Jackie Wilson was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1987 – finally received his Star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame (location is 7057 Hollywood Blvd) just across the street from historic The Roosevelt Hotel.
For those that don’t know the connection -Jackie Wilson was my godfather and the first to bring me onstage in concert when I was little (have mentioned though-out my career), it was such anh
Wonderful speeches yesterday from Motown and Music Legends Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson as well as original Chi-Lite Marshall Thompson. Jackie’s son John said if his dad were alive he would have probably said “..today I’ve been lifted higher than ever before ..” as his siblings and other family members also cheered with those in attendance.
Here are a few of my personal candids. If you missed the live stream – you can watch it currently Hollywood Walk of Fame
On my way!
Feeling Supreme with original Supreme Mary Wilson..you know I loved them growing up and still do.
Posing for media photo pool before ceremony.
Jody Watley. Getty Images View.
With founder of the Chi-Lites Marshall Thompson..junior high days for me!
The one and only Smokey Robinson.
All hail – Berry Gordy founder of the influential Motown Records.
With one of his daughters Sabrina, she has his eyes for sure!
Jody Watley will be a guest-of-honor at the posthumous presentation of Jackie Wilson’s Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame scheduled for September 4, 2019, at 11:30 am PDT. The event will be live-streamed exclusively on www.walkoffame.com
How Jody Watley became the Goddaughter of Jackie Wilson
It was divine intervention, literally! Rev. John E. Watley Jr. was the minister of his church in Chicago, ‘Miracle Temple,’ which drew the “in-crowd” and a who’s who from the world of entertainment. Rev. Watley was also a popular gospel music on-air radio personality and programmer on WVON and later in Kansas City, MO on KPRS. Her father called her “Princess Jody” and so did the church members. He had a theatrical and larger-than-life persona that attracted singers like Aretha Franklin, Sam Cook, and Johnny Taylor.
It was at church that the Reverend Watley met Jackie Wilson. Wilson and Watley became self-proclaimed “brothers” so much so that Jody always called the singer “Uncle Jackie.” Reverand Watley and his wife, also a singer in the church who gave up a professional career to raise Jody and her brother, considered Jackie part of the family. He joyously accepted his honor of being named Jody Watley’s Godfather, although Jody always called him “Uncle Jackie.”
The family relocated from Chicago to Durham, NC and it was there one evening, the family went to see Jackie Wilson perform. Rev. Watley knew his daughter was gifted and that she was preordained to become the talent that she is today. “My father passed away way too soon at age 49, but he told me from a young age I would be a star. He called me Princess,” Jody said.
When Jackie asked me to come on stage with him, at around age 8. “It was so exciting. I was dressed in the style of the day – – – a pretty skirt, Go-Go boots, and a chic mod ponytail” Jody recalled. “I think the song we did was “ Baby Work Out” and I remember singing and dancing with Jackie Wilson! I knew how to do the mashed potato and the twist!”
“Even at such a young age, I recognized Uncle Jackie’s charisma. He truly was truly someone special, definitely ‘Mr. Excitement!’ Another remembrance that stays with me is visceral — Jackie smelled so good, he really did smell amazing!”
“Jackie was truly Mr. Excitement in every way. When I was with him, I had that feeling I was in the presence of greatness. He embodied all of the talent and musicality and style that came before him. The star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is a wonderful honor for my Godfather Jackie Wilson. I wish he could have gotten the recognition and his due before he died, but I am so glad his story is being revealed.”
It was an cool to be a part of the “People Magazine 50 Most Beautiful Summer 1990” issue needless to say (actress Michelle Pfeiffer was on the cover). I believe true beauty radiates from the inside out and honestly having smarts is higher on my list though being in the entertainment industry there is a level of superficial so I get it. In my interviews it’s always been key to get that across, not just being a ‘pretty face.’ The feature makes mention of my godfather music legend Jackie Wilson who will finally be honored with a Star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood September 4, 2019.
