The Rapidian Home

Remembering Vudu - Victoria Upton 6/22/1955 - 9/5/2018

She was a fierce supporter of the arts, local business and social equity who impacted the lives of many in her community.

"Victoria left this world in the early hours of Wednesday, September 5, 2018, at her home in Grand Rapids surrounded by her beloved family. Victoria was born on June 22, 1955, in Sweetwater, Tennessee. She studied art at Kendall College of Art and Design at Ferris State University and humanities at Michigan State University and Western Michigan University. Victoria was a gifted painter, accomplished keyboard player, devoted advocate and talented publisher. She founded Women's LifeStyle Magazine in 1998 as a positive force to uplift women. She was a fierce supporter of the arts, local business and social equity who impacted the lives of many in her community." This is an excerpt from Upton's obituary published on

Victoria programmed live shows Fridays on 88.1FM WYCE beginning in 2003. She also served on the board for the Community Media Center.

Volunteers from the station share memories of Victoria:

"Every time I hear this song I will think of Vicki. She used to be on Fridays at 6pm and would spin this right after we wrapped fund drives.
She really was just a powerhouse of a human, unforgettable." - Nicole "LaRae" Leach

"I remember Victoria as always being upbeat and positive. She had great taste in music (especially R and B and Jazz). She apparently did a lot of performing when she was younger and at one point showed me pictures of her days on the stage (I think she sang when she was a young girl with a family band). When she told me her diagnosis, I must have looked horrified because she said “we are going to beat this”. I ran into her at the Art museum a couple of years ago and she was doing a photo shoot. I think you can contact her magazine for pictures(I don’t have any). When we saw each other it was very uplifting to see her and catch up. She looked healthy and happy then. I will try to remember her that way. That is what she would want." - Nanette "O'Connell" Kerwick

"Her first timeslot was the early Friday morning show and she had been my mentor. After she had been on air for a bit, we were talking about on-air goofs. She told me that she had played a song that was perfect for the early morning "The Cock is Crowing". Only thing was, when she opened the mic to do the backsell, she accidentally announced it as "The Cock is Growing" (also good for the morning). We laughed a lot about how easy it is to slip and how our humanity really shows through as we program live, volunteer radio. Her positivity and enthusiasm were so much a part of what made her humanity shine. I was glad to have had her in my life for a while." - Janet "Lee" Zahn

"I don't have a particular story of Victoria, but I do want to share something about her. As a new programmer at WYCE, Victoria was someone I latched onto to show me the ropes. She wasn't officially training me, I had already gone through all that, but she was always gracious and welcoming when I would visit during her show. I learned a lot from Vudu and I wish her peace in her passing." - Rebecca "Ruth" Behrens

See Victoria's performance during Failure Lab LaughFest 2016 here.

From Vudu's Programmer Profile:

"What is that voodoo you do? My show is like having your own theme music. You'll enjoy music that's fun, funky, soulful and upbeat blended with wacky, thoughtful and provocative. During my three hours shift, along with operating the controls, answering the phone and pulling requested CD's from our library, I'm on my feet moving to the music and I invite you to groove along. So, put your hands in the air and wave them like you just don't care. Come on party people!

A few favs: New Music! Local bands, songs with lots of syncopation, percussion and funky bass chops with an infectous groove, Rockin' Out, Little Feat, Santana, Sonia Dada, Greyboy Allstars, Umphrey's McGee, Aretha, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, K.D. Lang, Grant Green, Jon Cleary, Etta James, Jimmy Smith, Zydeco, Reggae, singer-songwriter tunes, Bootsie Collins, Funkedelic, intensity, Lucinda Williams, Finger Pickin', Nina Simone, Los Mocosos, Galactic, Particle, Michael Franti, passionate vocals, Phil Collins, Collin Haye, Remixes!, ELP, Raul Midon, Leroy Bell, Johnny "Guitar" Watson: The Funk Anthology, World Beat from Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Germany, Africa, Japan, Australia, SItar, Egyptian rhythms, Afrocelt Sound System, Jazz Greats, Vinyl including: Stax, Motown, King Records, Checker, Chess, Sugar Hill, Blue Note, Verve, Polydor, RCA, Piano Greats like George Winston, Dr. John, James Booker, Gene Harris, Mary Lou Williams, Albert Ammons and Memphis Slim; retro soul, techno, electronica."

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.