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#ThrowbackThursday: In Honor of Diana Ross Joining Twitter, Re-Visit Her Epic 1969 'Leading Lady Medley' 

#ThrowbackThursday: In Honor of Diana Ross Joining Twitter, Re-Visit Her Epic 1969 'Leading Lady Medley'


Ross, Streisand, Lansbury, Merman, Mackie — it's the Great Gag-pocalypse of '69. 

Yesterday the internet was blessed by the presence of my mother (and yours) Diana Ross when she announced she had joined the hashtagging horde:

Now that you're one of us, Ms. Ross (#respect), may I introduce you to a beloved Twitter tradition (or twiddition, if you will): #ThrowBackThursday.

Let's go back to 1969, after the summer of love had faded into the autumn of acquaintance -- November 7, 1969, when Diana Ross dropped the mic on America with her "Leading Lady Medley" from 1969's Motown special GIT on Broadway.


A little herstory: Motown had a big fat hit the year before with the television special TCB (Takin' Care of Business), featuring its two most popular acts, The Temptations and Diana Ross & the Supremes. Hoping to capitalize on this success, Berry Gordy and co. sent the groups to Broadway for GIT (Gettin' It Together). What can I say, the late-60s loved a sassy acronym.

By 1969, Ross was the biggest star in the Motown stable, and that special was one of the last times she and the Supremes appeared together. One month later, Diana left the group for solo stardom, thus setting the Blue-Ivyprint for future divas to come.


For GIT, however, the 26-year-old diva-in-waiting stole the show in an assortment of wigs with the "Leading Lady Medley," which features her belting through six Broadway songs and the entire wardrobe department.


Starting out in a dramatic Peter Pan collar -- this is Broadway after all -- Diana takes us on a journey of her would-be Broadway career, through the signature tunes of some of its grandest dames:

Ethel Merman's "Doing What Comes Naturally" from Annie Get Your Gun


Serving you a very literate cowgirl look.

Mary Martin's "I'm Going to Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair" from South Pacific


Here are all those aforementioned stolen wigs, styled into a hippie chic soft wave. I suggest you don't stare at this too long if you don't want to lose your sense of balance and/or precious hours of your life.

Julie Andrews' "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?" from My Fair Lady


If you didn't guess by now, Bob Mackie was the costume designer on this special. How many unicorns had to die for the sequins on this gown alone?

Barbra Streisand's "People" from Funny Girl


Whatever Happened to Baby Doll Realness?

Ethel Merman's "Everything's Coming Up Roses" from Gypsy


Here we have another taste of Mackie's trademark subtlety. Meanwhile, that's a sequined bodysuit under there. Get into it. On Broadway.

Finally, Angie Lansbury's "Mame" from Mame


And this is where Pepper LaBeija learned to bring it to a ballroom floor. I only wish Bea Arthur came out and sang "Bosom Buddies." But some dreams are just that.

Ross's dreams of being a leading lady -- this wasn't just a medley, this was an audition -- eventually came true when she snatched an Oscar nomination for her protrayal of Billie Holliday in Lady Sings the Blues, with later roles in The Wiz, and my personal fave, Mahogany.

Related | Mahogany 40th Anniversary Celebration

Arguably, it all started here. Check out this wonderful smorgasbord of gay below. It's 12 minutes long, but what else are you going to see that's better today? Nothing, that's what. And make sure to wish Miss Ross a happy #TBT on Twitter.

Les Fabian Brathwaite -- since @DianaRoss was taken, @lefabrat

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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Les Fabian Brathwaite