Today is her birthday. Diana Ross by the numbers: 70 hit singles with her work with The Supremes and as a solo artist; sold more than 160 million records. In 1988, Ross was inducted to the Rock ‘n’ Hall of Fame as member of The Supremes, alongside original members Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard. She was the recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor in 2007, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016. Although Ross is a 12-time Grammy Award nominee, she has never won one of their gold trophies, except for the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award a decade ago, which isn’t nothin’.
July 12, 1979 will forever be known as the day Disco died. That night, Rock music fans filled Comiskey Park in Chicago to destroy and burn thousands of Disco records in a Disco Sucks Demolition. The genre became uncool, and artists found themselves avoiding it. The following year, Ross didn’t care one little bit and she released a Disco heavy self-titled album which included the infectious Upside Down and her boldest career single, I’m Coming Out.
After attending a drag revue a New York City club called the “GG Barnum Room” featuring bunches of Diana Rosses, songwriter/producer Nile Rodgers wanted to embrace the fall of disco with a flamboyantly, rebellious anthem. He noted that the jam was influenced by the Disco Demolition Night, where he noticed that no Black or LGBTQ people were in attendance, saying the infamous event was racist and homophobic towards the true fans of the genre. I’m Coming Out reached Number-Five on the Billboard Hot 100 and became a very important song for those truly needing to come out of the closet. I’m Coming Out is now considered one of the Top Gay Anthems. On Notorious B.I.G.’s 1997 Number One hit, Mo Money Mo Problems features Ross’s vocal sampled from I‘m Coming Out.