We took to the stage for a couple of Valentine’s weekend performances. With the Freestyle Jam concerts being multiple acts my concern being late in the show was potential time constraints. Sure enough, in San Jose being next to last, their schedule had apparently run behind. The DJ banter between acts went on longer I was told after the fact which made the schedule run long. Unfortunately, my already short set was cut short near the end as a DJ in a red dress was making her way onstage as I was making my way for a quick change before ‘Real Love.’ My tour manager motioned they had to cut and I was out of time. Slightly confused, I was like ‘OK..wow’ — long story short before I knew it the crowd was booing – as the DJ ‘Christie’ red dress told the crowd “Jody Watley had to leave..” – it was as is suddenly I was in the Roman Coliseum thrown to the lions! Shocked I said to my tour manager “What did she say?” Before anything further could be said – I was back onstage taking the microphone from her hand to address the crowd. “Don’t say that..that’s a lie, that’s not the truth..I don’t have to leave..you guys are running late – you cut my set..” or something to that effect is what I remember. The boo’s turned to cheers and chants of “Jody, Jody” – as I’m making my impromptu speech, Ms. Red dress is in my ear muttering some disrespectful things..and warning me I’d better get off the stage..
Needless to say – it could have all gone further south in an instant.
The jest of whaT I said from what I recall is to not let people disrespect you…
It’s a cutthroat business. As I made it to the dressing room in my fury and hurt I fell, twisted my ankle..as it was dark on the side of the stage. The first person I saw in the light was my daughter Lauren who was there visiting. I started crying and she told me everything would be OK..and reminded me that I’m the best Mom..and I have a lot of class and sometimes people don’t like that I have class and want to take me down..
To the station 98.1 – I could live with my set being cut short – but for anyone to lie without reason and to potentially in one act damage a reputation as a professional and esteemed artist was unnecessary and unwarranted. Reflecting on it and hearing from a multitude of fans who reacted on social media..some even saying Boycott the station, how they did me dirty, rude, disrespectful..it was a resounding win for me coming back to the stage to address the crowd. “They tried to throw Jody Watley under the bus.” DJ Christie did apologize to my tour manager and went on about how she was a big fan..however we all know actions will tell you everything a person needs to know.
Always stand up for yourself when you can and take power over situations like that. People with throw dirt on you in an instant and could not care less how it impacts you..so don’t be a doormat.
After that experience, I asked to be placed earlier in the evening so if other acts run late – it won’t impact me again.
Our experience at Orleans Arena was great. The station showed nothing but respect – the crowd was great. I’d done an on air interview with one of their women DJ’s Zenja Dunn a couple of weeks before – she was excited to meet me in person.
The beat don’t stop.
Feb. 26 – Miami Bank United Center / Freestyle Explosion
Feb. 26 – Orlando CFE Arena / Freestyle Explosion
March 10 – Private Event Hard Rock Orlando
March 19 – Cajundome, Lafayette, LA Southwest Black Rodeo