Asa Lovechild: Former Motown Artist Calls Diana Ross Nasty Names in Her New Book

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  The Music Industry can be down-right brutal for some, if you are not ready for all that it entails, and know what to avoid and what to pay attention to. No one has felt the sting as much as those artists of the 60s who have been left scarred by its demands. One such person is Motown songstress Bettye LaVette, “The Grandma Moses of Soul”. Don’t know her? You will.

This week Penguin books released  the  autobiography detailing the tumultuous time that she had in the Music Industry, including her stint at Motown records entitled , “A Woman Like Me(with David Ritz) . In it she talks about her spiral into prostitution, drugs, and sex. Sound familiar? That is mostly what the Music Industry has been plagued with, dating back to way before any of us where thought of in this lifetime. But that is not the real kicker.

LaVette does not hold her tongue as she gets to the real deal that everyone wants to know about. What was going on at Motown? Many things have been rumored and alleged about the inner workings of Motown. But LaVette is not afraid to expose them in her book. (This coming on the brink of the much anticipated Motown musical set to hit Broadway in spring 2013.) Lavette describes how those in the industry “all went on and left me and never reached back to get me. All these people suddenly became millionaires and moved out. Nobody was left there but me.” She talks about the diva, Diana Ross as being a “stuck up bitch with a small voice and big ambition”. It almost sounds like a compliment and a dis at the same time.  According to LaVette the family unit of Motown was delusive. “Everyone was looking to position himself.” She describes her many sexual rendezvouses with some of the Industry’s legends like Otis Redding, Jackie Wilson, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Marvin Gaye and many more.

LaVette describes how the Industry used her and spit her out, an all too common story that many in the Industry can relate to. Although LaVette was left behind, while her comrades soared to superstar status, she never stopped doing what she loved. Her breakthrough came about when an avid French collector of Motown, discovered an unpublished album of LaVette’s and released it in the European market. Gotta love Europe!

The resuscitation of her career continued at the age of 59, with recordings on the label ,Anti, which allowed her to unleash all of the frustrations that she kept inside for all of these years. After 50 years, LaVette has become an overnight success, if you want to call it that. She has paid her dues and debt to society many times over and her success is more than well-deserved and overdue.

LaVette will be performing songs from her new album, Thankful N’ Thoughtful, as well as many other hits this Friday, Sept. 27th at the Highline Ballroom in New York City.

Asa Lovechild is an accomplished actress and singer out of New York City.

Follow @asalovechild



  1. Ethel Suggs

    September 27, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    I wish people would stop downing Diana Ross. I love Bette LaVette and her music. Especially that song she sang on Jay Leno, “Lets drink to the hard working people…” ‘Not sure of the title though; but why blame Diana because YOU almost threw YOUR life away on drugs!? DAMN! Grow up and get over it!

    • Eric

      April 6, 2020 at 12:36 am

      Oh shut up

  2. sherrie

    September 27, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    You did not need to lay down with these men, that why you never became famous.way to easy, my dear. Have you changed your ways?

  3. Hard Times

    September 27, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Her story is hard but true. She’s not the only one to have “gone through” bad times–be it in the music industry, modeling or acting. She’s telling the truth, however, about Diana whom I met backstage at the Apollo in NYC years ago. She was stuck up alright. No question about that but she bought me a Pepsi. I was just a starstruck kid Honi coles, then manager of the Apollo, took a liking to and let me in free many, many times when I showed up backstage. Diana was everything Betty said but, for whatever reason, she was nice to me in that small tiny space of … time long, long ago. You will note Rhonda Ross is Berry’s daughter, right? Diana’s greatest disappointment was loving Berry and not being named the official “First Lady and Mrs. Berry Gordy.” Diana, like so many others who tried the having the baby trick, was sadly disappointed–not that Rhonda ever wanted for anything. She didn’t. On the real, though? Diana tried the baby thing with Rob Silberstein (two children) and then the late, very rich, Arne Nass (two children) and in each instance she was disappointed. Oh, Silberstein married her as did Nass but she was and remains to this day in love with Gordy. IJS

  4. Ran

    September 27, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    I think one would need to read the book to know exactly what Betty is saying and not judge based on one quotation. Though I take exception to the small voice thing (big voice or small voice, as long as you have what God gave you and know how to use it, what difference does big or small make?) maybe her contact with Diana when they were younger was that in which Betty’s impression of her was a stuck up bitch. If she really is taking swipes at this point in her life that is sad. Nothing more pathetic than an older person judging someone today for something that happened 50 years ago.

    • CB

      October 1, 2012 at 8:29 pm

      I agree with you !!!! How many YEARS has it been Betty ???? Get the hell over it already!

  5. Zia

    September 27, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Sounds & looks like a washed up …

  6. rampage

    September 27, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Any one who has followed Diana Ross through the years, know she is a ruthless arrogant bitch.

