[REMOVE ADS]




Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 50 of 60

Thread: LGBT Motown!!

  1. #1

    LGBT Motown!!

    Hi guys! I am doing a project for my university course based on the life of Arthur Conley, who was gay and, by my account, lived a fascinating life, moving from America to Britain to Belgium and eventually [[after changing his name!) the Netherlands.

    It got me thinking about LGBT people at Motown. I know of The Dynamic Superiors' lead singer Tony Washington, and also Carl Bean, who had a 1976 single "I Was Born This Way", which is literally about being gay

    Anyone know of any more?

  2. #2
    Hi, Tom, and happy belated birthday! Bobby DeBarge of Switch and latter-day DeBarge was bisexual. If I think of any others, I'll let you know.

  3. #3
    Hi, Tom. Congratulations to you and your continued studies. I regret I missed your birthday, revealed by our fellow friend Sansradio. I hope things in the UK are improving, pandemic-wise. I wish I could provide verifiable info to assist you, but I am only in possession of scurrilous rumor which I will not pass on. It will be interesting to see what you find [[speaking as the 3rd gayest man on earth ...) but I fear that The Closet Door was shut so firmly during Motown's glory years that info may not be forthcoming. There have been a scholarly tome or two about the subject and I shall try to get the ISBN info to you - Best always!

  4. #4
    Just remembered: Lesley Gore and Sam Harris were also out LGBTQ Motown artists.
    Last edited by sansradio; 05-25-2021 at 09:48 PM.

  5. #5
    Hey, great project, I'm from the Netherlands, so if you need help, contact me. Thinking about Motown, as an addition to above, what about the song: "Ain't Nobody Straight In LA", from the Miracles album City Of Angels, Motowns attempt to make a rock/soul opera.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by sansradio View Post
    Hi, Tom, and happy belated birthday! Bobby DeBarge of Switch and latter-day DeBarge was bisexual. If I think of any others, I'll let you know.
    Thanks sans! I had read about Bobby before somewhere, but wasnít sure.

  7. #7
    Billy Preston

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    Hi, Tom. Congratulations to you and your continued studies. I regret I missed your birthday, revealed by our fellow friend Sansradio. I hope things in the UK are improving, pandemic-wise. I wish I could provide verifiable info to assist you, but I am only in possession of scurrilous rumor which I will not pass on. It will be interesting to see what you find [[speaking as the 3rd gayest man on earth ...) but I fear that The Closet Door was shut so firmly during Motown's glory years that info may not be forthcoming. There have been a scholarly tome or two about the subject and I shall try to get the ISBN info to you - Best always!
    Thanks PNH! Things are slowly improving here. Hope they are where you are too.

    The 3rd gayest man on Earth?! That sounds fun! I don't think Iíve mentioned it here, but Iíve recently come out as bisexual, it took me a long time to realise and understand it though I have to say. But I got there in the end.

    Anyway, LGBT at Motown is definitely an interesting subject which Iíve heard and read little about!

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by sansradio View Post
    Just remembered: Lesley Gore and Sam Harris were also out LGBTQ Motown artists.
    I didnít know about Lesley Gore! Although I donít know that much about her in general. Thanks sans

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by 1382hitsville View Post
    Hey, great project, I'm from the Netherlands, so if you need help, contact me. Thinking about Motown, as an addition to above, what about the song: "Ain't Nobody Straight In LA", from the Miracles album City Of Angels, Motowns attempt to make a rock/soul opera.
    Thanks 1382! I like that song too



    "Look, gay people are nice people too, man"

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by mowsville View Post
    Billy Preston
    I had no idea about Billy Preston. Just reading about it now, his story seems very sad. :[[

  12. #12
    Yes TT...a very sad story.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    Thanks PNH! Things are slowly improving here. Hope they are where you are too.

    The 3rd gayest man on Earth?! That sounds fun! I don't think I’ve mentioned it here, but I’ve recently come out as bisexual, it took me a long time to realise and understand it though I have to say. But I got there in the end.

    Anyway, LGBT at Motown is definitely an interesting subject which I’ve heard and read little about!
    Well done Tomato Tom. Live your truth my dear. Im proud of you.

    Fondly,

    Roberta

  14. #14
    I believe Berry Gordy's long time dresser was gay ...

  15. #15
    A friend who is no longer living but was a Motown employee in Detroit and later Los Angeles told me one time that he went into a LGBT bar in Detroit and lo and behold
    there was Jackie Wilson. I have never heard this from anyone other than my dear
    departed friend. Who knows but I trust my source.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    I didnít know about Lesley Gore! Although I donít know that much about her in general. Thanks sans
    Lesley technically came out decades after her Motown tenure, so do with that what you will. And congratulations to you on your breakthrough! Godspeed.

