Thank you Izora for being a ton of fun
From Allen White in San
For many, “Camelot” was San Francisco’s Castro District in a period from
about 1977 through 1981. As important as Harvey Milk was to the political
world, the incredible Sylvester was making an equally powerful mark as an
Sylvester were Izora Rhodes and Martha Wash. Called the “Two Tons of Fun,”
and later, “The Weather Girls,” they were more than backup singers to
Sylvester, they were back up singers to our world.
Thursday afternoon, September 16, 2004, Martha Wash announced on her
Izora Rhodes has died.
Dear Friends, Family, and Fellow Artists
I am sad to break this news to you, but my former partner Izora Armstead
passed away earlier today after a lengthy illness. My friend Jeanie
Tracey was with her just before her transition. A powerful voice has
been stilled here, only to sing on a bigger and grander stage beyond the
clouds. She definitely will be missed.
Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers.
In the late 1970s, what was called the gay liberation movement brought
tens of thousands to San Francisco’s Castro district. Certainly one of
many compelling reasons was the music of Sylvester and those incredible
singers, Izora Rhodes and Martha Wash.
It is fair to believe no one who attended a Castro Street Fair in those
years will forget their music. Memories of 30 years ago still live in the
Sylvester album, “Living Proof,” recorded at the San Francisco Opera
In later years, being part of that history was to recall these women,
reborn as the “Weather Girls," introducing “It’s Raining Men” at a dance
club called the Oasis, across from a bar called Febe’s on Folsom Street.
For every gay man who lived in San Francisco at the time, these were the
stars of a very special, very unique world. Izora Rhodes and Martha Wash
gave the world their music. A community returned that gift with their
The story of Martha and Izora began in 1976 when the fellow choir members
began gaining notoriety in the San Francisco gospel group N.O.W. (News Of
The World). The angelic ladies were about to meet the devilish Sylvester
in what would be a career-changing event for all involved. The rest was
history, which is described vividly in the
As the world learns of the death of Izora Rhodes, today with her married
name, Izora Armstead, there is a respect for an incredible time when
people did extraordinary things that continue to leave their mark on the
lives of many for generations.
Thank you Izora, Martha, Sylvester and Charlene, Yvette and Jeanie and the
many who continue to live enveloped in a spirit with such meaning that we
shall never forget.