RIP Teena Marie ~ Dead at 54
Another musical genius has died. When I got the sad news that Superstar Teena Marie had passed away, I felt compelled to pay my own tribute to this great legend. Most people will agree that when this sultry, soul-stirring singer burst onto the musical scene, many of us couldn’t believe our ears. Her contribution will be forever etched into the minds of those who truly loved her and appreciated her rare and raw talent. Even though she was a gifted singer-songwriter and musician, she kept things real. Most well-known musicians today are both untouchable and unreachable, but Teena was different.
Not too long ago, I was fortunate to see her inspiring and heartfelt story among other great talents, which are showcased on TV One’s Unsung. It made me appreciate Teena even more.
Though she was highly gifted, she was still not exempt from many personal struggles which kept her fighting to remain relevant in the entertainment world’s fast-moving trends; nevertheless, she kept working on her craft. In addition, she had to overcome the challenges that many young, unseasoned musicians often face — the never-ending greed of those who surround them.
We’ll always honor Teena for her contribution to humanity, her great talent, her tenacity, and how she unselfishly spread her wonderful musical gift around, keeping it real. My prayers go out to her family and friends who cared deeply for her and knew her intimately.
R.I.P. Teena. Your songs will always be in our hearts. ~ Jacqueline
CNN Report …
Teena Marie, a celebrated R&B singer-songwriter, was found dead Sunday at her California home, her manager said.
Born Mary Christine Brockert in Santa Monica, California, the 54-year-old artist famously paired with late funk legend Rick James and was nominated four times for a Grammy Award, according to her official website.
Marie was found dead by her daughter after apparently dying in her sleep, manager Mike Gardner said.
“Teena was a black voice trapped in a white body,” said Cathy Hughes, founder of Radio One, a broadcasting company that targets African-American and urban listeners. “I would always tell her that she was one of the greatest vocalists of our time.”
Among her songs were “Lovergirl,” “Portuguese Love,” “Ooo La La La,” and “I’m a Sucker for Your Love.”
While no cause of death has been released, the singer’s publicist Lynn Jeter said that Marie suffered a grand mal seizure — a neurological event, marked by loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions, according to the Mayo Clinic — a month ago.
“Luckily, someone was there,” Jeter said of that seizure. “The ambulance took her to the hospital, and on the way she had another seizure.”
The publicist said that she had a “great” conversation on Saturday with Marie, who told her that she was excited about heading to Atlanta to perform this week — in what would have been her first performance since the seizure.
Marie sang under various record labels, including Motown, Epic, Stax Records and Cash Money Classics, since bursting on the scene as a 19-year-old, according to her website. Her last studio album, Congo Square, featured several collaborations.
Eddie Levert, founder of the vocal group The O’Jays, praised Marie as both a singer and mother.
“There are a lot of black people who swore by her and believed in her, as far as her music was concerned,” he said. “She was a good mom, and to me, that is saying a lot.”
CNN Senior Political Contributor Roland S. Martin contributed to this report.