The Detroit News
Diana Ross opens up on ‘Oprah’ show
Singer reflects on her humble career roots, reveals love of her life
DKe$ha at Fillmore Detroit: Pop star Ke$ha brings her “Get $leazy Tour” to the Fillmore. The platinum-selling artist told SPIN magazine she'll perform songs from her debut “Animal” and her follow-up EP “Cannibal.” She also said she will rock a cover of the Beastie Boy’s song “(You Gotta) Fight for your Right (to Party).” 7 p.m. Sat. $39.50-$49.50. 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit. (313) 961-5450. iana Ross appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” Friday afternoon in honor of the talk show host’s farewell season, but she didn’t come alone. The Supreme diva brought all five of her children — daughters Rhonda Ross Kendrick (her daughter by Berry Gordy Jr.), Tracee Ellis Ross and Chudney Ross, sons Ross Arne Naess and Evan Ross — as well as her first grandchild, Raif Henok Emmanuel Kendrick, Rhonda’s son.
The show started with a date flashing across the screen, “Dec. 27, 1964” — the day Oprah saw Ross and the Supremes on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” For a 10-year-old Oprah Winfrey to see three young girls who looked like her on television changed her life, she said tearfully. Autorama at Cobo Center: See hot rods and famous rides such as Knight Rider, General Lee and the Ghostbusters’ car at the 59th Autorama. Moderate celebs such as Shawn Michaels from WWE Wrestling and Sammi Sweetheart from “Jersey Shore” will appear on Sunday. 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sat. and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sun. $18, $5 children. 1 Washington Blvd., Detroit. (248) 373-1700.
Ross, a Detroit native and graduate of Cass Technical High School who turns 67 on March 26, looked as glamorous as fans would hope. Her billowing waves of curly hair were only slightly shorter than in the past and
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Oprah played old black-andwhite videos of the Supremes, asking Ross, “Did you feel then that you’d made it?”
“No, we felt we were still growing, we were just three little black girls from Detroit,” Ross confessed. Then later, when did she feel she’d made it?
“Never,” Ross insisted. “I’ve never been that confident.”
The singer and her offspring appeared in a video they made in Oprah’s honor, which showed them clowning around in a tropical location, pretending to wake up and lip-synching to Ross’ song “I Love You.” Skewering her glamorous image, Ross appeared in rollers and reading glasses.
Under questioning by Oprah, the singer revealed that her late ex-husband, Norwegian mogul Arne Naess, father of her two sons, was the love of her life. The two had divorced after being married for a dozen years, then Naess died in a climbing accident four years later, in 2004.
It was difficult for her husband that Ross preferred to live in the U.S., while he was in Norway, she said. “But I’ve never been able to collapse myself totally into a relationship — I’ve always had to be me.”
The two biggest highlights of Ross’ career: being nominated for an Academy Award for her role as Billie Holiday in 1972’s “Lady Sings the Blues” (co-star Billy Dee Williams was a surprise guest), and meeting South Africa’s Nelson Mandela.
She also addressed the oft- repeated story that she imperiously demands to be called “Miss Ross.” Ross explained that when she was growing up and starting out at Motown it was considered proper for younger people to address their elders that way. “But I don’t demand it,” she said. “I like it, though.”
Son Evan, who has an album coming out in a few months, admitted that people sometimes mistake him for his mother’s bodyguard since he often accompanies her to events.
“But I don’t know if I could actually do anything, if I had to,” he joked.
Ross closed out the hour-long show with the transcendent Ashford & Simpson number “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” a song that closed out her reign with the Supremes, just before she went solo in 1970.
Ross is just launching a 17-city tour — no Detroit date, but she was just here in May 2010. Would she ever retire, Oprah asked? “Maybe,” Ross said. “If my voice changed, if I couldn’t sound like myself, I wouldn’t want to perform.”