  17. #17
    Donít know if this was true or not

    This article is the only place Iíve ever heard this

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nyd...outputType=amp
    Last edited by Optimal Saint; 05-26-2021 at 05:07 PM.

  18. #18
    Of course Diana's "I'm Coming Out" is a HUGE gay anthem.

    As far as artists:

    Billy Dee Williams, who was in several Motown films.

    Dusty Springfield, whom of course wasn't a Motown artist, but had several ties with the company, especially through Martha Reeves.

    "Gregory", the Supremes hairdresser in the 1960's, who can be seen in one of the Coca Cola print ads.

    Tony "The Duchess" Turner, who who wrote about his time with the Supremes in "All That Glittered".

    Not to mention 93.7854367% of all Supremes fans, LOL.

  19. #19
    Richard Pryor was also candid about his own same-sex experiences. [ETA: Optimal Saint, I belatedly see that your link touches on this.]

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    Thanks PNH! Things are slowly improving here. Hope they are where you are too.

    The 3rd gayest man on Earth?! That sounds fun! I don't think I’ve mentioned it here, but I’ve recently come out as bisexual, it took me a long time to realise and understand it though I have to say. But I got there in the end.

    Anyway, LGBT at Motown is definitely an interesting subject which I’ve heard and read little about!
    Hi Tom - always good to hear from you. Things in the US of A are improving pandemically-speaking. I've been blessed to have escaped the worst of it all around and am completely appreciative and understanding of my good luck to have done so. The big "P" has been trying in different ways to different populations but I seem to have the most empathy for the under-25-ish group because they [[and you!) lost out on 'youth years' that can never be recaptured. Continuing on that happy note, your study of LGBTQ+ populations at Motown could be a long-term project in addition to your current project and I hope it works out for you. Best of luck on your recent announcement - as you know you have many fans here and we support you and will always be happy to hear whatever is going on with your life!

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Optimal Saint View Post
    Don’t know if this was true or not

    This article is the only place I’ve ever heard this

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nyd...outputType=amp
    Quincy needs to stfu, IMO.

  22. #22
    http://bandwidth.wamu.org/index.html%3Fp=39893.html

    The Dynamic Superiors had great voices and Motown loved them. They really gave the group some leeway because the lead singer was openly gay. His name was Tony Washington. His brother, Maurice Washington, was also in the group. Tony was the only openly gay member of the group. [Ed. note: Washington said in a 1977 interview that he had another gay bandmate who hadn’t come out.]

  23. #23

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    Hi guys! I am doing a project for my university course based on the life of Arthur Conley, who was gay and, by my account, lived a fascinating life, moving from America to Britain to Belgium and eventually [[after changing his name!) the Netherlands.

    It got me thinking about LGBT people at Motown. I know of The Dynamic Superiors' lead singer Tony Washington, and also Carl Bean, who had a 1976 single "I Was Born This Way", which is literally about being gay

    Anyone know of any more?
    You might want to search the Archives of Soulful Detroit on Arthur Conley. I remember being quite taken back at how little I knew about him until some postings appeared on this site not long after his passing.

    A Motown promotion guy responsible for generating success locally for the Velvelettes There He Goes - Joe Shillair - was also a member of the LGBT team.

  25. #25
    I never knew anything about Billy Preston‘s life. What a sad story that is. Somebody should try to make a film out of that. I think Netflix could do a great job with it with someone like Ryan Murphy at the helm. A story like that deserves to be heard. And hopefully understood by many.

  26. #26
    I bought my original cover art photos and some other internal Motown items from Joe Shillair's former partner who was selling his collection on Ebay a few years ago. Joe was saving items from the dumpsters at the Woodward building after they were given orders to start purging items from the Donovan Building.
    Darin

  27. #27
    @DWSheffer, who was Joe Shillair?

    Our late member, Marv Davis, also said that he got quite a bit of his photographic material, which he seemed to have a lot of, from the Detroit Motown headquarters when they were shutting the building down. I have to admit I’ve wondered what has happened to his archive. He had so many great, unusual photos. I miss him and his contributions to the forum, especially the photographs that he would often post here. I never knew anything about him personally, but maybe his collection will end up on eBay eventually, offered by his family or heirs.
    Last edited by kenneth; 05-27-2021 at 12:01 PM.

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Roberta75 View Post
    Well done Tomato Tom. Live your truth my dear. Im proud of you.

