Making her first public appearance since her recent DUI arrest in Arizona earlier this year, pop diva supreme Diana Ross appeared before 900 guests at Washington D.C.’s 19th Annual Communications Awards Dinner of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters late last week, reports PEOPLE.
Ross, 58, stepped out to receive a lifetime achievement award from her longtime mentor, Motown founder Berry Gordy. Other honorees included Muhammad Ali and LL Cool J.
Dressed to kill in a red velvet off-the-shoulder gown with a taffeta wrap stuffed with silk flowers — and dripping in diamonds — Ross was emotional and upbeat.
Although she declined to discuss the DUI incident, Ross did answer a question about whether she had safety concerns about visiting the nation’s capital during wartime.
“Yes and no,” she said. “It’s an interesting time to be celebrating and I wondered if they were going to move this to another time. I’m happy to be here. I’m honored because it’s a wonderful gift to get a lifetime achievement award — and I’m so young! Yesterday was my birthday — and I was 38 again.”
During the awards ceremony, Gordy described the first time he saw Ross, whom he recalled as “the skinny one with big eyes” with “a nasal voice, but it didn’t matter. Every note she sang, every move she made, said, ‘I am a star. Discover me.'”
In other Ross news, this spring she will publish her second memoir, “Upside Down: Wrong Turns, Right Turns and the Road Ahead,” the Associated Press reports. (Her first book was 1993’s “Memoirs of a Sparrow,” and it was a bestseller.)
In the new book, according to a statement from ReganBooks, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, she will offer “a tough look at the recent heartaches in her life,” including her drunken-driving arrest, the breakup of her marriage and her disastrous Supremes reunion tour.