In the 1970’s, every Saturday one of my favorite shows “Soul Train” came on. The host, Don Cornelius would introduce a new guest who would perform the latest hit song while dancers moved and grooved. I loved the rhythms and funk, the steady disco beat, and the stylish clothes. I desperately wanted to be on the show or go to a disco. But I wasn’t old enough. I had no control over my life. So I could only fantasize of being a star like Diana Ross or Patty LaBelle.
40 years after it hit #1 on the billboard charts and inspired by my childhood fantasy, above is my latest painting “Lady Marmalade”. Named after one of my favorite songs by Patty Labelle (Not to be confused with the Christina Aguilera version), the lyrics tell a story of a prostitute on the streets of New Orleans approaching a guy and asking if he'd like to give it a go.
My visual interpretation of the song tells a story about a strong and seductive black woman in a disco with silky skin, fabulous clothing, shiny lips, and an attitude that would make only the most confident of men attempt to ask her for a dance. Maybe she’d seduce one. Maybe not. But it would be on her terms. She’s the one in control.