I usually adhere to the following: what people say about you is none of your business..don’t waste time explaining things to those committed to not understanding and always think of Don Miguel Ruiz’s “The Four Agreements” – the second agreement is to not take things personally much of what people say is a reflection of them.. there are times though lies must be addressed. Reading some of the comments, questions..prompted this very lengthy post because I’m tired of the lies against me with regard the whole “Shalamar Reunion” subject. This was going to be a short blog, however once I began working on it – in the midst of helping write songs for the forthcoming “Bridges”album and other business I figured this may as well be as in-depth as possible. If you’re in a hurry or have a short attention span -you can skip ahead to where I address the lies that have gone on too long by Howard Hewett, Jeffrey Daniel,Unsung and those involved. I come with receipts, as they say. That’s really what this post is all about, the truth to stop the lies.
It’s no secret that Black women are generally the most marginalized, disrespected, diminished, and dissected across social media and in society. It makes no difference if you’re the First Lady of the United States, an Olympic gymnast, the greatest women in tennis, pop stars, actresses like Leslie Jones attacked for taking a role some thought she shouldn’t be in, executives, journalists – who came to defend mega -star, my colleague and more than baby sister of King Of Pop Janet Jackson, after the Superbowl..or you could be working mothers or students who take heat for wearing cornrows or natural styles, welfare recipients, “baby mamas”, too loud, too spirited, too quiet, too reserved – and so on when so many of us are working our asses off to make things happen and hold things together.
We get demeaned constantly – it’s our hair, our weight, our looks, never good enough for some – doesn’t matter the socioeconomic background or level of intelligence either. Often some of the negativity and hate sadly comes directly from other black women and men. In the midst of being an artist it was my duty to raise another intelligent, strong daughter knowing the challenges not just of being a human being, a woman – add to the mix a girl and woman of color.
To refresh you on who I am, and this is not about tooting my own horn but to those it may concern who keep with the ‘she’s mad’ narrative – mad why? In this case, it’s worth reminding you. I’m Jody Watley, daughter of Rose and John from Chicago, god-daughter of music legend Jackie Wilson.
I’m a veteran artist and award-winning BMI songwriter (Don’t You Want Me, Looking For a New Love, Friends, Real Love to name a few…). In a 2013 cover story in music magazine Wax Poetics Dean Van Nguyen wrote: one of music’s most prominent visionaries…
Though not always on the receiving end of such props – bottom line is I’m not an Unsung artist. My achievements represent what many black artists aspire for – crossover success, mainstream recognition beyond the R&B spectrum. I did it at a time when it wasn’t really acceptable – at least not for black women. The same people who booed Whitney Houston were the same ones who may have revelled in her demise and then cried when she died prematurely. Remember the Soul Train awards and she was booed? She was booed for being crossover – aka accepted by the mainstream, whites, Latinos, Asian..global. I never remember Michael Jackson being booed, we were all crossover chart-toppers at the time when commercial Top 40 and R&B radio as well as MTV, VH-1, BET, The Box, etc were what they were.
It was as if universal acceptance by way of music was somehow perverse and wrong a betrayal of sort to a black or ‘urban’ (a generic term at best) fanbase. There are those that don’t like me for what they think I represent..not being a true soul R&B artist in their eyes, not black enough in their eyes, not gospel enough in their eyes..not ratchet enough in their eyes..not a woe is me hasn’t suffered enough from what you see or know in their eyes artist – you don’t know my life or struggles as a whole from my childhood and on, because I haven’t chosen to use them as marketing tools. It may look effortless – though it’s not, far from it. So, when people set about to destroy you for what you’ve worked hard for all of your life and career, to tear that down, for being determined, tenacious, smart, strong, talented, determined, independent, classy on constantly on my music and business grind, it’s like – wow really? Even at your job, whatever you do there’s bound to be someone in the shadows – mad. Could even be family and those you may have considered a friend. It’s life.
Bio excerpts: Nearly 30 years as a solo artist, 32 Top Ten Singles in various genres and 13 #1 Singles in the Pop, Dance and R&B music genres over the past three decades, 6 Hot 100 Top Ten Singles, 15 Top 40 R&B Singles from 9 albums, and EP, various remix compilations, collaborations, Greatest Hits.. as a solo artist, I’ve scored recent Top 10 singles Dance and Pop in America and the United Kingdom, – multi-format hit singles include such classics as “Looking For A New Love,” with it’s popular sardonic catch-phrase “Hasta La Vista Ba-by” later used by Arnold Schwarzenegger in blockbuster movie Terminator; “Don’t You Want Me” and her groundbreaking collaboration with Eric B and Rakim “Friends”, Watley is widely regarded as one of Pop/R&B’s pioneering icons… millions of records sold, recipient of the prestigious Best New Artist Grammy, countless nominations at MTV where I remain one of the most nominated – no matter how long ago it was, it’s in the books. I’m an established working artist.
Proud to have made an impact, to be part of pop culture of the 80’s as one its defining artists with my music style and yes the catch phrase “Hasta La Vista Baby.” I didn’t get stuck there.
I’ve been named one of People’s Most Beautiful, features in VOGUE, VOGUE Italia, Details, Harper’s Bazaar, Rolling Stone, Essence, USA Today, Vanity Fair (a publication that rarely features black entertainers to this day),Time Magazine , LA Times, NY Post, NY Times – I, Jody Watley even made the crossword puzzle twice from what I’ve been told – these among hundreds of publications in America not to mention features around the world from Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, United Kingdom and Japan to name a few. I’ve even been on Broadway as in the hit musical GREASE! playing the iconic character Rizzo.
