Dionne Warwick on “Don’t Make Me Over” Documentary and When She “Passed” Snoop Dogg
Dionne Warwick didn’t like what was going on in gangsta rap.
In the 1990s, she vowed that the music would never be played in her house.
But gangsta rap made show up at her house one morning – in the form of a rapper Snoop dogg, then in his stardom debut, and Suge Knight, infamous CEO of Death Row Records.
Warwick had requested a meeting with them at 7 a.m.
Snoop arrived at 6:52 am, just in case. After all, it was Dionne Warwick.
“Not much scares us, but it shook us up,” Snoop says in the new documentary “Dionne Warwick: Don’t give up on me, which premiered on Saturday at Toronto International Film Festival. The hip-hop veteran is one of the film’s many famous faces, which celebrates Warwick’s story as a New Jersey singer, activist and living legend.
“My sons thought I was out of my mind,” Warwick recalls in the film.
But the iconic singer was not deterred. she had strongly spoke out against misogynistic words in rap.
After a succession of rappers arrived in various SUVs, she had her guests sit down for a sort of summit.
She asked them to call her bitch.
What, she wanted to know, gave them the right to call any woman a whore in their music?
“I just let them know that they would all get married eventually and that they were all going to have children,” Warwick, 80, told NJ Advance Media, speaking through Zoom after the film’s premiere. “And one of those kids will be a little girl. And they’re running around calling little girls by name. Now this little girl might hear one of those songs, and she’s going to come over to daddy and say, ‘Daddy, did you really say that?’ And I think he registered.
“We were defeated that day,” Snoop, now 49, said in the documentary. (He welcomed a daughter in 1999.)
Despite their initial differences, he says there would be no Snoop Dogg without Dionne Warwick.
Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Alicia Keys, Gladys Knight, Carlos Santana and former President Bill Clinton are among those testifying to Warwick’s legacy in the documentary, which received a standing ovation at the Toronto Film Festival.
“What I’m most happy about is that Dionne could smell the roses while she was alive,” co-director Dave Wooley told NJ Advance Media. The filmmakers were looking for a cast at the festival, and there should be news about that soon, he says.
Wooley met Warwick 25 years ago through his former business partner, basketball star Julius “Dr. J” Erving. He then worked with Warwick on his 2010 autobiography “My life as I see it. “While writing the book, he immediately saw the potential for document processing.
” There is about 10 documentaries in Dionne, ”says Wooley. The five-year film is co-directed by David Heilbroner, director of the documentaries “Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland” (2018) and “Stonewall Uprising” (2010).
“Don’t Make Me Over” follows Warwick from his childhood in East Orange to his sensational collaborations with songwriter / songwriter Burt Bacharach and lyricist Hal David, telling the stories behind his historic Grammy hits and victories.
“Jersey is really kind of like a character in this movie,” Wooley says.
The directors filmed several times at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, a second home for Warwick and his extended family, including his aunt, gospel singer Cissy Houston, and Houston’s daughter Whitney Houston, who plotted his own illustrious path to pop fame before his death. in 2012.
Warwick, known for her “angelic” voice and skill at producing complex melodies, is known to “bridge the gap” between pop and R&B audiences. She sold 100 million records over her 60-year career and won six Grammys, including a Lifetime Achievement Award. She still lives in New Jersey, near where it all started for her, in South Orange.
“I’m not treated any differently from anyone else on the street,” she says. “You know, they know me as Dionne. And so I like it like that.
Warwick began performing in the Gospel audiences with her sister, Dee Dee Warwick, who died in 2008. She was born into a musical heritage with the family group, the Drinkard Singers, led by her mother, Lee Drinkard Warrick.
The spelling of Warwick’s last name differs from the original Warrick as it was misspelled on his first single, “Don’t make me anymore. “The 1962 song, which was used for the title of the documentary, was written by Bacharach and David, but Warwick’s own words inspired the chorus and the title.
She had started by singing and on demos for other artists. Bacharach and David “Make it easy for yourself”Was supposed to be different – it would still be his song. Disappointed to learn that the 1962 melody had instead been given to Jerry butler, Warwick expressed the famous sentiment which became his first single with Scepter Records. “Don’t Make Me Over” was a Top 40 hit.
The documentary shows what Warwick looked like as a black artist touring the South with Sam Cooke during the Jim Crow era, and what it meant to promote his music in Europe, where a white woman was featured on the cover art of his album.
Wooley and Heilbroner also point to the revolutionary nature of Warwick’s AIDS activism. She was not afraid to check Presidents Ronald Reagan and Clinton on the public health crisis – by having Reagan say “AIDS” aloud – and raised tens of millions of dollars for AIDS research in donating royalties from “This is what friends are for, Her Grammy-winning No. 1 song starring Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and Elton John.
Warwick wrote another chapter of his extraordinary public life during the COVID-19 pandemic. When she decided to give social media a try, she ended up becoming the reigning queen of Twitter.
Speaking to NJ Advance Media earlier this year, Warwick described his approach to social media as being the adult in the room, cleaning up some of the negativity and meanness that can fester in such a space.
“There were different ways of approaching as opposed to bullying, denigrating and insulting,” she says, reflecting on her success on Twitter, which has prompted people to ask her to watch photos of their dogs or write their personal biographies. (She did, and they gave her due credit in their profiles.)
Some were so taken aback by Warwick’s hilarious comment that they accused her of using a young ghost tweeter. As always, she was not discouraged and quickly befriended stars like Chance the Rapper and Taylor Swift.
“Hello, @chancetherapper,” Warwick said in an oft-retweeted dispatch. “If you’re very clearly a rapper, why did you put it in your stage name?” I can’t help but think about this.
“Sorry, I’m still panicking that you know who I am,” he replied. “This is amazing!”
The exchange led to the two collaborating on a song. Warwick’s new social media stamp hailed a new era: the Dionnaissance.
“When I started, Dionne didn’t even want to turn on her laptop,” Wooley says of the film. “So the fact that by the time I was done she was the queen of Twitter, I would have lost my house if I had made a bet on it.”
Wooley and Warwick believe now is the time for a career retrospective, especially since many new fans of the singer have known her via Twitter.
“People made their own decisions as to who, what, when, where and why Dionne Warwick is, and now they’ll have the whole story,” says Warwick. “Now they will know who I am, what I do, how I do it, why I do it. And I think it’s very important that they get it straight from the truth, and that’s me.
In addition to heading to the film festival – where she was naturally invited to take over the event’s Twitter account – the singer prepared for her comeback live, in person this month. The closed stages during the pandemic had her mostly at her home in southern Orange, retaining her Twitter headline and performing virtual shows for fans.
“I miss it,” she said. “I fail to do what I feel I do best.”
But be prepared for even more proof that the Dionnaissance is in full effect.
A Warwick biopic and TV series are in the works. Wooley is working on the film as a producer and screenwriter.
Warwick confirms that the actor and singer LeToya Luckett (“Greenleaf”), formerly of Destiny’s Child, is expected to play her in the film. Teyana taylor, a singer, actor and model who appeared in “Eddie Murphy’s”Coming 2 America“, Is attached to play it in the series.
Warwick got the ball rolling in December when she tweeted how she thought Taylor would be the obvious choice for the role.
“This is a case for @netflix,” she said.
“Take notes,” the streamer replied.
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