HELLO AMERICA!—During my last appearance in San Francisco, I received numerous questions about the beloved Pointer Sisters.
People wanted to know anything and everything about them and would they be recording any new songs or records. It was good to know there are so many people who are loyal to some of our greatest or very special talents of yesterday. The Pointer Sisters from Oakland spiced up the record industry when it needed it. It is quite understandable why BET next year (February 2016) will honor the singing “Sisters” their Lifetime Achievement Award.
It has been quite a journey since the 70s for these young ladies from singing in their father’s church in Oakland to the screens and theaters worldwide; audiences praising the magical sounds which energized the feelings and hope that life was not as hopeless as some believed. The Pointer Sisters without question were a phenomenon, unlike any other group.
I was reminded that it was Bonnie Pointer who formed the Grammy winning group in 1969, along with their late sister, June. This is when they added sisters Anita and Ruth. The hits were fast and heavy with such winners as: “Slow Hand,” “I’m So Excited,” “Jump For My Love” and “Automatic.”
Anita (lead vocalist) is very outspoken about their early years as kids determined to reach a certain level of success in the music industry. “Let’s face it,” she noted, “Before Destiny’s Child” came along, it was the Pointers. We were just kids during the ’50s in Oakland with dreams. Because of circumstances, I was sent off to Prescott, Arkansas to stay with my grandparents. This is when I first faced Jim Crow and segregation.” Having experienced this kind of inhuman recognition, made it very easy for Anita as a young woman, to join forces with those in the 1960s protesting racism and police violence.
The Pointer Sisters became the first contemporary act to sing at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn. They even wrote songs with Stevie Wonder sang in the film “Car Wash” and made multiple appearances on TV including “Sesame Street,” “The Carol Burnett Show” and the “Midnight Special” show.
Even though their popularity peaked 30 years ago, they have never stopped performing. Currently, Ruth’s daughter ISSA and granddaughter SADAKO now alternately sing for June Pointer who died of cancer in 2006. The Pointers quickly let me know that they are still here and always ready with a song or two. “This is who we are,” Anita offered in a very absolute tone, “Singing is what we were born to do!”