Add in trendsetting ad campaigns for mega retailer GAP (my image was in every GAP store around the United States with billboards on bus stops that were frequently stolen), a fashion L.A Eyeworks ad, Saks 5th Avenue 16 page layout, ..a million selling fitness video, a first for a black artist..the first black woman to appear on a mainstream Japanese magazine with billboards all over the country – a television commercial, offers for film roles including a starring role with Denzel Washington which I regret not taking – a major automobile television commercial in America that my manager at the time turned down at the time worried about more back-lash subsequently went to the inimitable Tina Turner… to be at the forefront of the Rap Sung/Pop/R&B collaboration with Eric B and Rakim a formula which continues today is cool – pioneering..went out on a limb for that to that to happen. The acceptance of a black female artist into the mainstream music fashion arena. I am the pre-cursor to mega stars Beyonce, Rihanna who have taken things to even greater heights – just to name two. Jody Watley.
Neither Shalamar not any former member has achieved what I have. That is a fact and a bitter pill, still for some. I was the one who wasn’t to succeed and surely not like I have-the one whose future was most in doubt according to some back in 1983 who has simply carried on my journey.
Yet, curiously – I’m the one attacked, harassed, disrespected, belittled and thrown into the tired narrative of the alleged ‘bitter black woman’, the petty one..and so on. Stop it. I’m a successful woman – a black woman. My career continues as I create my own path like anyone else in this world should do, never-resting on what I’ve achieved.
These Unsung pieces add fuel to the fire and are without merit. It’s other people who are bitter and petty. What an earth would me – Jody Watley have to be bitter about? Being successful in my career, my life? I wrote about jealousy and envy in my hit ‘Friends.’
The groundbreaking formula of the custom verses crossing genres and a Top 10 in R&B, Pop and Dance – still continues today and influenced a generation of new artist. Jody Watley, Eric B and Rakim “Friends” 1989 – and a new collaboration in 98. I’m proud of my solo career it continues to sustain and inspire.
In the midst of my career, I’ve taken time away from the spotlight as well and raised two awesome, intelligent grounded children into young adults – putting one through college , my daughter Lauren and currently my son Arie. It’s a blessing to create my own schedule through the years and happy that I made parenthood, motherhood a priority instead of chasing money and fame or being forced to do things I haven’t wanted to do. This was a luxury afforded to me because in addition to being an artist, as I said above I’ve helped write some really successful songs. Songwriting..a talent that evolved from my love of writing poetry as a child to escape difficult times. My daughter and son are everything. We don’t fit into today’s tabloid driven narrative and so you don’t hear about my personal life much.
I’ve said before, if my career ended with my solo debut – God and the universe provided me with the ultimate smack down for naysayers and doubters that no one saw coming. I’m still doing it and succeeding even in today’s youth driven marketplace. So tell me again why I hold a grudge against my former Shalamar colleagues and what am I forgiving?
Perhaps somehow the some older black fans who attack me with negative comments as if I’ve been sitting around with nothing else to hope for but a Shalamar reunion, may have missed a lot of my benchmarks (shared a few highlights of hundreds above) and ongoing career because they didn’t or don’t follow the mainstream only JET – once considered the urban music bible. I made the prestigious cover of it as well. Blurbs , Photo of The Weeks, over the years and most recently promoting Shalamar Reloaded. Here
If anyone is under any doubt who received the backlash from Unsung – just visit some of the comments around the web. Jody Watley. A sampling of comments directed at me:
This was one that I came across actually made me laugh since no man has ever taken care of me. As a note to Jamone, I’m still single-handedly sending my youngest to college and have always been the self-sufficient bread-winner-even during a brief marriage. A self financed artist and label owner since 1995; there are men on my payroll having employed men for decades, from producers, co-producers, remixers, band members, photographers, designers, executives and other staff. So yea..gold digging bitch.
No one can ever make you feel less than you are without your consent, so these types of comments don’t phase me, I have to laugh. My sound and style contributed to the success of Shalamar – if some people don’t think so, cool. Doesn’t change my life, career or the past contributions and what I’m doing now and with SRL. After Shalamar and all of this – I am still Jody Watley.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion..and when you’re tagged they want to make sure you know their opinion – such as Charmaine and Jo Ann – other black women. There are hundreds like them venting hatred of me and others in the public eye – there’s also a lot of love. That’s where my focus is, however it’s important not to live in that bubble. Sometimes you’ve go to see the hate. If you check Jo Anne Fair’s page you’ll see Christian scriptures, although very judgmental of me .. typical. I wonder when people leave a negative comment, does it make them feel pleased with themselves in that moment..probably. Glad to not be them.
For those who are intimidated by the progress of Shalamar Reloaded, and are upset because it has ‘Shalamar’ in it and think these comments may discourage or undermine us or deter promoters – we’re not trying to be ‘Shalamar’ of old – be clear on that, relax, no one is here to steal your memories. SRL kicks ass and we all truly like and enjoy each other as well. I can do this and still respect the past for what it was and understand what it represents to others. Our name is Shalamar Reloaded / SRL for short, there has never been another. Are people upset of the various Shalamar restaurants, hospitals, spas? Were you mad at the various other versions of Shalamar after my departure?
