Tuesday, October 15, 2013

R.I.P.: Maxine Powell

Maxine Powell, the finishing-school instructor who infused Motown’s young stars with elegance and poise, died Monday morning October 14, 2013. She was 98.

Powell was enlisted by Motown Records in 1964 to help mold singers such as Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye into performers fit “for kings and queens,” as Powell often put it. She called them her diamonds in the rough, and her training — along with tough love — aimed to polish their posture, diction, stage presence and sense of self-worth.

Motown artists and other personnel heralded her on Monday as one of the label’s key behind-the-scenes figures, an unsung hero whose contributions came to be publicly recognized only in later decades.

As part of Motown’s Artist Personal Development Department, Powell was a vessel for Berry Gordy’s broader Motown vision: an entertainment legacy that crossed cultural borders. MORE HERE

Watch BBC's Deep Soul: The Up Rising Of Motown HERE

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