*When the shocking news of multi-Grammy winner Natalie Cole’s death began to reverberate nationally and internationally on New Year’s Eve, colleagues, friends and fans alike were disheartened, to say the least.
As fellow recording artists and musicians began to lament the loss of one of world’s greatest singers, R&B singer and socialite, Norwood Young, a very close friend of Cole, was distraught in silence.
However, Young talked exclusively with EURweb.com’s Lee Bailey recently about his (Young’s) relationship with Cole, 65, who died of pulmonary arterial hypertension, which led to heart failure.
“There’s so many things that I could said about my friend Natalie Cole,” said an emotional Young via phone. “She was the most authentic, sincere and gracious woman that anyone could know. She had a consistent and wonderful, wonderful spirit.”
While Cole’s funeral will be held today (01-11-16) at West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles, Young will not be in attendance.
“I want to remember Natalie as I knew her in life, and that was through laughter, smiles, and hugs,” said Young. “So those are the joyful memories that I want to have of her. I can’t and I won’t have any memories of Natalie that’s connected with sorrow. She knew how much I loved her, and she showed me how much she loved me and that’s what I choose to remember.”
Young said he first met Cole almost 20 years when he invited her to one of his legendary parties at his house in Hancock Park, an elite and storied section of Los Angeles. Interestingly, Young’s house was on the same street that Natalie’s family, headed by the iconic Nat King Cole, lived on five decades ago. The Coles integrated the all-white sector of Hancock Park, but were rebuffed by residents. Crosses were burned on the family’s property.
Likewise, said Young, he was not welcomed in the mid-1990s, but, nevertheless, became a socialite whose parties were attended by some of Hollywood’s most famous movers and shakers. Young was always in the media’s limelight, especially for the 17 naked white statues of King David that adorned his property. Needless to say, the neighbors didn’t like his exterior décor. However, L.A. City Beat magazine still crowned him “King of Hancock Park.”
Young’s story is also rooted in his quest as a rising R&B singer, reality star, and author. In 2010, he penned his autobiography, “Getting Back to My Me – The Chronicles of Norwood Young,” which covered his life in “The House,” which was also known as Youngwood Court and the House of Davids. It’s a story of his life that became empty, filled with guilt, drugs, self-destruction, and pain. In some ways, he and Cole walked down similar paths.
Young recalled many years ago, after not communicating with Cole in three or four months that he sent word to her that he was being crowned “The King of Hancock Park” and wanted her to attend the crowning event. Her appearance, said Young, was the first event that she attended following her kidney transplant operation.
“For her to be so unselfish and spend time with me is something that I will never forget,” Young said. “She loved me so much that she wanted to be there for my day, and I loved her so much that I wanted her to know that my day would not have been nearly as big if she wasn’t there. When I heard that she was coming to show me some love, I in turned presented her with an award of strength, honor and perseverance.”
Young said Natalie was extremely moved by the award presented to her because she wasn’t expecting it. She just was there to support his day of being honored.
Lee Bailey, who attended several great parties at Norwood’s place, asked him whether he misses “The House” in Hancock Park that he sold a while back.
“Not at all,” said Young. “I’m grateful when I was there that I had the opportunity to experience Natalie. So I don’t miss the house, not even a little bit. I have so many things that are coming up in my life that would not have happened if I had stayed in that house because everything in my life was associated with that house.”
Yet, on this day’s interview, Young’s thoughts are associated with his beloved friend Natalie Cole.
“I don’t know that I will ever meet, nor ever befriend a legend such as Natalie Cole,” said Young, who said after he appeared on E! Entertainment Television’s “Botched” he has a new nose, and is launching a new fragrance called, ‘I’ll Never Tell.’ “I believe in my heart that God doesn’t make mistakes. She and I were connected because we were both authentic. She was classy and elegant. She was a winner who rose above all the bull crap. I’m so grateful that I’ve spent 18 years of life knowing and loving such a wonderful woman.”