    • Sheila

      October 2, 2012 at 10:52 am

      And maybe she had to be to remain in the music industry. You don’t remain in the eye of the public as long as she has without having some talent and knowing how to best position yourself. So hats off to the Diva named Diana!

  7. Tyrone Norwood

    September 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    I agree that her story is hard but true. She’s not the only one to have “gone through” bad times–be it in the music industry, modeling or acting; she made choices; her choices and to blame people for leaving her behind; what a bunch of bull; she has to take responsibility for her own actions. In a few years Michelle and Kelly will be saying the same thing about Beoncey or how ever you spell her name; in other words who cares.

  8. freeze

    September 28, 2012 at 12:17 am

    Why are we digging in the pass? Let what happen back in the day stay in the pass. Who care at this late date and time because theirs nothing that can be done about it now.

  9. big annie

    September 28, 2012 at 5:53 am

    Several of those connected with Motown have said Diana Ross was a bitch. Mary Wilson wrote a juicy autobiography that stated that and so did Barry Gordy’s first wife who actually kept the books and co-wrote songs and was treated like crap.Barry Gordy was a trip, too.
    As far as folks rehashing the past…it happens everyday. Maybe this woman would benefit from the act of forgiveness to release herself from all of the pain and resentment of the past. In fact, a LOT of people would benefit from the act of forgiving.When you hold on to that old stuff it blocks your blessings.

  10. writeon2020

    September 28, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Will we ever stop exploiting each other to make a few dollars and have a few moments of fame? Sounds like Lavette tried to sleep her way to the top but didn’t make it so now in her golden years she’s bringing up old dirt. News flash… No one really cares.

  11. FenderJazz

    September 29, 2012 at 10:13 am

    History repeats itself. So you people who aspire to be in the music industry could benefit from this book. It seems like it exposes many of the pitfalls of the music industry and life in general.

    • FenderJazz

      September 29, 2012 at 10:15 am

      Meant to say young people instead of you people. 🙂

  12. Patricia

    October 1, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    I don’t know why people have an issue about her statements regarding Diana Ross. This story is HER story and HER history. She can tell it any way she wants to. If Diana was a bitch to her, then so be it. This woman has every right to speak on whatever part of her past she chooses. You all know good and damn well that gossip is what sells and that you all like hearing it.

    • Sheila

      October 2, 2012 at 11:04 am

      I have to agree with you Patricia…almost everyone likes to read or hears stories about something they have and interest in. But, you have to remember the truth is painted by the teller’s emotions and their point of view. No two people see everything the same way and they surely don’t feel the same way about things. So take it as it has been given and move on. If this lady wants to write a book about her life or make a movie about her life, let her! Congratulations on finding your moment.

  13. BassMan

    October 6, 2012 at 9:31 am

    The music business is one of the most crooked, and corrupt industry. Lavette is telling the truth, they will steal from you, used and abuse you. They will rob you blind. Ladies the odds are against you if you think you can become a star without laying with the big wigs and the star artists. That include the young men too! (Gay big shots)

  14. Michael B

    October 6, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Bettye is right to say what she said. This is therapy for her to let this be known to all of us. You and I weren’t there. That whole Motown thing was real because I know someone who was there and she told us stories when is worked for Motown many many years ago. I would listen from the other side of the door when she was telling my mother what was going on at Motown. I was very young and they sent me out of the living room when the stories got juicy. They exploited our sister in those days.They had to do what, they had to do to survive.

    This woman I mention worked with the Supremes for years and would bring home stories and signed autographes from the Supremes. She is in a nursing home now but her mind is still sharp. God Bless you Miss W !

  15. WizardG

    October 7, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    I bet that Diana has stories to tell too! Women were treated pretty roughly by men with power over them then, as many of them are now. Diana was probably turned cold and bitter in some ways because of what she had to go through just to get to where she is today.

    Most people get to where they are through different experiences and in the music industry those experiences can be pretty raunchy at times. I was probably spared an early demise by not getting to the level that people like Bettye reached. She is still very fortunate, and if disrespecting another person in her book helps her to reach her goals, then that teaches us all a lesson.

  16. Erica

    November 16, 2012 at 10:23 am

    A 40 + year old gripe, old people don’t care and it doesn’t matter to young people. Conclusion; non story

  17. Jaime Cardenas

    September 30, 2013 at 7:24 am

    For me I am into the music and all I know that taking all of these ladies ( ” evreyone of them that BASH DIANA ” ) and you see them perform / Sing and they all sound like sick cows howling ,, Bottom line Diana Ross is charming on stage , charismatic personality on stage , Beautiful to look at on stage , and has beautiful songs and an addictive smooth voice / Even Barbara Streisand and her talent for me a little Barbara goes a long way where as Diana I can listen to her 24/7 ,, I guess what Iam saying is after all the rudness politics backstabbing etc etc ,, she is still the one that raises to the top because shes been the best in evrey area ,, so get over it she it was Diana ross & the Supremes SHE IS DIANA the rest of you are the SUPREMEs sorry ladies 🙁

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