Diana Ross, once the lead singer for the Motown supergroup the Supremes, was the most successful female singer of the rock and roll era. In the next few decades, she continued to enjoy success with a solo career and numerous television and film appearances.
Diana Ross was born on March 26, 1944, in Detroit, Michigan. She was the second of six children of Fred and Ernestine Ross, who lived in Brewster-Douglass, one of Detroit's low income housing districts. Because of her tight-knit family Ross grew up virtually unaware of the harsh life that surrounded her. While her family was active in the Baptist church choir, Diana learned secular music (nonreligious music) from a cousin. She played baseball and took tap dance and majorette lessons at Brewster Center.
At age fourteen Ross tried out for a part in a school musical, but was turned down. The brief failure turned into good fortune, as she was invited to sing with the Primettes, a girls' vocal group that included Florence Ballard (1943–1976) and Mary Wilson (1944–)