Teena Marie, LA Legend of '70s and '80s Soul and Funk, Dead at 54 (UPDATE: Watch her Last Interview)
Born in Santa Monica and raised as the white girl with soul, Teena Marie celebrated the 30th anniversary of her recording career last year with a string of lively performances, including one at the L.A. County Fair. The Ivory Queen was Rick James' protege, starred on The Beverly Hillbillies, received 4 Grammy noms, and is one of few female recording artists who wrote, performed, and produced almost all her music in the 1980s. She's L.A.'s Kate Bush in that respect. She died in her sleep in her Pasadena home yesterday.
"Lovergirl" is a flawless 1980s jam.
Last interview with Teena Marie, via BET:
Let's revisit some of her greatest moments:
Teena Marie got an early start tap-dancing on The Beverly Hillbillies.
"Ooh La La La" later put the Fugees on the map when they adapted it for the chorus in "Fu-Gee-La" on The Score.
Performing "I'm A Sucker For Your Love" at The L.A. County Fair this past September.
With Rick James, doing "Fire & Desire" at the BET Awards.
Teena Marie and Faith Evans pontificate.
The infamous Radio One's founder Cathy Hughes once said Teena was a "black voice trapped in a white body." Motown wouldn't even put her face on her first record, which is an interesting reversal of the way things were in the 1950s & '60s.
White, black, or polka dot, "I'm Still In Love."
In 2008, The R&B Foundation honored Lady T with a Pioneer Award.
After putting two records out in the Aughties with (gangsta) label Cash Money, La Doña & Sapphire, Tina Marie released her last album, Congo Square, in 2009, on another legendary label, Stax. Here she visits The View and the crowd & hostess go wild.
"We're shocked and deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Teena Marie. She was one of the most memorable, soulful and unique R&B vocalists to come out of Motown. We send our condolences to Teena's family, the entire Motown family and of course, our dear friend Berry Gordy." --KENNETH GAMBLE & LEON HUFF, legendary R&B songwriting duo