#OTD August 26, 1989 “Friends” featuring Eric B. and Rakim made Music history on the Billboard Hot 100.
The single written by Jody Watley (lyrics and melody) with Andre Cymone (music) and rap verses by Eric B and Rakim, peaked at #9 on Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it “The First R&B/Pop/Rap Collaboration To Crossover Top 10 on Billboard Hot 100.”
The groundbreaking single was Watley’s 5th Top 10 Crossover Solo single. “Friends” also reached #3 Hot R&B and #7 Dance.
“The 1st R&B/Rap collaboration to crossover to the Hot 100 chart is pretty awesome though rarely acknowledged. I went out on a creative limb and thankful that despite push back MCA eventually gave in to my desire to have Rakim on it and that he & Eric B liked the song I’d written enough to join me on it. Radio was initially reluctant to play it and some would only play the edit without the rap verses. Since our single the collaborations were taken to higher heights and became a staple in popular “crossover music” on the Hot 100. The also notable video premiered on MTV was also inclusive on many levels and included elements of underground club culture, ballroom & voguing right alongside the b-boys and hip hop club kids – filmed in lower Manhattan in July of 1989. I also wore Jean Paul Gaultier couture fresh off runway in Paris, awls a contrast to the street style for the Club Couture theme.” – Jody Watley
#11 Adult Contemporary Written by: Gardner Cole, James Newton Howard
Produced by Andre Cymone
The poignant ballad still resonates with audiences today and found on many Classic Pop 80’s Playlists. You can stream it anytime on your preferred digital platform and add to your own personal favorites.
From the second Jody Watley solo album “Larger Than Life” also featured Top 10’s the gold single “Real Love” & groundbreaking “Friends” ft Eric B & Rakim. More of the Jody Watley Discography : Here
The Jody Watley Show Episode 6 was full of great classic R&B and another inspirational conversation. Legendary stylist and author Ty Hunter drops many positive pearls and shared a few candid stories. His current motivational book “The Makeover From Within : Lessons In Hardships, Acceptance and Self-Discovery” is available in hard copy as well as downloadable digital formats.
Check out this brief snippet from this month’s episode. Catch the full 2 hour show once more tomorrow August 17, 2023 5 PM PST, 8 PM EST.
Remember it’s a radio show – not a podcast, no archives.
Previous guests: Emmy winning actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, Bestselling Author NAACP Emmy Winning Social Media Personality and Actress Tabitha Brown, Grammy Nominated Star of Music, Film and Broadway Deborah Cox, Grammy Nominated Singer-Songwriter Kenny Lattimore, Tony/Emmy/Grammy/SAG nominated singer/actress Vanessa Williams.
With so many efforts to erase, rewrite or revise history in all aspects of society from books to what we see and hear across social media depending on the source, it’s important to have source information to refer to. Jody Watley was a part of the first celebrity ad campaign for GAP in 1989. The inclusion in this particular campaign and theme “Portraits: Individuals Of Style” photography by the legendary Herb Ritts is important for a variety of reasons. The campaign included ‘Larger Than Life’ images in-store, bus stops and billboards across the country. Jody Watley was one of the few black crossover stars of that time to be featured in this what is now called ‘rebranding’ or ‘artist branding’. Jody received notice not just from her breakout solo hits, she became a stand-out in her personal self-styling in music videos, album and single art, appearances and promotional photography.
“When asked to be apart of this, I was so excited at the opportunity. The team said I could wear the T-shirt however I chose. In addition, it gave me an opportunity to change up the big hair to a sleek short pixie-cut. My fans at the time hated it but I loved it, felt fresh and modern. Today’s artists are the luxury to change it up frequently, fans almost expect it now, unlike the 80’s and 90’s.”
Jody Watley was recognized as a style icon going back to her teen years on the iconic show Soul Train. Excerpt from Nelson George “The Hippest Trip In America – Soul Train and the evolution of culture and style “….with Jody emerging as a late 70’s style icon. She could rock silver shorts and red glitter converse sneakers, vintage 1940’s inspired dresses with pumps or her prom dress. Her hair was an ongoing adventure, sometimes filled with tons of ribbons, sometimes long ponytails, or a 1940’s hairdo..” ~ Book published by William Morrow Imprint of Harper Collins Books.
“Working with Herb Ritts in this campaign was just incredible. California born and raised Herb was relaxed, charming and so kind, easy to work with.” Watley has said. “He also threw incredible birthday parties that were a virtual who’s who and I was thrilled to be invited to a few!”
In addition to the GAP campaign, Jody Watley’s Herb Ritts portrait of disco mirrored eyes was featured in 2008’s historic Black Issue of Vogue Italia. The “Outstanding Ladies” in the issue included Jody Watley and actress Angela Bassett.
The work of Herb Rittsas a photographer and video director is iconic and renowned – never forgotten.
A special thank to Lee Bennett of the Camden Music Walk Of Fame for notifying me that my former group Shalamar would be amongst the 2023 honorees with a Stone unveiling on the new Camden Music Walk Of Fame in North London on September 9, 2023. Congratulations to Shalamar. Other honorees include The Kinks, UB40, The Sugarhill Gang, Seal, Eddy Grant, Janice Joplin and more. Prior inductees include David Bowie, The Who, Soul II Soul and Amy Winehouse.
Though I left Shalamar 40 years ago in July of 1983, Lee felt I should be aware and involved in some way as a founding original member of the group and ‘Classic’ lineup.
I’m proud to be a part of the pinnacle hits and recordings of Shalamar from 1978-1983 forever embedded in the history of the group. My sincere appreciation of the notification of this special and significant honor.
