*Billed as the most anticipated TV One ‘Unsung’ episode to date, Hollywood’s W Hotel hosted a preview party on March 2nd for ‘David Ruffin Unsung’ which aired Monday March 5th.
Shown on the big screen of the hotel’s open-air Living Room section, when the screening began there was complete silence – except for surrounding traffic noise around the famous Hollywood & Vine intersection – but the ooh’s, ahh’s, and hand claps began as soon as Ruffin appeared singing and doing the theatrics he was so famous for as a principle lead singer for Motown’s The Temptations. The crowd knew the songs – “My Girl,” “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg,” “I’m Losin’ You” – but soon learned they did not know as much about the singer as they thought. It was an eye-opener.
Guests included actor T.K. Carter; DeFrantz Forest (son of singer Gene Chandler); Lou Rawls Jr.; Norman Carter of The Delfonics; Philicia Ruffin, and Jimmy Ruffin Jr.; Reverend Bill Minson, founder of T.U.D.A.Y.; publicist Cassandra Williams of W.E.T. PR); Angelique Prieto (daughter of Englebert Humperdinck); Ron Brewington of the Motown Alumni Association; and many others.
After the screening, David Ruffin Jr. thanked TV One’s Senior Director, Programming & Production, Jubba Seyyid and stated, “I don’t believe that they were just looking for good media, I believe that it was because I had a good friend…this gentleman made it all possible. I also couldn’t possibly have been more honored, and more privileged for you all to come out and share this with me…you had the feeling and the compassion and the curiosity to come down here and share this either through me or through somebody that you know…this is verification that you guys remember and know that David Ruffin is not only a Motown legend, but he’s a father and a real good man who made a couple bad decisions…[exclaiming] we all make bad decisions…all of us…professionally, personally…my father wasn’t as blessed or as fortunate as some of us here today…pass that on to your loved ones…and pay it forward.”
Million-seller musician and recording artist Ray Parker Jr. (‘Ghostbusters’ et.al.) said, “Unbelievable…first of all just watching David Ruffin sing those songs in the beginning…’I’m Losin’ You’ was the second song I learned how to play on the guitar…I didn’t even know what was going on with [Ruffin’s kids] and all that…but what a great killer voice…my God…some of this stuff I didn’t know…you hear rumors and all that stuff, so it’s nice to hear somebody clear it up for you and get it right. What a talented guy…that voice and the way he moved…”
Cornelius Grant, former bandleader for The Temptations said, “I think it was a very well done piece, and I think it did a lot of justice which is very important to me. I wanted to see it focus more on his talent than all the negative stuff…overall I think people got a good picture of the fact that [Ruffin] was one of the most talented performers that ever came through here.”
Karla Gordy Bristol whose father Johnny Bristol co-wrote Ruffin’s “My Whole World Ended” said, “I really enjoyed it. I think it’s really great that ‘Unsung’ put these stories out there for so many people to see…I’m glad to be here for the preview.”
For additional photos of the event please contact photographer Kevin McClellan at (323) 864-9325 or send an e-mail to [email protected]
Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” (Steuben Pub) www.amazon.com. Available at Smiley’s Bookstore in Carson CA, Skylight Books, Los Angeles, and Chaucer’s in Santa Barbara CA. Visit the author at www.larrybuford.com. (213) 220-8101.