In this opportunity it’s noted that I was ok with my crooked bottom teeth..they are still crooked though I could easily have them straightened. Perhaps I will before all is said and done but they don’t bother me and are a part of being distinctly me. Imperfections are a part of who we are, it’s also what I replied recently to someone trolling me on Facebook who mocked me for my bottom teeth ‘you have enough money – why don’t you get your teeth fixed, people are talking about you behind your back..” Sure, we are all works in progress and if definitely fix or work on what needs improvement if it makes you feel better about yourself – go for it but don’t let society or certain standards make you feel less than or inferior in any way. You decide – I decide.
Going with short hair was also a statement in itself and somewhat rebellious in it’s own way..it’s not about my hair but my artistry and quest to always be what and who I want to be at any given time – not who and what other’s want to define or box me into. The short hair was not received well at the time with fans, or my record label. As an artist and a human being most of all, it’s often challenging to hold on and fight to be who you are and want to be while others may only see you one way and try to keep you marginalized to their vision.
This was also around the time I was photographed by legendary Herb Ritts for the GAP groundbreaking ‘celebrity’ ad campaign ‘Individuals Of Style’ – loved this session. Herb Ritts was so kind and easy going. Any intimidation I may have felt going into the session melted away as soon as I met him. We shot in natural light on the rooftop of his Hollywood studio, I wore my own denim jeans and Doc Martens, customizing the white GAP t-shirt to suit me, just a simple snipping off of the sleeves. Peter Savic, another legend in the fashion and celebrity hairstylist..actually he’s a master of hair, an artist not just a stylist worked with Herb Ritts often but it was a first for us. Wanting to do something fresh, modern and bold but not sure what – Peter suggested short and so we agreed on the pixie cut and he knocked it out of the park! An image from this session was also used for my “Precious Love” single…as well it was around this time I was nearly booed off the stage and received heavy backlash after by my only performance on the Soul Train Awards…that’s another post entirely. I do touch upon being black and forward thinking as an artist back then, the politics of the music business .. in my work in progress memoir.
Be bold if you feel like it – be you – live your life!! Wattage!
Eighty-five years after he was born and 35 years since his death, soul music legend Jackie Wilson will receive a pair of honors next month.
On Sept. 4 the Detroit-born singer — whose hits include “Reet Petite” and “Lonely Teardrops” (co-written by Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr.) as well as “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” — will be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. A new 50-track compilation, The Definitive Jackie Wilson, will be released the same day.
Jody Watley, who was Wilson’s goddaughter, will be attending the star ceremony.
In a statement Harlean Harris Wilson, his second wife and executor of his estate, said that, “I’m so elated for him, so ecstatic about my husband getting his star. That title ‘Mr. Excitement’ wasn’t just given to him. He worked for it… (He was) very vibrant, very effervescent, generous to a fault. He loved to sing and he loved life.”
Remembering my Dad Rev. John Watley Jr. on his birthday, charismatic, forward thinking, a great storyteller, a showman in the pulpit with his sermons, great hats, tailored suits, often flamboyant, always read the morning newspaper, loved all people, had a smile that lit up a room..I got a lot from him – and thinking of many of the pearls of wisdom he instilled in me (only the strong survive, it’s not what others think of you it’s what you think of yourself, always have your own, especially money ..” and so much more. Though he passed away decades ago – not a single day goes by where I don’t think of him and miss him. His church members would always give us birthday cakes when I was little – mine would be coconut, his German chocolate, since our birthdays are a day a part. The memories and love live on for eternity.
I miss you Dad – Love, your Princess (church members called me Princess Jody), your ‘Star’ — which is what my Dad always said I would be, he was my first believer
I have no photos of us together because at one point my parents lost all possessions in storage so the couple of photos I have of him I cherish. #Aquarius Rest Peacefully Always ✨as well to my GodfatherJackie Wilson dear friend of my Dad – the first person to bring me onstage and also claim I had something special.
One of the most comprehensive interviews I’ve ever done. You really must listen to this..history, first time onstage with my Godfather Jackie Wilson,Soul Train, Shalamar, aspects of my solo career moving up through to the current new music. Mike Vitti was masterful with the questions, knowledge as well as weaving a tapestry of quality music spanning decades.
