Nekesa Mumbi Moody

AP
LOS ANGELES -- Teena Marie, who made history as Motown's first white act but developed a lasting legacy with her silky soul pipes and with hits like "Lovergirl," ''Square Biz," and "Fire and Desire" with mentor Rick James, has died. She was 54.

The confirmation came from a publicist, Jasmine Vega, who worked with Teena Marie on her last album. Her manager, Mike Gardner, also confirmed her death to CNN.
Teena Marie, died, obit,
Teena Marie, performing here at a jazz festival in New Orleans on May 1, died on Sunday.

Teena Marie, known as the "Ivory Queen of Soul," was certainly not the first white act to sing soul music, but she was arguably among the most gifted and respected, and was thoroughly embraced by the black audience.

She was first signed to the legendary Motown label back in 1979 at age 19, working with James, with whom she would have long, turbulent but musically magical relationship.

The cover of her album, "Wild and Peaceful," did not feature her image, with Motown apparently fearing backlash by audiences if they found out the songstress with the dynamic voice was white.

But Marie notched her first hit, "I'm A Sucker for Your Love," and was on her way to becoming one of R&B's most revered queens. During her tenure with Motown, the singer-songwriter and musician produced passionate love songs and funk jam songs like "Need Your Lovin'," ''Behind the Groove" and "Ooh La La La."

Marie had a daughter and had toured in recent years after overcoming an addiction to prescription drugs.

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Comment by Chuck & PJ Radio Show on January 27, 2011 at 4:50am

She was a gifted lady!

May she rest in peace.

~A.Williams

Comment by Rogenia Neal on December 30, 2010 at 7:33pm
WOW IT'S NOT EVER A GOOD THING TO HEAR SOMEONE HAS PASSED, RIP TEENA YOU WERE AN INFLUENCE IN MY LIFE AND BEING THE MUSIC NUT I AM I REALLY DUG YOUR MASTERFUL AND SOULFUL SOUND MAY YOUR FAMILY HAVE THE STRENGTH TO CARRY ON WITHOUT YOU, KNOWING YOUR IN GOOD HANDS WITH OUR GOD AND LORD AND SAVIOR AGAIN RIP.
Comment by Diane Witter on December 27, 2010 at 2:14pm
RIP to the very talented & soulful Ms Teena Marie many prayers and blessings to her family.
Comment by kindred the family soul on December 26, 2010 at 10:26pm
Our very first tour was with Ms.Teena Marie and she treated us with so much dignity we are forever indebted to her.May she rest in peace and her music live on and continue to inspire future generations.

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