The world is full of ruthless, unpredictable industries, and none more so than the entertainment industry.

It would require a series of books to tell the stories of all of the artists (and others in the business) who have been wiped out, some due, at least in part, to their own attitudes and misdeeds.

Stars don’t come any hotter than Rihanna is right now. In fact, she is currently the most viewed artist on YouTube. But all that media coverage, combined with the array of shady characters any entertainer will encounter, can lead down a destructive path.

Larry Demps from the Dramatics, who dropped out of show business many years ago, said in that business “there’s a snake under every rock.”

A bit of an exaggeration, but a point well taken.

“I don’t know Rihanna personally,” said Alicia Keys, “but its such a tricky, crazy business. Whose really loving you and making sure you’re okay? Everybody wants to make sure you’re okay when they can get something from you. But they don’t actually care. I hope Rihanna is surrounded by good people.”

It’s nice for an artist to be concerned about another, especially when there are no personal ties.

GOING OVER some of my notes from past conversations, I ran across something that made me chuckle, just as it did then. It came from Maxine Powell, the famous lady who headed Motown’s finishing school that was part of Motown’s legendary and highly effective grooming department.

Mrs. Powell’s rather biting comment was made in the mid-1980s, when Lionel Richie had soared to superstardom after leaving the Commodores.

“I didn’t have anyone like Lionel Richie,” she said. (Actually she said “Lionel Rich.”) “Most of the ones I had were rude, crude and from the projects.”

She loved ’em, though

The majority of the artists disliked the classes they were required to attend. Early on, Marvin Gaye complained, “I don’t need no charm school.”

But Diana Ross loved those classes, which comes as no surprise.

DON’T EXPECT Chris Brown and Drake to ever become “hangin’ buddies.” The wounds are still festering from that well-publicized brawl that took place last year in New York, involving Drake, Chris Brown and a bunch of guys who work for them.

“I don’t want my name to be synonymous with that guy’s name,” said Drake. “I wish we could sit down and talk it out man to man, but that’s not going to happen.”

Then he added, “I’m not confrontational, but if someone challenges me, I’m not going to back down.”

Hmmm…not exactly an example of extending an olive branch!

JOSEPH JACKSON, patriarch of the Jackson family, is one person I would never have wanted to have business dealings with.

He has had a string of bad business ventures, including a soft drink, a brand of scotch and a record company.

And as for his management skills, he may have been good for his sons in the early days, but it’s easy to see why his kids (including Janet) cut ties with their father once they were old enough and established enough to do so.

One of the worst things Joe Jackson has ever done was announcing (on camera) that he was starting a new record label and was interested in signing Michael Jackson’s kids — and Michael had just died days before!

However, that doesn’t stop yours truly from hoping that Mr. Jackson is fighting a winning battle following his severe 2012 health challenge.

GREAT QUOTE from tennis icon Serena Williams: “There’s always something you have to give up for success. Everything comes at a cost. What are you willing to pay?”

It’s interesting how certain movies can seem great, or at least very good, at the time of their release, but many years later come up short.

I recently watched “Lady Sings the Blues” on television and rented “Purple Rain,” and the flaws were so clear.

One of the problems with “Lady Sings the Blues,” in addition to some cornball dialogue and several examples of overacting, Diana Ross never really seemed like Billie Holiday.

Sorry to hear about Lenny Kravitz not being received well at the recent Country Music Association Music Festival in Nashville, but why would a rock star appear at a country event in the first place?

Patti LaBelle says her marriage to educator Armstead Edwards lasted for so long (30 years) because they were so different. LaBelle quipped at mid-marriage point, “He thinks I’m crazy and he’s such a square.”

No explanation was given as to why they eventually divorced. Perhaps “opposites attract” turned into “opposites can get on each other’s nerves.” Or maybe the marriage just ran its course. That can happen.

BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW…that the Isley Brothers’ big hit from 1973, “That Lady,” was originally recorded in 1964 as “Who’s That Lady?”

MEMORIES: “Gloria” (Enchantment), “Grazing in the Grass” (the Friends of Distinction), “Make Me the Woman That You Go Home To” (Gladys Knight & the Pips), “Got To Be There” (Michael Jackson), “Muscles” (Diana Ross), “Reelin’ in the Years” (Steely Dan), “It’s Growing” (the Temptations), “Shake” (Sam Cooke), “A Little Bit More” (Melba Moore with Freddie Jackson), “Ecstasy” (the Ohio Players).

BLESSINGS to Frankie Darcell, Michael “Tiger” Price, Deborah Smith Pollard, Montez Miller, Greg Mitchell, Alisa Giddens, Greg Giddens, Duane Parham, Jill Day-Foley and Aaron Foley.

WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Dr. Wayne Dyer: “If you feel it and it harms no one, it is authentic.”

Let the music play!

Steve Holsey can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and PO Box 02843, Detroit, MI 48202.

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