HDI is pleased and honored to announce that Miss Thelma Houston has agreed to be HDI’s Celebrity Spokesperson. We are especially honored as Miss Houston was a close friend of Mary Wilson who served as HDI’s Celebrity Spokesperson for 12 years until her passing on February 8, 2021. Thelma Houston will continue Mary’s work of fostering international dialogue through music and supporting HDI’s humanitarian programs worldwide.
As was Mary Wilson, Thelma Houston is a Mississippi native. She started out in the 1960s performing gospel music with the Art Reynolds Singers. She then signed to Capitol Records (home of the Beatles, Nat King Cole, and Nancy Wilson) in 1967 and had her first hit song called “Baby Mine.” When Thelma moved to Motown Records, she claimed the top of the Pop, R&B, and Dance charts with her high-powered rendition of “Don’t Leave Me This Way.” That Gold Record classic gave Thelma the distinction of being the first solo female artist at Motown to win the Grammy Award for “Best R&B Female Vocal Performance.
Thelma Houston’s role with HDI is a continuation of her ongoing humanitarian efforts for charitable causes, especially the battle against HIV/AIDS. For this work, the City of West Hollywood proclaimed January 29th as “Thelma Houston Day” in 2003. Thelma has given her talents to numerous charities including Devine Design for Project Angel Food, AIDS Project Los Angeles, and the Minority AIDS Project, to which she donated her $20,000 winnings from the TV show Hit Me Baby. She is on the advisory board and is very active with Dream A World Education a non-profit that delivers arts-based social-emotional learning with an emphasis on culture and diversity to children in the underserved communities.