Teena Marie, the R&B singer known as the “Ivory Queen of Soul” for her hits “Lovergirl” and “Square Biz,” died in her Los Angeles home Saturday night. She was 54.
With her powerful, soulful voice and a love of hip-hop, Marie confounded race-based expectations in the predominantly black worlds of R&B and hip-hop of the early '80s and became an inspiration to singers of all races. Mary J. Blige tweeted yesterday that Marie “inspired me vocally as a child. Her songs I sang in the mirror with a hair brush.” Missy Elliott tweeted “Teena created music that is timeless! Songs sung with soul and conviction, a true LEGEND!"
Marie also made a mark in the music industry, fighting for the passage of the Brockert Initiative – Marie's real name was Mary Christine Brockert – which prohibits a record company from keeping an artist under contract while refusing to release their albums.
She will be missed.
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