It’s amazing as well that if I’m so insignificant, as some say and post to me..why do I keep ending up as the focus of these Unsungs? As of right now, today and as trademark owner – as long as they don’t use my likeness, or any false misleading tactics, Howard is free to be Shalamar featuring Howard Hewett like he’s been doing.. I wish them the best, that’s not what my group ‘Shalamar Reloaded” is about. Make sure to keep supporting Howard and the Baldwin group (keep reading), especially you Charmaine who took time to tag me, though she doesn’t follow me.
This isn’t really about a Shalamar Reunion, this is all anti Jody Watley from my point of view rooted in envy.
“Unsung” – I’m not. Having achieved what many black artists strive for – crossover success. There’s no reason for me to have a grudge with anyone, but there are those who definitely hold a grudge against me.
My hope is after this lengthy post, all of you who need to, can move on instead of telling me to, when I have moved on my solo career represents that! For some none of these facts will mean anything and you’ll still think what you want – that’s fine too. This post is also for me though – needed to get this off my chest and put these facts out here – so I write and backtrack all of this for this blog.
Workers of iniquity want to see you fail or go crawling in a hole of contrition somewhere, fall off, self destruct..who knows. Stop wasting energy. People post to me “Life is too short..let it go” Let what go?? I say follow your own advice it has nothing to do with me.
Focused as always on my life, career and moving forward working on new music and new ventures, in a short year and a half I’ve successfully launched a new group and we kick ass. We’ve had sold out shows, a special live broadcast in Japan and Asia on Fuji Next TV (this was my second such special and it was nice to give introduce Nate and Rosero), we’ve had 3 morning show appearances, new music, new videos, working on an album and really have trimmed down the part of the concert that updated songs with Shalamar I helped originate – we’re moving on to our original material. Yet, we’re obviously a threat to some who are in desperation mode. Do you.
Being dragged into unwarranted negativity and fake drama from a recent TV-One Unsung Howard Hewett – basically Unsung Shalamar Part 2 was like OK, this again? My image, name and likeness were used to drive views in social media and ratings for the broadcast walking a thin line into libel and defamation – lies, lies and more lies.
Unsung / TV-One / Unsung Producers:
Here are some facts. The “Jody Watley has refused ALL requests for Shalamar Reunion” lie and narrative was first broadcast in 2009 with Unsung Shalamar but has been long perpetuated by Howard and his people. At the time because so many people wanted to know my thoughts on the broadcast. There were so many glaring omissions so I expressed my thoughts in Jody Watley Unsung Unfiltered on my Youtube channel. The omission of original male lead Gerald Brown was glaring in as much as he was clowned by Jeffrey Daniel in the episode about him waiting on a phone call – though the producers never reached out to Gerald to substantiate or get his side of what led to his departure. Gerald is included in my Unfiltered Part 8 the conclusion. Watch
In 7 years, more has happened as life and business have gone on. The production company A. Smith and Co has updated it to include the daughter of Dick Griffey who has never sang on one song with Shalamar – not one hit or album yet they revised to include her, a woman who has a personal vendetta against me which began with her father. Still no Gerald Brown though, who sang on our hit “Take That To The Bank” it’s all very shady.
A. Smith and Unsung Producers of which Howard is one updated and edited the Unsung Shalamar in 2015 after I registered the mark and after the original 2009 airing concluded “Shalamar had faded into obscurity after 1990..” This was nothing short of an effort by TV-One/Unsung/A.Smith Co the Griffey’s, Hewett and Daniel – to assist in Baldwin (Griffey) in her trademark challenge to try give her credibility and acceptance with the public here in the states.
Her challenge case status is a “Motion to Compel” (basically now she has to be forced to turn over documents to back up her claims in her challenge), meaning beyond some emails we’re waiting on real paperwork to back up her claims. The Motion To Compel was filed by my attorney Michael L. Lovitz on The Motion is viewable on the USPTO website. They’ll be doing more shows in the UK, after their recent California concert with the Whispers was cancelled.
That said – here’s the real deal and why I’m tired of the constant lies and misinformation purposely put out to create backlash, negative sentiments with the black/urban fans of the old group with regard to me. Misinformation is designed to undermine my efforts with Shalamar Reloaded and damage my personal reputation. My new group who are not Shalamar, are not a tribute act and not trying to recapture the past. There not two of Shalamar’s right now. Howard and Jeffrey have not been trying to work with me for twenty years – they are under contract to the Griffey family who has dictated who they can work with if they are to do ‘Shalamar’ and that female is Carolyn Baldwin (Griffey)…proof below – keep reading.
Shalamar Reloaded which is also its own registered mark #USPTO 4952825- it’s a new brand, all made very clear in all marketing and advertising. This is clear in our efforts making new music, video’s and so on. Carolyn has threatened to challenge and sue me over this registration as well. As I said, Nate, Rosero and I can be called any name and folks would still be mad, because I started a new group with two other men. Some post to me calling them my babies in a derogatory manner, though Rosero also has two young adult children like me and Nate is a grown man, not a teen-ager and so what if he was? Some never want to see you succeed that’s all. Others happiness reminds those disappointed in their lives of what they miss or lack.
Our stage show is stellar, everything we do is on point – a name won’t change that. As well, Jody Watley will still have my own hits and notoriety – always a selling point that can’t be denied; I’ve earned it.