THE IRREPRESSIBLE JODY WATLEY RETURNS WITH A BRAND NEW ALBUM THAT HARKS BACK TO HER FUNK SOUL ROOTS. HERE, THE SINGER REFLECTS ON HER RISE TO THE TOP, WORKING WITH THE WORLD’S GREATEST FASHION PHOTOGRAPHERS AND STAYING TRUE.
Jody Watley at Giorgio’s the exclusive, the exclusive Saturday party at The Standard in Hollywood, where Mick Jagger and Andre Harrell mix and David LaChapelle might be spotted with Daphne Guiness on his lap. Watley is the queen of the venue-she holds court almost every week just past DJ Adam XII’s booth with her friend and Decades cofounder Christos Garkinos. Tonight, the mother of two a self described basketball mom, carpool mom, fabulous mom..” wears all black save for a pair of crystal Jimmy Choo pumps. When she’s in the mood, she’ll fan herself on the dance floor-something she has done since beginning her career as a dancer on Soul Train as a teenager. “I always have my little fan action.” the icon says with a smile. “It’s so glamourous. Eat your heart out Karl Lagerfeld.” Watley shot the video for “Nightlife”, the clubby lead single off her new album “Paradise”, at Giorgio’s.“I want to inspire people, because people get stuck in a rut.” she says of the music. “Oh, I’m not going out, Oh, the good ole’ days..” And it’s so frustrating. It’s like make new memories! Even if you had a great time ten, twenty, thirty years ago, be fabulous now! You’re alive, Hello!”
The daughter of a Chicago minister, Watley first performed onstage as a child with her godfather, the incredible crooner Jackie Wilson. After relocating to Los Angeles she succeeded in her mission to become a Soul Train regular. In 1977, Don Cornelius the show’s creator and host, selected her to become an original member of the disco super trio-Shalamar, which would record world-class dance-floor anthems like “The Second Time Around” and “A Night To Remember.” Watley left the group after six years, loved to London, and recorded “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” with Band Aid.
After returning to Los Angeles three years later, she signed with MCA Records and released her 1987 solo album “Jody Watley”, co-writing a handful of tracks. It contains some of her most enduring dance music, including the lead single “Looking For A New Love” (which features the popular pre Terminator 2 kiss-off “Hasta la vista baby!”). “Don’t You Want Me.” and “Some Kind of Lover.” She accepted her 1988 “Best New Artist” Grammy-winning over Breakfast Club, Cutting Crew, Swing Out Sister and Terence Trent D’Arby – in a vintage dress and biker jacket painted with her likeness.
‘When I signed to MCA, I didn’t see anybody like who I wanted to be.” she says. “I wanted to do that badass fashion chick that’s just different. And not everybody likes her. And not everybody liked me. “You don’t smile, you’re a black girl, you’re glamorous and you’ve got this cold as ice stare.” While in London she sought out designers like Azzedine Alaia, Claude Montana, Vivienne Westwood, and Jean Paul-Gaultier. “I bought one of the first cone bra’s, pre-Madonna. It’s on the single sleeve of “Don’t You Want Me”. I also bought the huge one that she ended up wearing, but the understated one was more me”, she says.
With her gorgeous mane, lean frame, stunning brows illegal cheekbones and ballsy attitude Watley was the perfect subject for fashion’s top photographers.”[When I first started] the label didn’t want to fly me to New York for my first layout for Harper’s Bazaar” she laughs. “So I flew myself out to shoot with Scavullo!” Steven Meisel photographed the cover of her 1989 follow-up album Larger Than Life. The video for ‘Real Love’ was directed by David Fincher and featured her ruling the runway in menswear paving the way for future acts like Aaliyah and TLC.
“I never wanted to be like anybody else” says Watley who, in the decades that followed never stopped recording, performing and changing up her style and sound. Now she’s writing a memoir, which she plans to finish this year. “I can only be who I am. Because to me that’s what street is. Street is real.” – Mark Jacobs