Etterlene DeBarge

Etterlene Louise DeBarge–Rodriguez (born Etterlene Louise Abney; October 13, 1935) is an American gospel singer, songwriter, and matriarch of the American R&B/Soul vocal group DeBarge. She is also the author of Other Side of the Pain, which talked about her struggles in her marriage to her children's father and also documented her children's rise to fame as well as their struggles under the glare of the spotlight.

Etterlene DeBarge
Etterlene Louise Abney

October 13, 1935 (age 83)
ResidenceLos Angeles, California, U.S.
OccupationSinger, songwriter
Years active1950–present
Robert DeBarge, Sr.
(m. 1953; div. 1974)

George Rodriguez
(m. 1980)
Children10 (See below)
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • piano


Early years

Born Etterlene Abney on October 13, 1935 in Royal Oak, Michigan, she was one of twelve children and has a twin sister. When she was a child, her family moved to the Brewster-Douglass housing projects, located in the east side of Detroit. In 1952, she met a former Army veteran named Robert DeBarge, Sr., a man of French and English descent from Cicero, Illinois.[1] Robert DeBarge's grandfather, Arthur DeBarge, immigrated from France.[2] The couple married in 1953 settling in a predominantly black section of Detroit, where they had ten children. In 1972, the DeBarges moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Etterlene's brother, Bishop William Charles Abney, Jr., pastored Bethel Pentecostal Church. Etterlene divorced Robert DeBarge sometime in 1974. She later married a second time, to George Rodriguez, a Puerto Rican, leading to the erroneous rumor that the DeBarge family was half-Hispanic. However, contrary to popular belief, they are not of Latino descent.


Robert and Etterlene DeBarge had ten children during their 21-year marriage:


Etterlene has dozens of grandchildren, several of whom are involved in the entertainment industry. They include:

Switch and DeBarge

In 1975, Bobby and Greg Williams left Grand Rapids to start the funk-soul band, Switch (Tommy later joined the band), which first went by the moniker, First Class. Eventually signing with Motown Records in 1978, the group's debut album, yielding the hit "There'll Never Be," sold over one million copies and started the DeBarge musical dynasty. In 1979, Bunny, Marty, Randy, El and James signed with Motown as the DeBarges and released their debut album two years later under the guidance of Bobby and Tommy, who left Switch that year to begin mentoring their siblings. A year later, in 1982, the group, now known as DeBarge, found fame with the singles, "I Like It" and "All This Love." They would go on to have several more hit singles, such as "Time Will Reveal," "Love Me in a Special Way" and "Rhythm of the Night," reaching R&B superstardom by the mid-1980s. Younger brother Chico became a solo success first with his 1986 dance-pop single, "Talk to Me," and then after a stint in prison, with more soulful singles such as "Iggin' Me" and "No Guarantees." El DeBarge also found solo fame in the 1980s with singles such as "Who's Johnny" and "Love Always" and collaborations on hits by Quincy Jones, Tone Loc and Fourplay. Etterlene's youngest son Darrell released his first solo album in 2005 continuing on the DeBarge name as various members continue solo careers.


In 1991, with the help of her famous children, Etterlene, a religious woman, released a gospel album, Back on Track, under the DeBarge Family moniker. In 2005, she released a second gospel album, A City Called Heaven. She is affectionately known to her grandchildren as "Mama D". She currently enjoys her grandchildren and lives in California.


  1. ^ Robert DeBarge
  2. ^ Arthur DeBarge
1935 in Michigan

Events from the year 1935 in Michigan.

Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects

The Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects (officially named the Frederick Douglass Homes, and alternately named Frederick Douglass Projects, Frederick Douglass Apartments, Brewster-Douglass Homes, and Brewster-Douglass Projects) were the largest residential housing project owned by the city of Detroit, located in the Brush Park section on the east side of Detroit, Michigan, near the Chrysler Freeway, Mack Avenue and St. Antoine Street. The housing project is named after Frederick Douglass, African American abolitionist, author, and reformer.

The complex was home to such notable figures as Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard, Lily Tomlin, Loni Love, and Etterlene DeBarge, during their early years. The claymation animated series, The PJs, was based on the housing project, as well. It was also seen in a screenshots for the movie Dreamgirls, as well as D12's debut music video. Brewster-Douglass is also mentioned in the first verse of singer/drag queen RuPaul's musical hit Supermodel (You Better Work).

