Like many music fans, I am mourning the passing of one of the true giants of the music industry: Teena Marie (pictured here). She died in her sleep this past Saturday. Passionate, soulful and multi-talented, she came out of Motown Records in the 1970s. From there, she was mentored by the late Rick James, who gained fame with younger audiences through those now legendary and hilarious bits on The Dave Chappelle Show. James helped to create and mold her musical career in the early to mid 1980s.
But beyond all of that, Marie will always be known to fans of Rhythm and Blues (R&B). She knew the history of the music, the people who pioneered the sound, and the ambitions of those who embraced and promoted it. For that, she became one of the few white performers to be widely and enthusiastically loved by African-American audiences. This is why she was called “The Ivory Queen of Soul”. I loved her music. She will be missed.