Shalamar Reloaded on iTunes: O.R.I.G.IN.A.L.
Shalamar Reloaded on iTunes: SlowDance Remixed
Shalamar Reloaded is a fact known to Howard, he apparently made it a point to answer questions about it in researching for this blog post..so to say I started another group called “Shalamar” at this point isn’t true. We, Nate, Rosero and I have people’s attention for sure.
SRL has received quite a bit of press and released new music as well generated trolls, haters and naysayers as well.
I’m not out here pimping the past, there’s a personal and business commitment as well as investing financially in this – my money for every single, video, hired publicist, the album we’re working on, etc. Attempts to stigmatize or undermine the work, dollars and time devoted to my new endeavors in partnership with Nate Allen Smith and Rosero McCoy are a waste of time and energy – move on. We are in the now. I am in the now.
All of this makes me who I am. This is my journey not up for public vote. I’ll continue to live my life and conduct it as I choose. Folks are mad because I’m living my life and handling business – away from the old Solar regime as I’ve been doing as a solo artist for nearly 30 years and now with the addition of Shalamar Reloaded – a vocal dance trio established in 2015.
One of many positive concert reviews: Here
This was a great comment and a reminder to me that there are many who do get it and see through the lies and who uplift me by taking time to post positive comments in hailstorms.
Here’s a timeline of communications over the years..I’m going to start with recent events as they are most relevant, unless you’re a person stuck on events of 20 and over 30 years ago – then working my way to the 1996 – Babyface reunion over 21 years ago that people including Howard Hewett, Jeffrey Daniel, TV-One/Unsung etc are still making much ado about nothing over.
When registering the mark which became effective May 23 2014 USPTO #4,530,877 (covered already in various interviews and blog posts here on my site) – I’d extended an invitation to Howard to join me for a few dates. My initial concept for “Shalamar” (you can’t register a mark and not use it and so I had to set make a plan). Initially, “Shalamar” under my legally registered trademark would with Gerald Brown (who remains a friend of mine) a collaborator on the hit single “Nightlife.” In the end Gerald was unable to do what we’d planned causing me to revise things. Since then in 2014, Gerald has been a staunch supporter of Nate, Rosero and Shalamar Reloaded.
As well to be clear, I have not abandoned my solo career, this is simply a new extension.
Email Excerpts November 3, 2014:
Blocked! I attempted to look up a tweet Howard had tagged me in last year to the effect of “People are asking what I think of @jodywatley Shalamar Reloaded..I’m not interested in that..” It was something to that effect, as I tend to do – simply ignored it. Back in 2015 his tweet to me was followed by a series of tags/tweets from his friends online bully Vijay Bhuchar (the Shalamar/Shalamar Friends friend and t-shirt vendor in the UK) and oddly singer Phil Perry. I never responded nor acknowledged it. I had to laugh at loud when I saw “You are blocked..” Really? Who’s mad?
**Update (Sept.12, 2016) thank you to the fan on Twitter who pulled this tweet I was referring too and a few more..”
The line-up that tours the UK with Carolyn; a woman who never song on one hit single or classic album is now #TheRealShalamar ? Ok…
I googled this…as an example of the constant lies “Howard Hewett Talks Rift with Jody Watley..” October 2015..Majic1023 — https://twitter.com/mymajic1023/status/660280161863147520
“..you can’t still be mad after 30 years..” referring to me, Jody Watley when really Howard must be speaking of himself ” further adds “..she got the trademark illegally..” more lies and slander from Howard Hewett on Tom Joyner Morning Show
What rift????! Mad at what??!! See above, my bio and a few highlights in an ongoing career. I am tired of these lies, but still not mad, and classy enough to smile when we bumped into each other at the airport. In this instance I have every right to be upset at the constant attempts to damage my reputation to put a damper on the love and respect that so many do have for me. The above links interview are after these emails initiated by me further disproving the constant need to mislead the public, attempting to create a negative backlash ..Stop the lies, and attacks against me.
When I reached out to Howard October 13, 2014..it took him nearly a month to see it..check it and a year later October 2015 he continues to speaks of the imaginary ‘..rift..’ instant airtime with Tom Joyner..who, I’d add – never had me to come on and reply to these lies and allegations..
What rift, other than the one Howard obviously wants people to think exists – and maybe it does within himself – maybe one day he can move on, let it go and stop being petty by peddling lies.
Hadn’t spoken to Jeffrey in over nearly 15 years. He was desperate to talk to me. He, Howard, Caroyln and their manager Michael Gardner were up in arms about the fact I’d started a new group. Jeffrey contacted me through booking agent Sal Michaels at Pyramid, he had been a booking agent of Shalamar in the 80’s and we’d recently reconnected. Sal was being harassed and threatened with lawsuits to sabotage my efforts by Michael Gardner on behalf Baldwin, Jeffrey and Howard.
One of many emails threatening to sue (without merit) in an attempt to sabotage booking efforts.
I will only excerpt the relevant portion with regard to Shalamar and potentially working together. Perhaps the question to him is why do you keep saying Jody is the reason there’s never been a reunion, though from his comments on Unsung, I think Jeffrey is suffering extreme memory loss and speaking with him confirmed my suspicion- that or denial. Knowing the facts of the Dick Griffey mandate and the fact they never asked me prior to that with any real specifics is what he should convey and recent talks rather than over 20 years ago.
