One of the first records I had as a child was the double record Diana Ross and the Supremes Greatest Hits that featured a painting of the three ladies on the blue cover. I played it so much I wore it out. The next Diana record I bought was the Upside Down 45. I played it loudly while doing everything including washing the family truck.
In 1981, she came to Baton Rouge with her "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" tour. My brother got us fourth row seats at the LSU Assembly Center. She had just left Motown and scored a huge record contract with RCA. She was at the height of her career. I was like a screaming teenager at a Beatles concert. It was the first time I saw her in person. I had never seen someone give so much loving energy to so many people at a concert. She had everyone joining hands and singing "Reach Out and Touch Somebody's Hands."
Being a Diana Ross fan my whole life, there is something about her that raises my vibrational level when I listen to her or talk about my love for her to other people. I have seen her over 30 times in concert. I have taken a bus with screaming babies on board from Manhattan to Atlantic City. I have flown to Houston to hear her give a motivational speech about her life and paid money to have a meet and greet with her that never happened with her waving to us as she walked through the crowd saying she had to catch a plane! My diva has played hard to get at times.
I have seen her at Madison Square Garden, the Hollywood Bowl, New Orleans, Biloxi, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, and in Atlanta for the Supremes reunion show. I have sat in the balcony and in the front row. I have paid up to $500 for a ticket! I have been asked to please step away from the stage. I have been told to put my camera up. I have shaken her hand three times and loved smelling my hand with her perfume on it after. I have been backstage and seen her wardrobe. I have talked to her personal dresser. I came out of the bathroom and saw her walking down the hallway while leaving and I let out a gasp. She paused to see what I was going to do next! I decided to and let that private moment pass.
The weekend that Katrina happened I had tickets and hotel reservations in Silver Lake for the Sunset Junction Arts Fest. I was going to see The Former Ladies of the Supremes (the FLOS). The FLOS were the replacement members of the Supremes when Diana left the group. I debated if I should have gone because I thought had a hernia. I decided to go. The FLOS performed on Saturday evening and I got the news of Katrina's power on Sunday. Imagine if I hadn’t gone!
Almost a year later, someone posted a photo of her house with the numbers of the address on the front of the house on the internet. My friend knew from the style of the house the neighbourhood that her house was in. He did some investigative research and found her house located near West Hollywood. She had been seen around town at Trader Joe's and other places.
The FLOS anniversary show at the Fonda Theatre and Katrina‘s anniversary were on the same weekend.
I saw the FLOS on Saturday night and when I woke up Monday morning, my investigative friend told me to get ready we were going to meet Diana. I went along with it, doubting him the whole time, because things like this don't happen in my world. He took me to buy photos of her at an old Hollywood memorabilia store on Santa Monica Boulevard. He drove us to her house and parked at the front door and we waited for her to show. I was nervous we were going to get arrested. When I finally convinced him to leave, a big red truck pulled up to her garage door. He screamed it was her because he recognized her big hair. We ran up to the truck and she cracked her passenger window, asking what we were doing there. We told her we were lost and did she know the way back to town and could she please sign our autographs! We pulled our photos out of the folders they were in and slid them through the small crack in her window. She laughed when she realised we were just crazy fans and opened the window more. she asked who we were and I was mumbling all kind of mumble jumble that was incoherent. My friend acted as interpreter for me and told her my story of Katrina and how this was the anniversary of it and how I missed it and how much we loved her. I have to admit that every time I am around my favourite divas, I become shy and bashful and usually can’t speak. As she signed our autographs, she asked our names and I finally got out that my name is Arthur and she responded her brother was also named Arthur. She was so gracious and nice.
Through my many years of seeing her, I have tried flirting with her using my lenses as a ploy to get closer to her. She has never succumbed to my pleas. In the past she has kept it moving making it hard to get a good shot. The lighting is usually so bright making her blurry. Once at a show at the New York City Center in 2016, I got some great shots.
This year, she played the New Orleans Jazz Fest! The day was perfect with a cool breeze and no humidity! I have never seen her this fabulous. The weather was cool and windy with no humidity. Her dress and her hair blew in the breeze. Her makeup and hair were perfect! She looked renewed and refreshed and you could see her amazement Of the size of the crowd! There were at least a 100,000 people in the audience to see her and boy did she have them in the palm of her well manicured hands. She was on point!
On this day at the New Orleans Fairgrounds, Diana took her time and let us all get our shots.