    Fondly,

    Roberta
    Thanks Roberta

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by sansradio View Post
    Lesley technically came out decades after her Motown tenure, so do with that what you will. And congratulations to you on your breakthrough! Godspeed.
    Ah ok! And, yes, breakthrough is definitely the word!! 😂

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    Hi Tom - always good to hear from you. Things in the US of A are improving pandemically-speaking. I've been blessed to have escaped the worst of it all around and am completely appreciative and understanding of my good luck to have done so. The big "P" has been trying in different ways to different populations but I seem to have the most empathy for the under-25-ish group because they [[and you!) lost out on 'youth years' that can never be recaptured. Continuing on that happy note, your study of LGBTQ+ populations at Motown could be a long-term project in addition to your current project and I hope it works out for you. Best of luck on your recent announcement - as you know you have many fans here and we support you and will always be happy to hear whatever is going on with your life!
    Hi PNH, thatís good to hear! We were lucky to escape the worst of it too. Though, my dad is still suffering with what are probably long term covid complications.

    I have just submitted the project!! It was a pitch for a film based on Arthur Conley's life. Hopefully it is liked! And with regard to me, I have to say I found out over a year ago now, but this year's been a bit of non-starter [[not to mention it took me ages to understand it) so it still feels very recent to me!

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by theboyfromxtown View Post
    You might want to search the Archives of Soulful Detroit on Arthur Conley. I remember being quite taken back at how little I knew about him until some postings appeared on this site not long after his passing.

    A Motown promotion guy responsible for generating success locally for the Velvelettes There He Goes - Joe Shillair - was also a member of the LGBT team.
    Thanks xtown. He definitely lived a fascinating life worth knowing about!

  32. #32
    Tom - another interesting [[well, to me ...) relative point to Motown and the LGBTQ+ community is that of the community's enthusiasm for Motown music and performers. We've discussed here before the use of 'Heatwave' and the lp cover in the play and movie versions of 'The Boys In The Band', and also in an early 70's gay documentary [I think it was 'The Queen') there is a drag lip-sync of 'Ain't No Mountain'. There are other examples I'll try to recall, but of course Diana's 'I'm Coming Out' was huge in the community.

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    Carl Bean, who had a 1976 single "I Was Born This Way", which is literally about being gay
    "I Was Born This Way" was first released by Valentino, also on Motown, on its sub-label Gaiee [[very subtle), in 1975.


  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    Tom - another interesting [[well, to me ...) relative point to Motown and the LGBTQ+ community is that of the community's enthusiasm for Motown music and performers. We've discussed here before the use of 'Heatwave' and the lp cover in the play and movie versions of 'The Boys In The Band', and also in an early 70's gay documentary [I think it was 'The Queen') there is a drag lip-sync of 'Ain't No Mountain'. There are other examples I'll try to recall, but of course Diana's 'I'm Coming Out' was huge in the community.
    A question. I saw the recent remake of the play on Netflix. I saw the original but years and years ago. Was the script as specific as that, that it actually mentioned the album displayed should be the “Heat Wave” album? If so, that would be a fascinating tidbit. I wonder why that album specifically would be mentioned as a prop that was required for the play and/or film.

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    A question. I saw the recent remake of the play on Netflix. I saw the original but years and years ago. Was the script as specific as that, that it actually mentioned the album displayed should be the “Heat Wave” album? If so, that would be a fascinating tidbit. I wonder why that album specifically would be mentioned as a prop that was required for the play and/or film.
    I don't see any reference to HEAT WAVE in the play itself, just that the guys were doing a dance they used to do on Fire Island. Perhaps Mart Crowley added the HEAT WAVE detail when he did the screenplay for the film and they used it again for the recent Netflix version.

    For the film, you see one of the guys holding the Vandellas' LIVE album. But in the Netflix version and the recent Broadway revival, I think they were holding the HEAT WAVE album.

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    @DWSheffer, who was Joe Shillair?
    Joe was a fan of Motown from the start and lived in Detroit. He landed a job in the 60's as assistant to the head of promotions. He eventually left and did a 2nd stint for Motown beginning in late 1976 working as a sales rep for Hitsville Distributing. It was at this time when one day he was leaving work at the Donovan Building he noticed a dumpster full of memorabilia which he promptly loaded into his car.

    Thanks to forum member Woodward for getting this information to me once upon a time. I had mentioned to him I had some of Joe's memorabilia and he mentioned that he had a story Joe had written in a fanzine once upon a time about his experience of finding these items at the Donovan in the 70's. I believe the fanzine was called "MOTOWN...from the inside..."
    Darin

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    @DWSheffer, who was Joe Shillair?

    Our late member, Marv Davis, also said that he got quite a bit of his photographic material, which he seemed to have a lot of, from the Detroit Motown headquarters when they were shutting the building down. I have to admit Iíve wondered what has happened to his archive. He had so many great, unusual photos. I miss him and his contributions to the forum, especially the photographs that he would often post here. I never knew anything about him personally, but maybe his collection will end up on eBay eventually, offered by his family or heirs.
    If you do a search in the search block you will learn the legacy of Joe Shillair. I am the one who went to painstaking efforts to put this onto the Motown forum for everyone to see. There are two parts:

    Motown From The Inside - Part 1
    and
    Motown From The Inside - Part 2

    Those two threads will tell you all you need to know about our late great Joe Shillair. Please check them out.

