Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Congo Square (Teena Marie album)Image via Wikipedia

Mary Christine Brockert born (March 5, 1956-December 26, 2010). Teena grew up in Oakwood, California on the Westside of Los Angeles an African-American community. Teena’s godmother exposed Teena to Motown,
she was singing Harry Belafonte music by the age of 2. Marie had an acting role on The Beverly Hillbillies, credited as Tina Marie Brockert. In 1976 Teena Marie signed with Motown, and was spotted by Rick James and guitarist Paul C Saenz who became her mentors. Rick James produced “Wild and Peaceful” for Diana Ross, but he prefer to
work with Teena Marie. On this album “I’m Just a Sucker for Your Love” scored Teena Marie her first top ten on the R&B black singles chart.Teena Marie’s picture was not on this album, because the record executives thought that black audiences would not buy an album by a white artist. Radio programmers assumed Marie was African-American.
When she preformed her debut hit with Rick James on Soul Train in 1979, I know those radio programmers were surprised. Teena Marie’s second
album “Lady T” she was on the cover. Her third album “Irons in The Fire” Teena Marie wrote and produced herself. Teena Marie and Rick 
James duet “Fire and Desire” is one of my favorites. In 2004 Teena Marie and Rick James preformed this duet on BET Awards, which was their last appearance together Rick James died that same year.

Teena Marie got into a big legal battle with Motown over her contract and disagreements about releasing her new material. This resulted in“The Brockert Initiative”, which makes it illegal for a record company to keep an artist under contract without releasing new material for
that artist. With this new law she helped artist like Luther Vandross, Mary Jane Girls and a lot of other artist get out of their contracts.

After Teena Marie left Motown she signed with Epic Records 1983. She was turning out hits like “Shadow Boxing”, “Fix It”, “Lovergirl” and Casanova Brown”. Teena Marie was one of the first and only artists of her time to rap on her single “Square Biz”; she is regarded as something of a pioneer in helping to bring hip-hop to the mainstream.
Her hip-hop portion of that song she mentions some of her
inspirations: Sarah Vaughn, Johann Sebastian Bach, Shakespeare, Maya Angelou and Nikki Giovanni, “just to name a few”. This is my all time favorite song of Teena Marie’s. Teena Marie took a 14 year sabbatical
from the spotlight, she released a comeback album La Dona in 2004 was gold certified her top selling album of her career and Sapphire in 2006.

Teena Marie passed away at her home in Pasadena California of natural causes. I was introduced to Teena Marie’s music by my Aunt in 1979. I
had the pleasure of seeing Tenna Marie perform at the Circle Star Theater and Oakland Coliumseum in the early 80s. Every time I saw her she was so soulful a could she sing. Teena Marie had a voice that was unique like no other her sound will be missed.


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