share it with you.”                                                      from Lady Sings The Blues.

Lady Sings the Blues poster Diana Ross


The Wiz Poster

  • Some of her solo hits include “I’m Coming Out,” “Endless Love” and “Upside Down.”
  • 800,000 people attended her free concert in NY Central Park, I was one of them.
  • Diana wrote a children’s book with a mini-cd, “When You Dream, that was released in 1993 in Japan.
  • Diana has received numerous awards throughout her 50 year career including being recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records in 1993 for having more than 70 hit singles selling more than 100 million copies.
  • Diana was awarded the Kennedy Center Honors by President Bush in 2007.

Ross at Studio 54 dancing 1970sDiana Ross received was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2007

At 71 years young, Diana Ross still looks fabulous.  She has embarked on a new tour in 2015-16 in select cities in the US, Europe and Japan. Can’t wait to see her live again when she comes to Atlanta.

Diana Ross 2005

I thank her for inspiring me when I was a young girl and as a business woman and mother.  Her life shows that with talent, hard work and dedication “Dreams can come true”.

 Diana Ross & Mary WIlson - Motown BroadwayDiana Ross & Mary Wilson at the opening of “Motown the Musical” on Broadway, NYC.

It’s a wonderful show!

Diana Ross Met Opera Ball 2010

I hope you have enjoyed this look back and been inspired by the incomparable, sensational Diana Ross.

Until next time …

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