Ruth Pointer now owns perfect attire for standing in line for the third degree from TSA agents.
The “original Pointer sister” performed Saturday at Twin Cities Pride with her daughter Issa Pointer and granddaughter Sadako Pointer. At the start of my interview with the R&B legend, I gave her one of my T-shirts stating: “I Want a TSA Agent With a Slow Hand.”
“That’s too funny,” said Pointer, who recorded the 1981 hit “Slow Hand” with some combination of her singing sisters Anita, Bonnie and June (who is now deceased).
When I gave the shirt to Ms. Ruth, Sadako was the first to read it and start laughing. When I wear that T to airports, it usually gets laughs from TSA agents. Can you imagine the yuks if Ms. Ruth actually wears it?
Anita gave LaBelle a pointer
Anita Pointer is not performing with the act now because she is reportedly not well. My music producer pal Shaun LaBelle, who shoots the TV commercials for Twin Cities Pride, had been sure she would perform there. They go way back.
“Gary Reed was my manager and [back then] Anita’s longtime boyfriend and her manager and at one time the Pointer Sisters’ manager,” LaBelle told me.
During a month when LaBelle was between residences, he said he stayed with Reid and Anita Pointer. They lived in an L.A. mansion once featured on Robin Leach’s “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” In other words, it was so huge you might never see your house guest.
LaBelle said that he once did studio work for the Pointer Sisters on the song “Don’t Get Me Started.”
As LaBelle recalled, “It was taking a second for Anita to nail the vocal. This was long before Auto-Tune, where you can fix pitch, so she had to get it right. I was just directing like I normally do in a session. She might have been a little tired that day and I am very particular, as you know.”
Anita had apparently had enough of Shaun. He said she motioned for him to leave the sound board and meet her in the hallway.
“She said, I want to remind you of how many Grammys I’ve won. How many have you won at this juncture? or something like that,” said LaBelle, laughing. “I didn’t say anything. This was like the beginning of my career. I was still semi-starstruck, still fairly new, but I was headed in the right direction,” said LaBelle. He later won three British Music Awards.
“It’s just a funny story. We are very cool. We built a tremendous relationship.”
I was anxious to hear Ms. Anita’s recollections of schooling Shaun. Sending her many positive thoughts; she was sorely missed.
Now that was a Prince tribute!
Sheila E. knows she’s too old to go sliding across the stage trying to compete with Janelle Monáe.
There was a hesitation and an I guess I’m doing this look in the drummer’s eyes Sunday night before she hit the stage leading with her hip. She apparently felt pushed to outdo Monae, who had been slithering all over the floor like Prince in the tribute to the late rock icon that dominated the 2016 BET Awards.
Monday I tweeted Sheila E., asking how her hip was. She made my tweet a favorite and retweeted me but did not answer the question. That fact that she’s tweeting means she’s probably not in traction.
Sheila E.’s tribute was studded with stars closer to Prince than the other tributes. Prince’s first wife, Mayte, came on and danced (thanks for noting that, @CoryHepola @KARE 11), as did Jerome Benton.
Sheila E. didn’t have to slide or work it the way she did with Benton to outdo Monae. Monae may be an entertainer but she’s not a vocal powerhouse. That may explain why the band was holding back and sounding hollow.
The Prince tribute that vocally blew everybody away, of course, poured out of Jennifer Hudson. Lord have mercy, that girl can SING! Sunday, just as a few years ago when she was the PACER Center’s headliner, was all JHud, no Auto-Tune.
Poor Erykah Badu’s voice may soon be beyond help from even Auto-Tune. One of those performers known for her tardiness, Badu’s voice seemed to arrive very late, as in sometime after Sheila E.’s show-closing performance.
On a much higher note was the very sexy GAM Maxwell with alternate lyrics to Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U.” Classiest lyrical touch: “It’s been 7 hours and 66 days since you took your music away …”
C.J. can be reached at email@example.com and seen on Fox 9’s “Jason Show.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count. Attachments are not opened.