***A memorial service for Miss Powell will be held at 10 a.m. Friday October 18, 2013 at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, 18700 James Couzens, Detroit. The funeral will follow at 11 a.m. Swanson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.***
Hartford Memorial Baptist Church
18700 James Couzens Fwy
Detroit, Mi. 48235
313-861-1300 (Church Office)
"The world is a little less elegant today..." Lovely audio essay on NPR about the inimitable Maxine Powell:
Miss Maxine Powell was so important to the success of Motown records and the over all image of successful musical acts of the 1960's. It was her view that made the Motown cross over to mainstream even more important.
Miss Maxine and dear friend Miss Martha Reeves
The beginning of the Supremes...
Miss Maxine taught more than just how to look, she taught behavior and polish. She was amazing and her skills were unmatched. She conducted her life in the utmost dignity and taught so many others to follow her lead... RIP
Motown Historical Museum CEO Allen Rawls said Powell died of natural causes at a hospital in Southfield, Michigan.
She didn't sing or write songs, but those associated with Motown say Powell was as essential to the label's operations as any performer or producer.
She directed the label's Artists Development Department, also known as "Motown's Finishing School." Through it, she emphasized to many artists — including Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Jackson Five and the Supremes — how they should carry themselves, treat people and dress.
Miss Maxine with Mary WilsonHistory Maker Maxine Powell was born in Texarkana, Texas, and raised in Chicago, Illinois, by her aunt, Mary James Lloyd, who taught etiquette and refinement. Powell attended Keith and Willard elementary schools. Before Powell graduated from Hyde Park High School in 1933, her aunt passed away.
Maxine Powell attended Madame C.J. Walker’s School of Beauty Culture and worked as a manicurist to finance her acting studies; for eight years, she studied elocution with James Baron, playwright, producer, and director of the Negro Drama League. Powell also took dance and movement lessons from Chicago legend, Sammy Dyer.
She moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1945, and taught self-improvement and modeling classes before opening the Maxine Powell Finishing and Modeling School in 1951. She bought a large house in 1953, which became the largest banquet facility in Detroit for African Americans, and worked as a talent agent, bringing black productions and artists to Detroit theaters and placing black models in advertising campaigns...then she went to Motown...What an Amazing Life...
My thoughts are with her family, her enormous list of friends and former students.
Maxine Powell, Motown’s Maven of Style, Dies at 98
By MARGALIT FOX
Published: October 16, 2013
Tony Ding/Associated Press
Maxine Powell in 2009. “I teach class,” she said of her record-label work, “and class will turn the heads of kings and queens.”
Maxine Powell, the Miss Manners of Motown, who as the director of the label’s in-house finishing school in the 1960s was considered in no small part responsible for its early success, died on Monday in Southfield, Mich. She was 98. FULL STORY