Maxine Powell, who is known for smoothing out the rough edges of Motown’s diamonds in the rough and turning them into polished jewels, died this morning at Providence Hospital in Southfield. She was 98.
In a statement released Monday, Gordy paid tribute to a woman who was “unique in every way.”
“She brought something to Motown that no other record company had,” he said. “She was a star in her own right — an original. She will always be remembered for her style and class, and she instilled that into the Motown artists by teaching them how to walk, talk and even think with class.
“She was tough, but when she got through with them, they were poised, professional … and very thankful.
“ ‘I love you all,’ she’d say, ‘but don’t confuse me with your mother. She’s stuck with you, I’m not! Ladies, remember your gloves, walk with class like you were taught — and always remember, do not protrude the buttocks. One day you will perform for the kings and queens of Europe, but for now we must make the best of it on the circuit of the chit-ter-ling.’
“She was not only smart, but very funny,” said Gordy. “Maxine Powell will always be a great part of the Motown family and legacy. We miss her and will always love her.”