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Thank you Izora for being a ton of fun

From Allen White in San Francisco, California

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 entertainer.

With 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 website that 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 House.

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 love.

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 DiscoMuseum.

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.