Bunny DeBarge

Etterlene "Bunny" DeBarge (born March 15, 1955) is an American soul singer–songwriter, best known as the lone female sibling of the Motown family group DeBarge. She is also best known as the lead vocalist behind the classic R&B ballad, "A Dream" from the group's In a Special Way album and is also the co-writer of the group's 1982 breakthrough hit, "I Like It" and the number-one hit, "Time Will Reveal".


DeBarge was an American musical recording group composed of several members of the DeBarge family, a family of musical talent often compared to the Jackson family. In addition to various solo projects completed by members of the family, DeBarge was active between 1979 to 1989. As an R&B group, they enjoyed popularity throughout that time with a popular musical sound that has been compared to a mix pop-oriented whose repertoire included R&B, soul, funk, and pop music. The group originally consisted of Mark, Randy, and El. Bunny, James, and Bobby joined later.

DeBarge released six studio albums, four of them with Motown's Gordy Records: The DeBarges (1981), All This Love (1982), In a Special Way (1983), and Rhythm of the Night (1985). The latter became the group's best-selling album and garnered the single "Rhythm of the Night", which hit #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it their highest charting single in the United States. DeBarge entered its decline in 1986, when Bunny and El were offered solo deals with Motown and departed the group, and DeBarge was dropped from Motown soon afterward.

The remaining members signed with Stripe Horse Records, an independent label, in 1987, which released their final studio album, Bad Boys. The group continued to perform for an additional two years, with Chico DeBarge joining the group in 1988. Two members of the group, brothers Bobby and Chico were arrested for drug trafficking in 1989. Legal issues, compounded with the ever changing musical tastes of the public led to the group's dispersion in 1989, 10 years after its inception.

DeBarge family

The DeBarge family is a family of rhythm and blues artists from Detroit and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

List of Unsung episodes

The following is an episode list for Unsung, a TV One biography and documentary television series about R&B, soul, jazz, gospel, rap and reggae recording artists from the 1960s through the 1990s. As of July 15, 2018, 145 episodes have aired across 12 seasons.

October 13

October 13 is the 286th day of the year (287th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 79 days remaining until the end of the year.

Randy DeBarge

William Randall DeBarge (born August 6, 1958) is an American R&B/soul singer and bass guitarist, best known for being one of the original members of the popular Motown singing family group DeBarge. Randy is also known for singing co-lead and penning lyrics with brother El on the group's first hit, "I Like It" (1982).

Reflection (Fifth Harmony album)

Reflection is the debut studio album by American girl group Fifth Harmony. It was released on January 30, 2015, by Syco Music and Epic Records. Lyrically, the album discusses themes of female-empowerment, romance, heartbreak and confidence, and this pop album showcases synthpop, "grungy" hip hop and R&B sounds. The album features guest appearances by American rappers Kid Ink and Tyga, as well as American singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor, and collaborations with several producers including Ori Kaplan, Dr. Luke and Stargate.The album received generally positive reviews from contemporary music critics. Commercially, the album entered the Billboard 200 at number five, earning the group their first top-five entry in the United States with sales of 80,000 equivalent units—62,000 of those coming from traditional album sales. Reflection entered the top twenty in the United Kingdom, after peaking at number eighteen, and charted within the top ten in countries such as Canada, New Zealand and Spain. The album charted within the top thirty in ten other countries. To further promote the album, the group embarked on their first headlining concert tour, the Reflection Tour, visiting the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe.

Reflection was supported by three singles: its lead single, "Boss", released on July 7, 2014, followed by "Sledgehammer" premiering on October 28, 2014, and "Worth It" featuring Kid Ink, the last single, was released on March 3, 2015. All three singles made appearances in the top fifty of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking individually at 43, 40 and 12, respectively. "Worth It" became the album's most successful single, charting in the top ten in thirteen countries. In the United States, both "Boss" and "Sledgehammer" achieved platinum certification, while "Worth It" was certified triple platinum. As of February 2016, the album has sold 155,000 pure copies in the United States. In February 2016, Reflection was certified Gold, and in December 2017, Platinum by Recording Industry Association of America for combined sales, streaming and track equivalent units of 1 million.

The Audition (album)

The Audition is a demo album by American singer and songwriter Janelle Monáe, self-released and self-financed in 2003. Some versions of the album were later entitled Metropolis: Point Zero.

The album features thirteen songs and one instrumental, "I Won't Let Go". Before signing with Bad Boy Records, she distributed the album independently under the Wondaland Arts Society label, out of the Atlanta boarding house she was living in at the time. There are fewer than 500 physical copies in existence. The album features a cover of the song "Time Will Reveal" by DeBarge, which was later featured along with "Lettin' Go" on the Purple Ribbon All-Stars' 2005 studio album Got Purp? Vol. 2.

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