Mary Wilson

Mary Wilson
ESSENCE.COM Apr, 02, 2009

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“Throughout the years, I’ve heard people say things like, “The Supremes were manufactured,’” says Wilson. “But we weren’t, we were diamonds in the rough.”

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2 of 15 Motown

Originally called The Primettes, Florence “flo” Chapman, Diana Ross, and Mary Wilson, who went through a rigorous artist development program as Motown artists, always knew how to command an audience.

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Mary Wilson, the only original member of The Supremes to remain in the group from 1959 to 1977, continues to keep the group’s legacy alive with an exhibit of their legendary gowns.

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4 of 15 Motown

“‘Dreamgirls’ is not the story of The Supremes,” says Wilson. “We were truly sisters and loved each other.”

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5 of 15 Motown

“For years, I’ve been fighting over what I’m going to put on my tombstone and I know the essence of what it will say is that she was a person who lived her life always with the thought of kindness, honesty and peacefulness,” says Wilson.

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6 of 15 Motown

The Supremes shimmer in sequin as they work the camera with their style and grace.

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7 of 15 Motown

“I kept The Supremes image alive for many, many years in the hopes that something like that might happen,” says Wilson. “It all depends if Diane [Ross] wants to do it. I personally would.”

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8 of 15 Motown

“We were like sisters and truly loved each other,” says Wilson of her group mates. “Sometimes money and fame ruins lives.”

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9 of 15 Motown

Wilson lost her son in a car accident in 1994, but says that her family has remained strong and are coping.
“You feel guilty and wonder how you could have protected your child from harm,” she says. “Any parent would feel that way when something tragic happens, but I’ve learned to accept that death is a part of life.”

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The Supremes were known for their impeccable style and flawless performances.

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11 of 15 Motown

“With me, what you see is what you get,” says Wilson. “I don’t play games.”

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The Supremes’ style set many fashion trends and still influences today’s girl groups.

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Sporting perfectly coiffed Afros and black turtlenecks, The Supremes, make their Too Black Too Strong statement.

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14 of 15 Motown

The Supremes were diva personified.

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15 of 15 Motown

“What I remember about The Supremes is that what we went through wasn’t us but many outside influences that came between us.”

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