Last night’s Verzuz battle pitting The Isley Brothers against Earth, Wind & Fire really had only one winner: the audience.
The legendary groups served up classic song after classic song and featured Steve Harvey in full excited-host mode.
But it was 79-year-old Ron Isley serving up GrandZaddy vibes with his gray beard that really got social media talking.
“I need this verzuz to be over. My wife is speaking of Ron Isley in ways I’m not familiar,” comedian Kev On Stage wrote. The comedian later shared a photo of himself with a grey beard photoshopped on his own face.
In a particularly funny take, one user cast Isley in a film: “Ron Isley is what God would look like in a Kenya Barris production.”
“Ron Isley is the star of every one of my groupchats right now,” actress Gabrielle Union wrote. “Folks ready to risk it alllllllll.”
In one viral post, fans were reminded that Isley’s handsomeness crosses generational lines. “Ron Isley is an old ohio player who turns 80 next month,” tweeted Brandon Caldwell, and has you, your aunt, your mom and maybe your granny depending on generation wanting to throw panny drawls his way tonight.”
Music historian Nelson George brought facts: “When people talk about Sam, Marvin, Otis and Al as the greatest male soul me, folks forget Ron Isley because he was in a group. His vocal range, distinctiveness and sensuality are amazing. Dude is a peer of Sam Cooke and still sounds good!”
Verzuz creators Swizz Beatz and Timbaland haven’t released the official viewing numbers of the Instagram event, but the iconic music from two of Black history’s finest made for a real celebration of passion and purpose this Easter night.
The event closed with The Isleys’ “That Lady” versus EWF’s “September,” and the groups also sang together. The event was the first to air on the Triller platform and also featured The Isleys sharing a video for their new song, “Friends and Family,” which features Snoop Dogg.