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Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Councilmember Bernard C. Parks honored Florence LaRue, the six-time Grammy winning musician, actress and humanitarian today in the John Ferraro Council Chambers at Los Angeles City Hall.Similar to a bottle of wine, Florence LaRue seems to get better with time. She is most known for her role as the original female member of The 5th Dimension (Fifth Dimension), a multiple Grammy-winning musical group whose repertoire includes pop, R&B, soul and Jazz.
The 5th Dimension has released over a dozen hit albums and received 14 gold records, 6 platinum records and 6 Grammy Awards. They were best-known during the late 1960's and early 1970's for popularizing hits such as "Up, Up and Away", "Wedding Bell Blues", Stoned Soul Picnic", "California My Way", and Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In", as well as the eponymous "Fifth Dimension", and "The Magic Garden" LP recordings. The original group was together for only ten years as many of the members left for various reasons but Florence LaRue, the catalyst has been the center of The 5th Dimension throughout the groups entire 45 years of existence.
LaRue juggles her roles as actress, entertainer, and humanitarian with them same electric perfection she devotes to ballads such as, "One Less Bell" which bears The 5th Dimension trademark.
The group has headlined in both Las Vegas and Atlantic City regularly and continues to tour extensively throughout the rest of the United States and Europe. A portion of the group's itinerary includes concerts with prestigious symphony orchestras and a family oriented show at both Disneyland in California and Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida. If that isn't enough to demonstrate Florence LaRue's stardom, she has even performed at the White House four times in her career and traveled to Eastern Europe on a state department sponsored tour.
I asked Florence LaRue how she originally got involved in the music business and she said that she originally she wanted to be an actress. She was from a small town Glenside, Pennsylvania and her Mom moved the family to California because school was more affordable. LaRue graduated from California State College and received her degree during her first year as a member of The 5th Dimension. LaRue was actually discovered by a photographer that saw her sing during the talent portion of the Ms. Black California pageant, which LaRue indisputably won.
Notably, the American Society of Jewelry Executives named Florence LaRue one of the ten most beautiful women in the world and today her health and spirits are better than ever. I asked Florence LaRue how she stays in such great shape and continues to look so youthful and vibrant and she shared that she loves participating in marathons particularly the Agoura 10K. She also said that she takes care of her mental and spiritual health and is writing a book on the subject.
"The 5th Dimension personality", LaRue shared, "is a tradition of a good clean life. We like to present a persona that people can get hope as far as their future. I like to encourage young ladies to look like ladies. Speak without being vulgar. If you act like a lady, you will get treated like a lady".
LaRue said that we all have our faults but she tries to encourage people. Florence LaRue is a lady and she said you don't curse around her and you no better than to do drugs around her. That is how she survived all these years in the music business. She stayed clean and always carried herself like a true lady.
Many people don't know but it was The 5th Dimension style that made it trendy for groups to dress alike. We see that trend alive and well even in today's music as artist such as P. Diddy are known have his artist dress alike during music videos and performances.
I asked Florence LaRue how she felt about the music industry right now and she said, "I think the music industry right now is very exciting. No I don't like it all. I think that rap first of all is not music. I think rap is rhythm and I believe the adults are responsible for rap music because one, they took music out of the schools. So the young people didn't have instruments to learn. They didn't have choir that we had. I took violin in fourth grade. Many of the schools don't have a music classes for the young people so they use what they have and that is rhythm. They talk about what their life experiences are and as I said a lot of it is influenced by the adults. So adults have to take responsibility for music of today. I think it's wonderful that the young people have the chance to experiment with their music but they just need guidance. For instance, if we have a society where ladies act like ladies and men treat women like ladies then you will have music that reflects that but when you have young men who are dressed with their pants hanging down and underwear showing, it's going to reflect in the music. I love young people, I really do but we have to give young people a choice". LaRue feels that young people are missing "happy music". She feels that entertainers have lost their sense of responsibility.
Florence LaRue learned responsibility and strength from her parents. She said that too many people are afraid and terrified of the world instead of looking at what is positive. That is why LaRue is an advocate sponsor of charities and giving back to the community that ultimately shaped her to become who she is.
"I do not need to go out to the rest of the world. Charity begins at home". LaRue has given countless hours to charity most notably The Gambia, West Africa. But LaRue says that people need to give back their family before they run out looking to help a stranger. Home is where the heart is. She says that it is not even about financial help but about spiritual help. LaRue says that in order to give back we don't have to leave the country because our family and friends need us at home.
Just last week, Councilmember Bernard C. Parks honored LaRue, in the John Ferraro Council Chambers at Los Angeles City Hall. "I would like to congratulate Florence LaRue on the occasion of being honored for her impact on the entertainment industry; and to thank her for being an exemplary role model to people both inside and outside of the entertainment industry," Councilmember Bernard C. Parks said.
"I humbly thank Councilman Parks for this proclamation and I am honored to be among those who have received this tribute," stated Florence LaRue. "My career has led me all over the world and I have been to every state in the Union, and California is the best! Especially L.A.!" she continued.
Florence LaRue has garnered attention for her work on the small-screen and also on stage. LaRue performed in Broadway's Tony award winning musical, "Ain't Misbehavin." Renowned as an authority on success and beauty, LaRue draws from her many experiences and turns them into delightful stories that are both stirring and inspirational to audiences at conventions, community events and churches.
It's no coincidence Florence LaRue has had a successful career for over 45 years. She remembers her priorities, "God, family and show business, in that order". LaRue says that if you study your craft and continue to learn you will always be ready for any situation. "It's a business and attitude can sometimes get you further than talent".
As far as The 5th Dimension of today, LaRue shares that she has four highly talented people. She feels the group is more spontaneous compared to the original group which was more instructive. Although she plans to continue with The 5th Dimension, LaRue is excited about taking a leap as a solo artist. LaRue is constantly working trying to get better as she still takes voice lessons. She is heavily involved with The Church on the Way, in Van Nuys California as she enjoys singing in the choir. For more information visit www.florencelarue.com