In the new documentary “Don’t Make Me Over,” legendary artist Dionne Warwick introduces fans to the person behind the music and the legendary tweets.
Warwick (who was feted with the TIFF Special Tribute Award earlier this week) joined directors David Heilbroner and Dave Wooley at the Variety Studio at TIFF, presented by Canada Goose, to talk about how this long-awaited flick which shows her journey from New Jersey gospel choirs to internationally known singer and beyond.
So what did the directors know about Warwick that they couldn’t wait to show the world? “That she is a comedian,” Wooley said. “There have been a thousand words to try and describe Dionne Warwick. For me it comes down to one word: genius.”
The new film isn’t the only way Warwick has been making waves. The singer’s beloved Twitter account launched Warwick back into the public eye, thanks to her frank candor and willingness to ask the hard questions to various celebrities online. For instance, the time she asked Chance the Rapper why he needed to include “the rapper” in his stage name.
Hi, @chancetherapper. If you are very obviously a rapper why did you put it in your stage name? I cannot stop thinking about this.
— Dionne Warwick (@dionnewarwick) December 5, 2020
What has Warwick enjoyed about being online? “I’ve been able to make a brand new set of friends,” Warwick said. “I call them my babies, because that’s what they are. I’ve watched how Twitter has changed the space from the bashing and ugliness that was going on prior to me… Just the presence of a grownup that’s there now; ‘OK kids watch your step.’ And they know that they had to watch their step with me.”
Warwick is first to admit that the lens she turns on Snoop Dogg and Taylor Swift is also pointed at her. And it’s that openness that keeps things polite: “I think the mere fact that I let them also feel that I am nosy, and I want to know and I want answers. And you have the liberty of asking me questions and you will get an answer.”
Warwick has also been an avid online supporter of the #FreeBritney movement. When asked what happened to the possible collaboration between her and Britney Spears, the icon said she just wants good things for her musician friend. “I just want Britney to live her life. Leave her alone, she’s a grown woman with her own aspirations, leave her alone! Mind your own business.”
This freedom to make your own choices echoes throughout the documentary “Don’t Make Me Over.” Thankfully, Warwick is seeing the tides turn for the next generation of artists in the music business.
“They’re taking hold of their own careers,” said Warwick. “They know who they are and they’re not being dictated to, which I think is brilliant, I really do. They’re taking hold of, ‘This is who I am, take it or leave it.'”
Earlier in the festival, Warwick was feted with the TIFF Special Tribute Award.