Jeffrey Daniel January 2015 Email-I have not heard a word nor received a response since. “Shalamar Reloaded” has since been solidified, they continue to do more shows than ever in the UK – so it’s all good.
Maybe someone can ask Jeffrey why he hasn’t mentioned this most recent correspondence from last year – why the lie about Jody being the problem? What problem?
Because Jeffrey and I exchanged conversation about his family, his children, his God-daughters in Lagos, my children, etc..I have only extracted what he said in regards to possibly getting together “Shalamar.” They went on to a festival ‘Let’s Rock Bristol’ – as my group had done the year before at Let’s Rock London. Not another peep from Jeffrey who I gather is powerless which is sad for him as the only original of those 3.
For reasons only Howard and Jeffrey knows – they continue to perpetuate the lie that I’ve been the problem with “Reunion” knowing the truth is they haven’t asked me – even when they did a “Reunion Tour in the UK called “The Second Time Around Tour” using my likeness mind you, to generate more commerce in fees. I was told by fans there of them telling the audiences I didn’t show, couldn’t make it but was welcome anytime – also not true. This year I found out the real reason behind why they haven’t asked me – provided by Carolyn Baldwin (Griffey stage name) in some emails in her declaration.
Here’s an example of what led me to research the actual ownership as a refresher – I’ve covered this is a couple of other blog posts and interviews.
Read the ad..Imagine that – only the woman in the photo is me – Jody Watley.
The emails below became a part of the Baldwin (Griffey) challenge this year with the TTAB (Trademark and Appeals Board) – it made everything make sense.
Emails from Dick Griffey mandating who will be in “Shalamar” among other revelations. This is not proof of ownership, as a note – just someone demanding someone follow his demands – something they continue to do. This fact was certainly not covered in Unsung nor any interview they’ve done. Instead – they say Jody won’t do it..the truth is, they are doing what they were told by Dick Griffey dating back to 2001 apparently.
It’s easier to throw me under the bus than admit they Howard and Jeffrey work under the belief that “Shalamar” belongs to Carolyn (Baldwin) Griffey and they back her up. Why not include that in Howard’s Unsung..rather than the fake narrative? Instead, you get manufactured “beef ” so that the public can accept Carolyn and buy into the lie that “Jody Watley has refused all reunions..”
These documents are a part of the Baldwin challenge to my legal registration with the USPTO which stopped them for advertising in the UK using images that included me – Jody Watley and changing my name to hers – as if she were the original woman in Shalamar which is also of course not true. They had a charade going – I stopped it for those who question how I came to the trademark. Even as owner at the outset, my attorney told them they could use the name just stop false ads.
The “Real” Shalamar according to Howard, Jeffrey and Carolyn:
**Updated (Sept.12, 2016) thank you to the fan who in-boxed me on Twitter.
Presented to my attorney Michael L. Lovitz, IP Law and in declaration documents.
Despite this and the recent public revelations in the United States – it was only after my registration that they began to mention her by name – in fact they just apparently introduced her in July 0f 2015..after using my likeness in the UK for years – the charade was over because of my registration.
2015 – the introduction, after 14 years..but she’s been in it since 2001 right?
BET Awards 2014 – BET and Jesse Collins Ent. offered me a solo spotlight and Shalamar reunion surprise appearance – I agreed and in the end said no because the producers were not holding up to their end of the offer, we could not agree creatively as they wanted to turn it into something else entirely – again, this is a business one shouldn’t have to dim a light for others to shine and why do it if not for maximum impact, it was not about just getting onstage crooning ballads. Agreements are to be honored not baited and switched. BET, Jesse Collins, Mike Gardner manager and Howard Hewett were the reason this performance subsequently never happened. They wanted to add a Howard feature and I was fine with it..though it was not in their offer to me…it went downhill from there.
BET Acceptance Letter:
Jeffrey Email RE: BET / Howard Email Excerpts:
Essence Festival Pitch from Avid – 2014
In a follow-up phone call with with Wallace Butts of Avid Music Inc, it was reiterated there was no interest in a ‘Shalamar Reunion’ as I gauged interest post trademark registration.
2011 – After meeting concert promoter / producer friend to Howard Hewett Bill Hammond at a charity event, he was keen on discussing a possible “Reunion” tour. Bill has a past history in quality events. I pitched the “Farewell” concert for the USA to give closure to the American fans who are still interested.
This time it all fell apart when he told me he’d had a great conversation with Howard but that Carolyn would have to be involved and we’d need her permission, she’d need to be on background vocals – there was never another woman singing with Shalamar when I was in it – there was no need and no need to start. My voice and tone always held it down, nothings changed. Howard was looking out for Carolyn and that’s his choice so it’s perfect he continues to work for the Griffey’s and loyal to them.
I choose to have no dealings with the Griffey’s in any capacity – Dick Griffey himself was never a fan of mine and treated me with disrespect not to mention not properly compensating us – that era taught me what not to accept moving forward and I remain grateful for the experience, however those days are gone.
No smart business person is walking back into that situation. Any of the former members could have also done what I did and researched the trademark instead of accepting wolf tickets.
Hammond Email: 2011 Farewell Tour Convo
Excerpt continued from March 29, 2011 email exchange with Bill Hammond
I opted out of pursuing it further once Howard said Carolyn would have to giver permission and also be a part of it..No thanks.
