Sunday, February 21, 2010
MY SUPREME CHAT WITH AUTHOR DALE MADISON
Motown Legends The Supremes' music and legacy has (and continues) to make impacts of people's life and ispire them to dream big things. People still contiues to emulate their vocal harmonies, hand movements and their costumes, but actor/talkshow host Dale Madison took things a step further; he patterened his autobiography after Original Supreme Mary Wilson's best selling autobiography "Dreamgirl My Life As A Supreme" and released his as "Dreamboy: My Life As A QVC Host & Ohter Greatest Hits."
(When you're representing The Supremes you've gotta do it in Supreme fashion, talent and style).
Originally from Chicago, Madison grew up in Baltimore listening to the Divas, and while he enjoyed watching them on Ed Sullivan and listening to their timeless classics, the music had also became the soundtrack of his life, helping him overcome many obstacles including dealing and embracing his sexuality and pursing his dreams, during a time when being Gay was thought as a mental illness. Despite his challenges, he overcame his obstacles and in addition to acting, he was the host of several shopping shows and he recently received his college degree. His book not only has a touching story, it also has some firece pictures and many of the Supremes lyrics that sums up life situations he went through including relationships (including one with a now retired senator) and his career.
I had a Supreme time interviewing this Supreme fan at his book reading and signing in New York, where he spoke about his life, The impact The Suprmes has in Gay men, and the saddness about the group not putting aside their issues to reunite.
Ra SHAWN-DAPROFESSOR: Thanks for the invitation and for allowing me to interviewing you. How does it feel to have your book published?
DALE: It's (like) a dream come true. Everything relate back to dreams. If you beleive in it long enough and you see it, you can really make it happen. So for me, the dream is happening and now I'm enjoying that part of it.
Ra SHAWN-DAPROFESSOR: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO NAME YOUR BOOK DREAMBOY?
DALE: I know that once I read Mary Wilson's book "Dreamgirl My Life as A Supreme," If I were to write my book it would be "Dreamboy" because I felt a compainon book that needs to go with it because there are so many Gay fans who are fans of the Supremes and to write Dreamboy would be the (ultimate) compliment to The Supremes which I hope they would understand would be a compliment to them.
Ra SHAWN-DAPROFESSOR: YOU'VE DONE SOME ACTING IN THEATRE. WHAT INSPIRED YOU PURSUE A CAREER IN ENTERTAINMENT?
DALE: From the time I was born, I was drawn to the arts. I know from the first play I did in the first grade that I wanted to be in front of an audience and I know by watching The Supremes on Ed Sullivan that I loved the applause.
Ra SHAWN-DAPROFESSOR: CAN YOU NAME SOME OF THE PLAYS YOU PERFORMED IN?
DALE: I've done "Day of Absence". I've done "Black Sprit" "To Sir With Love." Messages From Cougar" I did a modern version of "Romeo & Juliet" and I've written and produce some of my own plays.
Ra SHAWN-DAPROFESSOR: YOU'VE ALSO HOSTED SOME TELEVISION SHOWS AS WELL
DALE: I was a shopping channel host. I worked for the Q.B. Network from the 1992-1994 and then from 1997-1997, I worked in New York at the Global Shopping Network.
Ra SHAWN-DA-PROFESSOR: WHAT OTHER PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON BESIDES PUSHING YOUR BOOK?
DALE: I'm pursuing a career in education. I just earned my B.A. degress in 2008. I am working on my teaching credentials. I wanna use threatre and art to inspire kids to want to learn. I want to use those tools to teach reading, writing and mathmatics.
Ra SHAWN-DA-PROFESSOR: YOU MENTIONED HOW THE SUPREMES BEING INFLUENCIAL. WHAT WAS IT LIKE FOR YOU SEEING AND HEARING THEM FOR THE FIRST TIME?
DALE: It was exciting to see Black people on T.V. When you're a Black kid growing up in the 60's, and the fact The Supremes were loved by audiences both Black and White, you know you felt conected with them. Like those could be my sisters these could my aunts up there on television. They were glamorous. They had big wigs. Long eyelashes. Fabolous gowns, and when I was a little boy I wanted those wigs. I wanted those eyelashes. I wanted those gowns.
Ra SHAWN-DAPROFESSOR: HAVE YOU EVER MET ANY OF THE SUPREMES?