  38. #38
    From the Donovan Files? — Adam White [[adampwhite.com)
    Joe was mentioned. Really enjoyed Woodward's posting.

  39. #39
    @DWSheffer, @Woodward,

    Thanks for the information. I will definitely follow up on this. Sounds very interesting!

  40. #40
    On Joe Shillair.

    I was so excited when I found out that Joe Shillair had promoted the Velvelettes There He Goes 45. I just had to meet him so when I flew to America for my vacation, I included Atlanta in my itinery so that I could spend some time with him and his partner. It was the 80's and Joe was ill, very ill. This was at a time when we were losing lots of our fellow LGBT members. He met me at the airport and he sung the song for me. It was an incredible moment for me.

    Joe had an incredible amount of memorabilia and there is a rather sad story attached to how it was taken away from him under false pretences. The stuff that was eventually sold was just a miniscule amount of what he had.

    By the way, I've told this story on here before but Joe was actually singing on Two Lovers by Mary Wells. When Motown wanted voices or handclaps, if you were there at the time, you were on that session.

  41. #41
    Billy Davis [[not the billy davis from the 5th dimension) who was Berry Gordys driver and close friend was gay. When he passed Mr Gordy was devastated.

  42. #42
    Michael Jackson slept with young boys.

  43. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    Michael Jackson slept with young boys.
    allegedly.

    please dont equate homosexuality with pedofillia. its very insulting and offensive to the LGBTQ community.

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Jaap View Post
    "I Was Born This Way" was first released by Valentino, also on Motown, on its sub-label Gaiee [[very subtle), in 1975.

    I just noticed by looking at the picture that this was the UK version. There was a US version GA 90001 which is virtually identical. Surprised it was released in both places.

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by woodward View Post
    I just noticed by looking at the picture that this was the UK version. There was a US version GA 90001 which is virtually identical. Surprised it was released in both places.
    Gaiee Records was an independent record label, based in New York, when it first released Valentino's "I Was Born This Way" in 1975. It secured distribution by Motown, who at some stage completely absorbed the label.
    The original independent release bore the catalogue number 7640. The B side was called "Liberation".

  46. #46
    In 1976, MGM released the movie "Norman...Is That You?", based on the Broadway play by Ron Clark & Sam Bobrick. It included "An Old Fashioned Man" by Smokey Robinson [Tamla 54276] and "One Out of Every Six" by Thelma Houston [Tamla 54275].

  47. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by Roberta75 View Post
    allegedly.

    please dont equate homosexuality with pedofillia. its very insulting and offensive to the LGBTQ community.
    Thank you, my friend Ms. Roberta. You have a keen, kindly and Godly way of stating these facts. I hope you are well.

  48. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    Thank you, my friend Ms. Roberta. You have a keen, kindly and Godly way of stating these facts. I hope you are well.
    Yes, thanks to Roberta for stating what needed to be stated. Very well put. J

  49. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by 144man View Post
    Gaiee Records was an independent record label, based in New York, when it first released Valentino's "I Was Born This Way" in 1975. It secured distribution by Motown, who at some stage completely absorbed the label.
    The original independent release bore the catalogue number 7640. The B side was called "Liberation".
    Thanks for pointing this out!

  50. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Roberta75 View Post
    allegedly.

    please dont equate homosexuality with pedofillia. its very insulting and offensive to the LGBTQ community.
    Please don't equate sleeping with boys with pedophilia. It's very insulting and offensive to the Michael Jackson fan club community !


    [[as far as allegedly , didn't Michael boast of this practice?)


    Originally Posted by 144man
    Gaiee Records was an independent record label, based in New York, when it first released Valentino's "I Was Born This Way" in 1975. It secured distribution by Motown, who at some stage completely absorbed the label.
    The original independent release bore the catalogue number 7640. The B side was called "Liberation".
    good info !
    I wonder why Motown had Carl Bean remake this ? They seemed determined to make it a hit !?
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 05-30-2021 at 12:38 PM.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

[REMOVE ADS]

Ralph Terrana
MODERATOR

Welcome to Soulful Detroit! Kindly Consider Turning Off Your Ad BlockingX
Soulful Detroit is a free service that relies on revenue from ad display [regrettably] and donations. We notice that you are using an ad-blocking program that prevents us from earning revenue during your visit.
Ads are REMOVED for Members who donate to Soulful Detroit. [You must be logged in for ads to disappear]
DONATE HERE »
And have Ads removed.