"R&B singer Teena Marie, whose hits in the 1980s included `I Need Your Lovin` and `Lovergirl`, has died at the age of 54, police said.
Marie was found dead at her home in the Los Angeles suburb of Pasadena on Sunday afternoon, according to a police spokesman.
Although she was white, Marie grew up in a predominantly black Los Angeles neighborhood and began singing professionally when she was eight.
After graduating from high school she signed with Motown Records, the label which was home to contemporaries such as Diana Ross and `The Jackson 5.`"
Soul singer Teena Marie, known as the "Ivory Queen of Soul", passed away at age 54. Teena Marie was no Pat Boone or Vanilla Ice who shamelessly copied black musical genres and marketed it to a white audience.
Teena was a genuine soul sister, and she had a love and respect for soul music that was manifest in her heartfelt delivery of her songs.
R & B has always been my favorite genre, and growing up I listening almost exclusively to black music stations. When I first hear Teena Marie on the radio, I didn`t realize that the new Motown star was white. Soul music lovers, black and white,immediately fell in love with the soulful diva.
Teena was often overshadowed by her mentor, Rick James, but today the spotlight is solely on her. Rest in peace Teena, soul music lovers of all races mourn your passing.
Follow Robert Paul Reyes on Twitter: http://twitter.com/robertpaulreyes