Talent comes in all shapes and sizes. As part of the nature of this blog, PaulMetheney.com, I get to write whatever I want to write about. That’s the bad news. Without being politically correct. That’s the good news. Well. Good-ish. If you don’t care for 70-80’s music, bizarre music trivia facts or (dare I say it?)… disco, you may want to skip this article. However, being a child of the 19[cough-cough]’s, and since I was the one that ponied up the cash for the blog, that’s what I’m writing about. There’s a moral to the story, just hang with me.
Sylvester “Do You Wanna Funk?”
For some bizarre reason, I looked up the singer, Sylvester, on Amazon.com. Sylvester was a rather talented, black drag queen singer in the 70’s & 80’s. (I was a DJ back then at a disco in Key West, so let’s just say “we’d heard of him”. You may not know the name, but unless you were born in the last 30 years, you probably know the hits: “Do You Wanna Funk?“, “You Make Me Feel… Mighty Real“, “Dance, Disco Heat” were just a few. Sylvester wasn’t a drag queen act. He was an innovative singer who happened to be a drag queen. His falsetto gospel style would be copied by many artists including Prince. Sylvester died in 1988 of a complication of AIDS. BUT… wait for it … before he passed, he introduced us to some of the most glorious secrets in music.
Two Tons of Fun & The Weather Girls
Sylvester’s backup singers (you can hear them on on all the music links above) were two, let’s say… women of color, talent, and GIRTH… a duet known as Two Tons of Fun. You may know them later as The Weather Girls. Two Tons of Fun was comprised of Izora Armstead and Martha Wash. The Weather Girls had a couple of hits, but their real magnum opus is the anthem to gay bars everywhere, “It’s Raining Men“. Now, whether (pun intended) you’re a straight woman, or homosexual male, no other song in the world has gotten more MEN to dance that this, because they want to dance with the person that is digging it.
Martha Wash – Soprano to… Pretty Much Everyone
Martha is the big woman with a huge voice in The Weather Girls, but she was also the soprano to have in the 90’s. She sang for Black Box ( “Strike It Up“, “Everybody, Everybody“, “Ride On Time“), and C&C Music Factory (“Gonna Make You Sweat” 1991, “Things That Make You Go Hmmm” 1990, “Just a Touch of Love“, etc.) This woman can belt it out.
The Moral of the Story
Now we get to it. Martha Wash had to sue Sony, Black Box and even C&C Music Factory for not compensating her and giving her credit for singing on their records (from which they made MILLIONS). She also had to sue C&C Music Factory for using her voice on their videos while depicting a skinny black girl lip syncing to Martha’s voice. Back in the day, the story was that “she was too fat” to be selling sexy on a video. I know all this was 25+ years ago, but the takeaway from all this is: (drum roll please)…
It doesn’t matter what gender or color you are, what your sexual proclivity may be, or how much you weigh. If you have talent, ability and skills, you should get paid when someone else makes money from your ability. Fairly, honestly and as much as someone with equal talent.
You should NOT get the job or get paid because of your skin tone, preferences, or gender; you should get the job because you earned it or are more talented than the competition. Martha Wash, whether as part of Two Tons of Fun, The Weather Girls or as a backup singer, was clearly the most talented part of Black Box and C&C Music Factory. End of Sermon. Look up the links. Enjoy the music. And keep remembering that talent comes in all shapes and sizes.