Society Confidential: R&B Hall of Fame Music Awards

Chuck Bennett

Rocking at the R&B Hall of Fame Music Awards

There was so much to take in at the R&B Hall of Fame Music Awards on Sunday night at the Ford Performing Arts Theater in Dearborn. Here are some tidbits:

■This year’s honorees included Prince, Bobby Brown, Smokey Robinson, Bettye LaVette, Rena Scott, Dionne Warwick and Cathy Hughes from Radio One.

■ The program was hosted by Mary Wilson of the Supremes, who was fiercely elegant and beautiful, changing clothes twice during the program from a stunning off-the-shoulder red gown to a little black dress that it seems she had to be poured into. Smashing! (Only the flamboyant Judge Craig Strong, who was a presenter, changed more than Mary did, sporting three different sparkling suit hook-ups).

■When blues singer LaVette accepted her award, she said: “I wasn’t a part of that stuff. My music wasn’t for young America. Grown folks listen to my music. It took me a while to get here, but I’m here.”

■There were lots of oohs and ahhs when the legendary Warwick hit the red carpet. Recording artist Scott said she was honored to be included among such an esteemed class of people.

■There were whispers of Martha Reeves going into diva mode when she came to the stage to accept the award for the late Al Abrams, Motown’s PR director. She went on and on about how they wouldn’t put black folks on album covers and how badly blacks were treated. Mary reached for the mic to try to ease Martha along. Martha snatched the mic back. What a mess, Martha.

■And the legends still have it — Eddie Floyd was inducted and performed his 1967 hit, “Knock on Wood.” The Stubbs Girls did a tribute to the Marvelettes, performing “Please Mr. Postman.” They invited Hall of Fame inductee Robert Bateman to the stage to sing with them. Among the many hits he wrote was “Please Mr. Postman.”

Brunch honors Cathy Hughes of Radio ONe

Vivian Pickard, the ever-fabulous, recently retired president of the General Motors Foundation, hosted a lovely brunch at her elegant Bloomfield Hills home Sunday to honor her friend, Cathy Hughes. Hughes, said to be one of the richest black women in America, founded the media company Radio One and later expanded into TV One. About 60 guests attended the brunch, enjoying a buffet meal that included shrimp and grits, and sliced tenderloin, along with a full bar and delightful entertainment from Ronnie McNeir of the Four Tops. Hughes, exceptionally charming and gracious, made a couple announcements about big projects she’s personally supporting with a group of well-known Detroiters. Unfortunately, we’ve been sworn to secrecy until an official announcement is made, but we’ll certainly keep you posted. Hughes was in town because she was inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame that took place in Dearborn on Sunday evening.

Chuck Bennett is the creator of and is the Fox 2 News Style Ambassador.