THIS. The Charade. Hit Me Baby One More Time.
2005 – I was deep into ambient electronica ‘Midnight Lounge” era musically and creatively. It’s one of my best albums and most critically acclaimed. Jeffrey, Howard and Carolyn go on UK Hit Me Baby One More Time and are introduced as “Shalamar” back together again – “Reunited.” Jeffrey proclaims “it’s like when we were here back in the day – not when Howard and I were here..when “we” were here as they all gather around to look at the footage. The video package with old footage features me – Jody Watley performing and intermixed with Carolyn implying it’s the same person – reunited remember. When she says “Oh, look – there’s Jermaine” that was like whoa – my best friend who wrote a song about me – Jody. Why use Carolyn to point out Jermaine..hmm – obvious. The charade begins. Was I asked to be a part of this? No. Read earlier mandate by Dick Griffey..tell the truth guys.
Carolyn, you’re not the original woman in Shalamar. Making sure she was not introduced by name in 2005. A simple Shalamar is back with a new member..but – no. The UK has been made to believe – she is me since 2005, until I stopped the falsehoods.
WATCH!! Jody Watley, the one some say insignificant to “Shalamar” always right there..my likeness and old Shalamar images, Soul Train..music video, performances..”They’re back!” Really?
How many closeups of me, Jody Watley can you count? Even Gerald Brown “Take That To The Bank” is used in the package as well. Notably though, when they take the stage there’s no distinction made of who is on the stage..that’s not me, Jody Watley but certainly I was used without permission..they could have had the real thing but they chose an imposter. Did they or any of their reps reach out to me? No and as I said, it all made sense once the emails provided by Carolyn for her challenge of my registration were in my possession as a part of this legal journey.
Going back, at the time my website was called missjodywatley.com – I was flooded with messages that Jeffrey and Howard were trying to pass some girl off as me on a TV show. This is how I came to know about it. I addressed it on the site and made it clear it wasn’t me and that what they were doing was not OK. I received an email from Tunde Babola, Jeffrey’s longtime manager and friend. I use to have to occasional friendly exchange with Tunde until that point. He admonished me for the post clarifying the charade – and told me to take it down. I said there was no reason to take it down and the false presentation wasn’t legal or right. He told me, and I’ll never forget it “Lest you forget, Dick Griffey owns Shalamar lock, stock and barrel..” to which my reply was “Well I own Jody Watley and this website lock, stock and barrel and if you don’t like my posts stay off of my website. I’ve never spoken to him since. When the video’s were posted on Youtube, it was truly flabbergasting to actually see what they’d done and it still is. I forgive them, it’s all really low and pathetic to me. It’s a reminder of how shady this business and how people can be while in the public presenting something entirely different; including using the umbrella of being ‘a Christian.’ Your beliefs don’t make you righteous, your behavior does.
2000 – Jeffrey says he asked me once around this time to perform with them in his email to me from January 2015 and I turned it down. I don’t recall it, nor do I recall ever receiving a firm contract offer or anything of that nature. In 1999-2000 for was going into my experimental electronica era. The Saturday Night Experience Vol. 1 featuring Jody Watley. There was no photo of me on the cover, just sound waves.
I was burnt out on the commercial part of the business and more in the underground rejuvenation phase – as well I was deep into motherhood enjoying raising my children who have always been my priority. During this time, I also wanted to distance myself from the 80’s which had been so good to me and continue to pay my bills- over time, I came back around to that and put those songs back in my show.
If I did decline that one time, I suppose it wasn’t to be revisited? It’s as if in their world people and philosophies don’t change. Frozen in time, that’s how some are and that’s fine for them. They don’t grow, change evolve -and remain rigid, never progressing in life. People change their minds all the time -the next day, week, month or year…it’s kind of funny when you think about it. There’s a favorite moment, a teachable lesson from daughter when she was little-she loved broccoli..and then she didn’t, when I asked ‘But I thought you liked broccoli..she replied “Well Mommie, taste buds change you know..” it’s a metaphor for life.
Adding more back story to this period – During this time I hired Jeffrey for shows to Japan to do “Shalamar” segment. Ironically Rosero from SRL was a dancer with me then and was on the trip. The execs at MJJ had taken Jeffrey off payroll and he was having financial issues. I extended help to someone who I’ve always had a tumultuous off and on friendship, though he remains in denial about that fact. But even if we are no longer friends, I will help someone like that because holding onto tribulations is a waste of energy. After that trip in 2000 -we never spoke after that until January 2015 when he contacted Sal Michaels at Pyramid desperate to talk to me – I’ll save that for my memoir.
1998 – Just One More Time. Howard, Jeffrey and I went into the studio to record the song “Just One More Time” for Atlantic Records, it was written and produced by Jamey Jaz. We recorded, all three of us together on Beverly Blvd atWestlake Studios. This fact can be substantiated by Craig Kalman of Atlantic and other former executives such as John “Johnny D” DeMairo and Rich Christina. The song of which I have somewhere deep in storage on a cassette and recently asked Jamey if he had his copy and said no. It was scrapped in favor of my solo performance as Craig was unhappy with the outcome of it. He lost interest in perhaps trying another song because he said Hewett’s voice had lost it’s magic and we didn’t sound good together. I have no idea why neither Howard or Jeffrey acknowledge this fact – but continue to go with the “..our hopes are dashed because of Jody Watley” even after decades. People comment to me with such conviction in their vitriol..forgive yourselves for attacking me over things you have no clue about and move on. Tell the truth guys. Why don’t you mention this???? Drama sells.
