Tracee Ellis Ross Posts Emotional Tribute To The Supremes’ Mary WilsonFebruary 10, 2021
Mary Wilson, one of the founding members of legendary Motown group the Supremes, has died at 76 years old. Her longtime friend and publicist, Jay Schwartz, shared the news in a statement to CNN that she “passed away suddenly.”
Mary and her family moved to Detroit when she was 10 years old. It was there that she met Diana Ross, Florence Ballard, and Betty McGlown. They were known as the Primettes at first, but eventually Barbara Martin replaced Betty and they became the Supremes. They signed to Motown in 1961 but the following year, Barbara left, cementing the group as a trio (per NPR).
The group experienced incredible success, changing the way Black artists were regarded in the industry and breaking barriers for Black women in music. Mary was very aware of the critical role they played. “The Supremes were partly responsible for bringing people together. There were three Black girls who had really succeeded at the American dream,” she told CBS News.
Tracee Ellis Ross penned a beautiful tribute to Mary Wilson
Of course, Diana Ross was among those feeling Mary’s loss. She tweeted, reacting to the news. “I just woke up to this news. My condolences to you, Mary’s family,” she wrote. “I am reminded that each day is a gift. I have so many wonderful memories of our time together. The Supremes will live on, in our hearts.”
Diana’s daughter, actress Tracee Ellis Ross, also shared a beautiful tribute on Instagram. “Rest well, Mary Wilson. As a founding member of the Supremes — one of the most famous girl groups of all time — she broke glass ceilings, made history, and will forever be a part of the Motown legacy. Sending so much love to Mary’s family and loved ones,” she captioned a black-and-white photo of Mary beaming.
Motown founder Berry Gordy also commented on Wilson’s death in a statement shared with Variety. “I was extremely shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of a major member of the Motown family, Mary Wilson of the Supremes,” he said, in part. “I was always proud of Mary. She was quite a star in her own right and over the years continued to work hard to boost the legacy of the Supremes. Mary Wilson was extremely special to me. She was a trailblazer, a diva, and will be deeply missed.”
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