**Updated** August 15, 23* Before the misinformation begins, as it has already been erroneously been posted on the official ‘Shalamar Friends’ fan page – I was not, as a former member, invited by anyone to attend, though they posted all former members have been invited, it was very disingenuous to post that as it’s not true.
** Updated** September 2, 2023** I was tagged in these posts by the Official Shalamar page, shared from the Camden Walk Of Fame a couple of weeks ago.
I’m not sure what to make of this actually, a 2023 copy trying to replicate the original ‘Friends’ album of 1982 when I was in the group used in tandem with this event. I can’t imagine another group dressing up to give the illusion of being the same. It feels very disrespectful and misleading. Shalamar is a group that has consisted of many members over the years as we know. That said the pinnacle recordings that are still performed heavily by this incarnation were performed by the version of the group that included me. It’s great to keep the torch going in live performance but recreating the imagery in my opinion crosses the line of ethics and as I have said previously this lineup has a history false and misleading marketing and I’m surprised that the Camden Walk Of Fame would use this type of approach.
It’s an unfortunate thing to experience when constantly (going back to 2005 which I addressed in a blog post in my website in 2016 “An Open Letter” -the unethical, dishonest, disrespectful, behavior) of all involved – bait & switch, false and misleading actions as evidenced in these photo collages and mimicry in trying to present Carolyn as me in 1982 in this promotion.
I have no idea why Lee & Camden Music organization thinks this is ok or that I support the behavior based on his comment that II was made aware from a supporter of mine via the Camden Music Walk Of Fame Page.
There have been no social media posts from me that’s another example of the dishonesty attached. I had one email exchange when informed and a request for a quick chat to discuss the event and how I to include me, as an original member and never heard back from Mr. Bennett. It’s OK that the former members who sang on the records are not invited, it’s their event to handle as they please, however using this type of misleading representation makes one question the motives. Clearly, this is purposeful to satisfy someone’s ego and delusions to rewrite the history disregarding those who actually laid the groundwork and foundation in the hits and albums recorded decades ago of which the current female was not a part of beyond her step-father owning the label, that are still performed live today.
NEW!! Music icon Jody Watley welcomes legendary stylist and author Ty Hunter as a guest to “The Jody Watley Show,” on SiriusXM’s The Groove, Channel 50.
Tune in on August 13 and catch the inspirational Ty Hunter interview.
About Ty Hunter: From his humble beginnings in Houston, Texas, Ty Hunter rose to fashion icon status as the stylist for first, Destiny’s Child and then for the legendary Beyoncé. Ty’s inspirations and collaborations have graced the cover of countlessVenerable national and international publications. His creative style genius is coveted by celebrities as well as corporations.
Since creating some of the most iconic looks of all time and inspiring a whole new generation of fashion, Ty has collaborated with such ad campaigns as Hyundai, Footlocker, Charming Charlie, just to name a few. Ty has also dedicated himself to motivate those around him to be the best they can be with daily affirmations and inspirations as demonstrated in his instagram account @tytryone.
The Jody Watley Show, a 2-hour monthlyshow airs every second Sunday exclusively on SiriusXM’s The Groove at 6 PM (EST) / 3 PM (PST) and on the SiriusXM app on smartphones and other connected devices, as well as online.SiriusXM reaches nearly 34 million subscribers monthly.The Jody Watley Show is packed with the best of classic to contemporary R&B music and engaging conversations with surprise guests.Watley is a multi-platinum selling GRAMMY winning artist as well as an award-winning songwriter. An accomplished producer, businesswoman, she is also one of the architects of 21st century pop affectionately referred to as “The Queen of Cool.’Renowned as one of the defining artists of the 80s with an everlasting influence on style, music and pop culture, Jody Watley forged the template that is now everybody’s playbook.From her groundbreaking marriage of rap & R&B (1989’s “Friends,” a collaboration with hip-hop legends Eric B. & Rakim pairing that is the first to crossover R&B/Hip-Hop, Pop and Dance into the Billboard Top 10 “Friends,” to her vision-forward marriage of high fashion, street fashion and music in the ‘80s long before it became the norm), to her fusion of jazz and underground club culture with keen pop instincts, and the ease with which she crossed and still crosses genre with hits spanning 80s, 90s, 00s, 10s, 20s, Jody Watley is the embodiment of longevity and artistic fearlessness in the industry as a legacy artist.Get your groove on with Classic R&B on SiriusXM’s The Groove channel 50.SiriusXM is available to subscribers in their car, on their phone and connected devices at home with the SXM App. Streaming access is included with all of our trials and most popular plans. Go to www.siriusxm.com/ways-to-listen to learn more.
I hope everyone is staying cool, hydrated and encouraged this summer. Although the months are flying by, hopefully you are finding time for personal self-care for your mental, physical and spiritual well-being.
A new Jody Watley Show airs this month on August 13, 3 P.M. PST 6 P.M EST airing on SIRIUS XM’s The Groove Channel 50. Remember it’s a radio show, not a podcast. Furthermore, it’s not archived so make sure to tune in. I’ll be announcing this month’s special guest midweek to get you ready for Episode 6.
In the meantime, stream Jody Watley music on the digital music streaming platforms of your choice an eclectic variety from the 80s, 90s, 00s, 10s, 20s! Thanks again for subscribing to my website.
In short, and as always; remember to always let your light shine – Wattage!
Grammy Winning Artist, Singer, Songwriter, Producer, Entrepreneur, Radio Host Jody Watley addresses the constant online bullying, harassment, spreading of false narratives, smear campaigns, defamatory remarks through the decades since departing her former group Shalamar in 1983, 40 years ago as of July 2023; of which she was a member for a brief 6 years during their most pinnacle recordings. Upon launching her solo career officially in 1987 with the release of self titled multi-platinum debut and with the advent of social media in recent decades she has primarily ignored and endured through such ongoing efforts.