*The following is a commentary written by former member of The Supremes, Scherrie Payne:
Mary Wilson! She was so many wonderful things to so many: A Supreme; a best-selling author; a humanitarian and civil rights activist; a mother; grandmother; a sister; a cousin, and of course a friend!
Mary did it all and did it all so well! Her legacy will forever live on in the hearts and minds of fans all over the world. From that young girl in Detroit, she went on to become part of a group that took the music industry and then, the nations by storm. They became Superstars, Legends of Motown that helped put the name of Detroit on the map!! Trailblazers! They were a first-class act! The Supremes became role models for so many Black girls and made them realize they could achieve the heights; anything was possible regardless of one’s race.
The stage was Mary’s home; she lit it up! She was a natural and showed it. Audiences loved her vivaciousness, slick dance moves accompanied by her sexy voice and bright smile. Whether she was just singing “oohs” and “aahs” in the background, or delivering a tender solo, she was powerful. The Supremes was her life and it was obvious that she enjoyed every moment of it. Mary was relentless and hard-working and never slowed down or gave up on her goals, nor her dreams. She never saw the world through blinded eyes. She was an optimist, always striving for that next plateau, and achieved it. I so admired her for that! Mary was the consummate performer/entertainer. She was beautiful!
Mary has left an indelible mark on the hearts of everyone who ever met or knew her. I, for one, shall forever be indebted to her. I became a part of the legacy of The Supremes in 1973 and was introduced to a thrill of a lifetime. We traveled and played to so many audiences, here and abroad, and wore exquisite, fabulous gowns. I was truly blessed!
I’m so proud of all Mary accomplished. An original member of the most famous girl-group in the world! An icon never to be forgotten! Mary Wilson! A legend in her own time! Heaven has welcomed in another Supreme angel! My prayers, love, and deepest condolences go out to her family. May God watch over them during this time of tremendous pain and sorrow and comfort them. Tears may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. So, every time you think of Mary, smile.
Author/playwright Scherrie Payne is best known as a member of the R&B/pop vocal group, The Supremes, from 1973 until 1977. Because of her powerful voice and petite stature, Payne is sometimes referred to as “the little lady with the big voice.” She is also a noted playwright.