ABOVE PHOTO: Diana Ross (Photo: Shutterstock)
By Kendall Alexander
Fans got to experience some serious Black Girl Magic up up-close and personal when Diana Ross took the stage at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts last Saturday.
Concert goers were treated to her beloved song stylings and came decked out in their best threads and came prepared with some with tees, albums, and other memorabilia to cheer on the legendary Diva.
From the moment she first appeared on stage as part of the legendary Supremes under the leadership of Berry Gordy and Motown, Ross has blazed a trail all over the world, a dozen sequins at a time. There is clearly no sign of stopping for the renowned Ross, who at 73, is still touring and spreading happiness for fans of all backgrounds.
Rhonda Ross Kendrick, the daughter of Ross and Gordy, came to the stage and was the show opener for her mother, decked in a black tee and a beautiful crown of bountiful hair. She sang and hyped the crowd up for the main act, and even had her children, two little boys and one girl dancing and performing much to the delight of the fans.
Ross performed first in a sparkly red off-the-shoulder ensemble with her curly coif on display, brushing it behind her shoulder. The Mann Center was a chorus of joyous voices singing along and celebrating everything Ross brought to the performance. In this first ensemble, she sang “Can’t Hurry Love,” and “Love Child,” complete with a spicy salsa interlude to keep folks dancing and having a great time. Her backup singers Valerie, Terrell, and Freddie took over as she left the stage to change into a knockout form-fitting black dress and poofy black shawl. She then sang “The Boss,” “Touch Me in the Morning,” “Upside Down,” “Endless Love” with Freddie singing male vocals, and the Frankie Lymon hit “Why Do Fools Fall in Love.”
“Sweetest Hangover,” and “The Wiz” favorite “Ease on Down the Road” were enjoyed as over zealous fans attempted to break security barriers to get close to the star. The final dress change was definitely fitting for a finale as Ross glided back onto the stage performing “Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)?” wearing a dazzling and drapey silver sequined gown with another signature matching shawl. Ross became her own light as she moved across the stage under the glowing stage lights, serenading and adoring the crowd. Her stage presence is simply mesmerizing and commanding. At one point, she enjoyed the Philly crowd so much, but she couldn’t see her admirers the way she would have liked. This being the case, she simply stated such, and instantly lights came up on the crowd making it known that being a legend has more than a few privileges.
West Philly was live on Saturday evening as the R&B maven sang her praises to the appreciation the crowd gave her and her six piece band exclaiming, “you are an amazing, awesome audience, I love you all so much!”
She took a contemporary approach with final song, channeling DJ Khaled’s collaboration record “All I Do Is Win” surprising younger audience members. Many Black women showed up and supported Lady Diana, screaming loudly, reminiscing on her lyrics, and celebrating her womanhood. Yvette of Pennsauken, New Jersey saw Ross years ago, and was happy to be reunited with the Diva. “Amazing. Been a fan of hers my entire life. Been years since her performance at Valley Forge when it was open, and her performance tonight was better than I remembered; her voice is still crisp and strong. Seeing her come full circle in her career, I’m so glad I came, it’s awesome to see and hear great music.” The inner little Black girls were on full display, and they all rejoiced that Queen Diana came to embrace her Philadelphia followers.