*Motown Legends, executives, friends, and community members were in the house at the 10th Annual Friends of Fuller Strikefest on November 8, 2017 in Los Angeles.
That’s right; the likes of Motown founder Berry Gordy, former Supreme Mary Wilson, and diva Thelma Houston were mixing it up at a bowling alley (Corbin Bowl Center) and having fun all in the name of community and charity.
“It was absolutely the very best Strikfest evening so far,” said Iris Gordy, founder of Friends of Fuller (FOF), producer of the event, and daughter of Fuller Gordy, for whom the event is named after. ”It’s just truly a lovefest. It’s a safe, friendly warm environment. The party got so loud we couldn’t hear what people said. Everybody was exclaiming, shouting, crying, and laughing when they saw each other.”
“People continue to say it was like a family feeling,” added Karla Gordy Bristol, Iris’s daughter, co-founder of FOF, and co-producer of the event. “It was like a big house party. They were very appreciative that they were able to be a part of Motown that night.”
The event included bowling competitions, a karaoke lounge, raffles for lunch with a diva, and much more. However, the highlight of the evening was a performance by the “Sizzling Songbirds of Motown” – Mary Wilson, Thelma Houston, Freda and Scherrie Payne, with Bonnie Pointer, from The Pointer Sisters, joining them in the finale.
“Thelma Houston killed it, rocked it,” said Iris. “When she gets on that stage nobody can touch her. Mary came down into the audience and everybody was up on their feet going crazy. Freda did her thing and she’s very sexy. Everybody was just crazy about all of the ladies.”
As the older brother of Berry Gordy, Fuller Gordy (a Motown executive) excelled in sports, especially bowling, while growing up in working class Detroit in the 50’s and 60’s. Fuller’s bowling prowess earned him the nickname, “Mr. 700,” because he effortlessly nabbed 200 points or more per game, resulting in repeated three-game 700 series.
Fuller went on in 1959 to become the first black bowler from the state of Michigan to be inducted in the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA). Fuller died in 1991 and the Friends of Fuller was set up to honor his memory and support organizations that help those in need. This year’s Strikefest honoree was Tiffany Rose, the founder of My Friend’s House Foundation on Skid Row, a homeless district in Downtown Los Angeles.
“She does a lot of great work down there,” said Iris. “A lot of celebrities help her out every Wednesday to feed the homeless. She’s great and very sincere.”
This year also came with surprise honors for Fuller’s siblings.
“Berry received the ‘best little brother award’ onstage,” said Iris. “And, when he thought he was done, I said, ‘Don’t leave the stage yet and called up Robert Gordy,’ who used to be the Vice President of Jobete Publishing, one of the few black people in the publishing business. He accepted the ‘best baby brother award.’ Everybody loved that moment.”
EUR BONUS COVERAGE – Red Carpet Interviews from the Fuller Gordy Strikefest