Eddie Levert and Walter Williams of the O’Jays were in for a surprise during a recent interview with EBONY.
The two original members of the acclaimed R&B group had hilarious reactions after seeing three JET magazine issues on which they appeared.
After taking a look at the June 1975 cover, Williams joked, “They’ve got my name wrong on that one. They put my name up on the wrong person.”
According to Levert, the outfits they wore were a part of a popular fashion trend. “That’s when jean suits were popular. You see we were in them,” he said.
Levert was equally enthusiastic when he saw the August 1977 cover. “This is when we were popping,” he said. “We were cooking with gas. We were all over the place.”
Williams was impressed with their ensembles. “And we had a great tailor,” he shared.
His longtime friend and collaborator agreed. “We had a great guy, the guy that was making our clothes.” Levert said, adding, “We had figures then” before laughing. Williams later joked, “I couldn’t get one leg in that outfit now.”
Shouting-out the third group member who appeared on the cover, Williams said, “That’s Sammy [Strain], that’s not Will [Powell].”
Reflecting on Strain’s contributions to the group, Levert said, “He was such an intricate part of when we got into that super star mode. He was the guy that held the middle down. He had the look. He had the flair. He made me and Walt’s job very easy. All we had to worry about was singing and getting back in step with him.”
The singers continued to laugh when they checked out the August 1989 cover. “That’s a lot more recent,” Williams said. “We’re getting older, you can notice that,” Levert joked. Williams added, “My weave got cut way down!” In the midst of their merriment, Levert said, “But we’re still looking good, man. We’re still at ’em,” to which Williams replied, “Yeah, maybe.”
The group’s final album, The Last Word, is currently available on all streaming platforms.
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Jasmine Washington is a beauty-obsessed journalist by day and a trap music connoisseur by night. A lifelong New Yorker, she got her start as an intern at the now-defunct Juicy Magazine. Jasmine joined the EBONY.com team as a writer, penning daily stories on all things Black culture and entertainment.