DALE: I met Diana Ross. I met Cindy Birdsong. Jean Terrell. Lynda Laurence. Scherrie Payne. I have not net Mary, but I spoken to her on the phone. I haven't met Florence.
Ra SHAWN-DA-PROFESSOR: WHAT WAS IT LIKE MEETING THE LADIES AND SPEAKING TO MARY ON THE PHONE?
DALE: It was an exciting experience speaking to Mary on the telephone. I kept saying this isn't Mary Wilson. It isn't Mary Wilson. She said 'Oh child stop giving me drama!. It's Mary Wilson. I (just) have a cold.' I just couldn't beleive it was really her. She sent me a post card congratlulating me on the book. I was caught off guard. I had the music on loud and the television on and when she called I said 'Oh my God! Oh my God!' She Said 'Stop the drama! Turn the music down! It's Mary Wilson!'
Ra SHAWN-DA-PROFESSOR: YOU MENTIONED THE SUPREMES HAVING A LARGE GAY FOLLOWING. WHY DOES GAY MEN WANNA CONNECT AND EMMULATE THEM?
DALE: I think like with Whtie audiences that are drawn to Icons you feel an connection that represents an image you inspire to be. We as Gay men we see the frailness and power in somebody. White men see Barbara Striesand with a lot of talent, but they see her imperfections so they love her for that. They see that in Judy Garland and Liza Minelli. With Diana Ross, they see the skinny frial girl that weights 98 pounds, but with tis wonderful voice that everybody's applauding so we're drawn to into the magic, the beauty, the frailness, the momething unique and something special because we see the weakness and we see the power.
Ra SHAWN-DA-PROFESSOR: FOR YEARS, MANY FANS HAVE BEENING WANTING TO SEE THE SUPREMES STORY ON THE SILVER SCREEN. FROM YOUR OPINION, WHY HASN'T THEIR STORY BEEN MADE INTO A MOVIE?
DALE: I think it's sad because most of the Supremes are alive and it's a shame if they don't do together like a film or a reunion tour. It cheats us in the end as fans, and what happen with female groups breake up over petty things and (they) never bond back together. Male groups like The Four Tops and The Pips stick together for years, but women will let men get in and mess up those friendships. I was so proud that Labelle had reunited and performed, but they're not as loved and mot as many people, but people would care if The Supremes reunited because people know there was bitterness that they didn't get beyond. Labelle always stayed close.
Ra SHAWN-DA-PROFESSOR: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE SUPREMES SONGS?
DALE: Forever Came Today. Relfections. I like so many off that Love Child album. One of my favorites are "Please Don't Break These Chains." I've always liked "Breath Taking Guy." I like "Buttered Popcorn." "When You Wish Upon A Star." "Everything Good About You." That was one of my favorite favorite early Suprreme songs.
Ra SHAWN-DA-PROFESSOR: IF YOUR BOOK WAS TO BE MADE INTO A MOVIE, WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY YOU?
DALE: Blair Underwood!! I want Blair Underwood to play me!!
Ra SHAWN DA-PROFESSOR: WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE READERS TO GET FROM YOUR BOOK?
DALE: I want people to appreciate the love of The Suprmes' music and the journey of a Black Gay man is so much many things other than his sexuality.
Ra SHAWN-DA-PROFESSOR: DALE YOU'VE MAND A INTERESTING POINT. IT SEEMS THAT THE MEDAI LIKES TO PORTRAY BLACK GAY MALES AS BEING WILD AND FLAMBOYANT., BUT THERE ARE MANY BLACK MEN WHO ARE INTELLIGENT, ENTREPRENUERS, TALENTED AND CLASSY. DO YOU THINK WILL SHATTER THE STEROPTYPES?
DALE: I've been all those sterotypes and more. I've had my flamboyant years and I had all the other levels of it. I think the sterotype I'm trying to break is the fact that we're not one thing at one time. I'm so many diffetent things. Especially when it comes to role playing. Sometimes I wake up and I'm a top and sometimes I'm a bottom. Sometimes I'm fliping back and forth. So don't lock me into one thing. I'm just a Gay man enjoying life.
Ra SHAWN-DA-PROFESSOR: HOW HAS THE BOOK TOUR BEEN GOING?
DALE: The tour's been exciting. We started off in Chicago. We did it in a Gay night Club. The host hired Drag Queens to perform as Dreamgirls. Fabolus. Then my second stop was Baltimore which was my hometown where alot of my family and friends were. It was very emotional and then New York here with Reggie has been fabulous.