As my husband and I drove our car down Fair Oaks Avenue Saturday morning, participating in the annual Pasadena Black History Parade, I was very honored to be the Celebrity Grand Marshall for this parade for many reasons.
I came from humble beginnings, and was told by many that my chances for any kind of great success would be limited by me being a woman of color, yet it did not stop me from dreaming big. Even though odds were against me, I became the first African-American woman to perform in mainland China with my singing partner Herb, as we were the honored guests of Bob Hope’s infamous “Road to China” tour in 1979. This fact got recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Our top ten hit songs, “Reunited” and “Shake Your Groove Thing”, has had a lasting impact around the world. Those songs still have momentum to this very day. I am still singing them, but since the time of their release I have also been the proud wife of my husband Stephen Tavani, mom of twin girls, and co- founder of WOW International! WOW provides a family festival here in Pasadena in the front of City Hall each summer. We have also provided this same type of festival in other inner city locations around our country for the last 25 years! In addition we have traveled with WOW and served in Nepal, India and Nairobi, Africa.
I am an active resident in support of our own community’s unity, advocating good relations between all the cultures and supporting the various leaders of the city as well. I especially honor those within organizations who risk their lives daily to protect those in trouble and those in need. I love being a part of the great community of Pasadena, CA!