Since soul legend Ron Isley broke the news last night that R&B pioneer Teena Marie had died, artists from across the spectrum have spoken out to remember her deep influence on modern pop. Their reactions ranged from puzzlement (Alicia Keys’ “Why???? How???”) to silver-lining optimism (Q-Tip’s hopes “a young singer can take this blueprint she left”.) Check below for a complete rundown on the world’s response to the death of Teena Marie — and our pick for the songs you need to know. It’s a testament to Teena Marie’s influence across genres (and yes, racial boundaries) that such a diverse collection of artists was moved to mourn her. Examples:
Estelle echoed the thoughts of many with a simple RIP.
J. Cole reflected on her passing while watching a video tribute on VH1.
Mary J. Blige issued a stream of tweets that, together, read: “Tina Mari inspired me vocally as a child. Her songs I sang in the mirror with a hair brush. I’m so hurt. I’ll love u forever Tina Mari. Portuguese Love, Casanova Brown, Square Biz, I need your lovin, all of your music will live forever through me. In my heart she’s Tina, So rest in peace Tina, i love u. Every girl that grew up in the hood, with her blasting through the windows, Cars and radio waves can Feel me. Rest in peace Teena Mari. My Love love for u is forever.”
Mark Ronson offered up an appropriate tribute by promising to continue to spin her records.
Questlove (of The Roots), who has turned his Twitter feed into a mini-CNN for Teena’s memory, started it off with an earnest request for fans to “absorb” the work of a woman he called “an amazing work of art”.
And soul-rocker Lenny Kravitz, who woke up to the news of Teena’s death in Paris, recorded a solemn, stone-faced video tribute, saying “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Teena.”
It’s clear she’ll be missed dearly.
Here are a couple of songs that deserve a place in your playlist today.
Teena Marie, “Lovergirl”
Teena Marie, “Out On A Limb”
Rick James & Teena Marie, “Fire & Desire”
Teena Marie, “Sunny Skies”