Betty Wright is a legendary, Grammy-winning, Miami-based singer-songwriter who has released 16 albums.
She scored her first big hit in the '70s at the age of 17 with the million-selling "Cleanup Woman." Later, she became the first black woman to release a gold record on her own label.
In hip-hop, her work has been sampled by artists such as Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, and DJ Quik. She still works in music to this day, developing the vocal abilities of major artists in the industry.
See the cut for a an interview she gave in 1977. It eerily foreshadows the terrible Super Bowl halftime show performance by the Black Eyed Peas at last Sunday's big game.
The first half of the video touches on the historic nature of the Overtown soul and R&B music scene, and how the sites of its legendary venues like the Sir John Knightbeat Hotel were destroyed without consideration for their value. She touches on the popularity and accessibility of artists like Jackie Wilson, and Sam & Dave. She then touches on the decentralization of the urban core of the City of Miami's black community, and migrations to the suburbs of Opa Locka and Carol City.
At around the 3:23 second mark, though, she has this to say, "Now a
lot of the acts don't really rely on their vocal ability. They have
these dances, or something added, that distracts your attention from the
fact that they cannot perform. They're not using their inner ability, their god given talent. They're sort of parasitical. They're relying on everything behind them, all
of the lighting systems, some bomb exploding. You know, something
added. All these little gimmicks. There are not that many shows anymore, you know, where you really see an artist sweat for their money, actually
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put out. Everybody else works but the one that's up front."
That was one hell of an expensive light show the Black Eyed Peas put on. But their vocals were more off key than a piano at a hammer factory. Let's just say, they could all use some lessons from Betty Wright.