1996 – The Babyface Reunion Album — Howard, Jeffrey and myself were in negotiations for a Shalamar Reunion album. At first, I wasn’t that into it. Babyface convinced me how great it would be and also he spoke of his past not always pleasant dealings with Dick Griffey. My potential deal was being negotiated by Rosalyn E. Jones, ESQ my longtime entertainment attorney. In the end there was no agreement – no deal could be reached. Howard’s manager wanted more money for him..we were not a group and hadn’t been for over decade and this harkened back to when I left Shalamar in the first place due to Howard; making his own side deals with Griffey who was not paying me or Jeffrey what we deserved. To Dick Griffey we were always those ‘dancers’. That’s not badmouthing the man, that’s my experience and at one time Jeffrey’s – but he doesn’t remember that. The break-up in 1983: Melody Maker – read what Jeffrey said when it was all fresh. HERE
This is business, I’m not a dancer, or some naive girl floundering and clueless. I’m an established artist, a business woman. It wasn’t me trying to get more than everyone else though surely I’d earned the same right. Sure, it could have been cool but it didn’t work and I am a big believer that some things happen for a reason – pay attention to the universe and life. I have great respect for Babyface. I nearly worked with him when I was on MCA but it never happened..I don’t walk around pissed off that it didn’t work out. Life goes on, but that’s just me.
1996 – Top of The Pops Taping on Santa Monica Pier – all of us together…what is the reason TV-One, Unsung, A. Smith and Co Productions, Howard, Jeffrey continue to omit this? It doesn’t feed the Jody Watley has refused all reunions lie. I had no problem appearing with them although it was disappointing that they didn’t want to rehearse or work with a choreographer so we were just milling about in the performance – but that’s was just my input then. People need to stop acting like it never happened in favor of fake drama where there was none. Why isn’t this ever shown in these Unsung Shalamar episodes?
This video was uploaded by my company under the account Classic Shalamar on November 2011 another reaction to the false statement that Jody Watley has declined ALL Reunions made in Unsung Shalamar, 2009. Otherwise, it’s unlikely anyone else would have..Howard, Jeffrey, Babyface, LL Cool J, A.Smith and Co, Unsung, know of this video and taping in 1996 – but yet…I’ve refused ALL reunions. Stop it.
1996 – “For The Lover In You” Video Babyface with Hype Williams. The blown out of proportion “Jody refused to film with us..”. I was flying in from concerts in Japan and it made sense in the end to simply film my scene on green screen as Hype said he was doing with all of us anyway from what I recall. An appointment with the stylist was made of Williams’ choosing, the awesome June Ambrose. She pulled hot pieces, I selected the leather maxi – had no clue what Jeffrey and Howard chose – we were not a group.
The day of the shoot each Howard and Jeffrey had filmed their scene by the time I arrived. Was there someone there who said, you can’t talk to Jody? No, and no big deal. It was a job, I showed up, did my part and that was that. It was three people shooting scenes for a song we all had a part in. That said did I have concerns about how the vibe would be from two men I hadn’t worked with in a long time and had some negative and positive encounters the years since? Yes of course, anyone would have. This was about scheduling, not shade throwing. Williams never said we can’t do this if you’re not all together.
I would totally acquised to that if that was the case. I never thought it would become an ‘issue’ for some and used as a part of a smear campaign.
If it were such a big problem for me and no one could ‘get Jody Watley in the room..and the “what shade went down” lie — what changed in a few weeks for the taping of Top Of The Pops on the Santa Monica Pier? Why didn’t I simply decline participating at all? Why do you think this fact has been left out twice now on a national documentary series, which be repeated over and over? It’s a better story and drama sells – the villian in this story has been purposefully made to be me – Jody Watley, the Grammy winning artist with the crossover career..Chew on that.
Despite these facts, when I bumped to Howard again recently at the airport (he’d dashed out quickly when he saw me on arrival after autograph seekers alerted me to his presence) as fate would have it we were on the same return flight. Trust me he was very much the cat who swallowed the canary when I was in proximity and he had to speak..I was cordial, we spoke, I filmed a video – we on the same flight and never said another word after that. I could have confronted him for all of the lies and false statements about me but as Michelle Obama said “When they go low – we go high.”
Hewett also recently went on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and slandered me saying I’d committed fraud by registering the trademark, a claim without merit intended to damage my reputation. Lies and pettiness. Currently a Motion to Compel is pending with the USPTO Trademark and Appeals Board because Baldwin (Griffey) has yet to cooperate in proving her case.
Great comment and observation Dotun.
We were and are all different people. Personally, I’m always evolving but I really don’t have time for negative people, people who don’t respect me, uplift me as I do those around me..any situation that’s not going to be joyful why bother? My thing, and you can go back and read decades of my interviews – it’s always about being happy at the core of all that I do in this life that presents it’s highs, lows, challenges and triumphs. My focus is always what I’m in the moment doing and promoting – not what I’ve done unless in brief context in questions asked when I’m doing promotions. There’s nothing to repair.
