A small part of Hollywood Boulevard will forever belong to Nancy Wilson. At noon on Monday, the singer received her star on the Walk of Fame. Afterward, for the remainder of the afternoon, she celebrated with 300 family members and friends in the Hollywood Roosevelt’s Blossom Room.
“We’re just glad she’s getting her roses while she can still smell them,” said actress Marla Gibbs, who called the singer “the epitome of romance.”
More praise came from singer Joe Williams, who said Wilson “has such a distinctive style. It’s like you hear somebody singing and say ‘Hey, that’s Ella.’ People know her just by the way she sounds.”
In the Blossom Room, the food ran out almost immediately but the praise for Wilson did not. Comedian Sinbad described her as “a performer from a different era. She’s got class. She knows you’ve got to put something back when you take something out.” And gospel singer Tramaine Hawkins said, “she’s a real singer’s singer. Without accompaniment she can bring tears to your eyes and raise the hairs on the back of your neck.”
As a tribute to Wilson, Hawkins performed a soaring gospel tune, “Wait on the Lord,” that guest Anita Woodfork described as “one of those songs where you just lay back and rock .” Though the Blossom Room’s echoing acoustics left much to be desired, Hawkins received a standing ovation from the crowd that included Marsha Warfield, Dawnn Lewis, state Sen. Diane Watson (D-Los Angeles) and dozens of tourists peering down from the balcony.
Following the presentation of an NAACP achievement award to Wilson, there was much more singing, including numbers from Daryl Coley, Vesta Williams, Sarah Martin, O. C. Smith, Michelle Carr, Carl Anderson and Wilson’s daughters, Samantha and Sheryl.
Wilson basked in the recognition and entertainment, which she said she doubly appreciated because so many of her family members, some traveling from as far as Ohio and Florida, were there to share the day.
“It’s not success if you trade family and friendship for stardom,” Wilson said.