In Carolyn Baldwin’s declaration and challenge from 2014 she got a statement from former Solar Records attorney Virgil Roberts. Virgil said in his statement that while he and Griffey urged me to stay and what a mistake it would be I allegedly said “I’d rather be a ticket taker at The Baldwin Hills Theater than to stay in this group..” great line for the movie of my life! I was barely into my 20’s – I’ve always had guts, balls and faith. As long as I’m happy – I’m good. Money doesn’t buy that. Jody Watley – petty? No, just a smart young lady who grew into an even smarter woman defining her life – her way. Still learning, still growing – some people will never like me for being me I’m good with that.
Howard, Jeffrey and I are strangers in many regards who were once in a group, put together by fate for a very brief time – but we made a great mark. It’s cool to be a part of that and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve appreciated it a lot more no matter how difficult or tumultuous it was, there was some good in it too. As I’ve said before, I wouldn’t change a thing, it’s a small part of my life that helped teach me, if only what I don’t like, or my own value when others constantly tried to demean me (and still in their lies) – as some do now. Former colleagues (I know some may cringe at that) though I don’t know what else to refer to us as – we are not friends but that doesn’t make for enemies either..nor should it make people lie. We are frozen for all time on past recordings and the shows we did 79-83, 4 years a couple of lifetimes ago. Let it be what it was because it will never be that again.
To the old school fans –Enjoy the way that music that made you feel good and recall those special moments what you thought was great chemistry – it’s never coming back that started to corrode in 1982 and came to an end in 1983 (Jeffrey break-up interview from 1983 – Here) ..Go try to make new special moments and memories that’s what life should be about as long as we’re here. Some things as much as you may want aren’t meant to be. Anyone who follow me knows that I’m always saying others that the best days aren’t behind – appreciate the past yes..but hey we’re all still here – LIVE LIFE. That’s what my current “Paradise” release is all about.
Those old Shalamar days – that’s probably as good as it’s going to get for some but not me as my career has already proven.
So-Howard and Jeffrey, take responsibility, stop the lies and carry on with Carolyn. Own what you’re doing with her – it’s OK if you guys choose to be loyal to the Griffey’s and the days gone by of Solar Records.
It’s also worth mentioning the Solar Records trademark was only just registered by Unidisc..who’s challenging and fighting that?! I’m just saying. Maybe it’s just a let’s go after Jody Watley because we don’t like her thing.
After all of this – a public apology? Doubtful it will ever come and life will go on and the beat won’t stop for me. Unsung, TV-One..etc. Even a contributors at Centric got into the mix and took personal shots calling me’petty and bitter’ when they profiled the video for ‘SlowDance’ –though supposedly about empowering black women. On the same token, Centric, another contributor and editor at the time did an awesome piece on me with the launch of ‘Nightlife’ Editor’s Choice ( Here ) so perhaps it was just the writer of the Shalamar ‘SlowDance’ video release who took personal umbrage to my efforts and wrote a very unprofessional piece. It’s OK to critique and not like something, but taking personal shots is different.
Read the post: Here – one thing is for sure in just over a year and a half, I’ve managed to do a lot in launching a new group Shalamar Reloaded, there was no Shalamar (1977-1990) press in the past near 20 years. Howard, Jeffrey and Carolyn have had 15 years and still working as Shalamar now with the “featuring ” added. Beyond going to the UK to do “Reunion” “Greatest Hit” tours – what else? I’ve not stood in anyone’s way, and as Carolyn has boasted she’s the true owner according to her Eurweb interview this year. Like her stepfather Dick Griffey who had no paperwork, I’d say you haven’t done much with ‘your brand’ prior to my registration. Proclaiming to have documents and not producing more than some emails – my attorney and I along with the TTAB await. Either way, as I’ve said, I’ll still be Jody Watley. Folks will still be mad, calling and threatening promoters with empty threats to discourage bookings. Shady, unethical, desperate, pathetic and petty.
One of many threats..
There wasn’t even merchandise until after the legal registration with my company making available a range of items. The creation of their Shalamar Friends Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by Howard, Jeffrey and Carolyn and their representatives and advocates all followed the very public launch of Shalamar Reloaded, introducing Nate and Rosero off the top as well as my trademark registration, look it up. The catch up and try to compete with Jody Watley business effect. We could be called anything other than Shalamar Reloaded and folks would still be mad. Carry on.
I’m having a blast with Nate and Rosero, the group experience maybe not even realizing it was something I needed to have – until it was created, in the here and now. As it turns out, trying to resolve a problem led me to something very special, as well as a deeper understanding of what was really going on with Jeffrey, Howard, Carolyn – those Griffey emails connected the dots for me.
That’s how life can be -stay open to magic. Thank you God. Thank you universe. Thank you Nate, Rosero, my children, family, friends, the media who support my efforts and career and to my hardcore fans who lift me up in love and have never left no matter what. Love and Light.
Maya Angelou – Still I Rise.
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
As I proceed, forward.
“You can drill holes in my boat but I will always float to the top! I eat from the tops of trees bitches!!! WATTAGE!!!! Keep the lights on and burn brightly… My flame may flicker but that shit is still burning bitches!!!! ” Thank you to my friend Sandra Green for sending me these words of encouragement and inspiration as I was finishing this.
Our group (Jody Watley, Nate Allen Smith and Rosero McCoy) is now officially SRL, excited about what’s ahead, our forthcoming ‘Bridges’ and the fact that we are focused on the now and moving forward – not grasping for straws of the past, the was never the intent from the start. I don’t need the negativity or baggage. You can all return to your regularly scheduled programming.