Watch: Betty Wright’s Memorial Service Will Be Broadcast Via Livestream
Michael Ochs Archives

The life of legendary vocalist Betty Wright will be remembered and honored Saturday, May 23 at 12 p.m. ET. While the Miami funeral is private, Wright’s family invites fans of the “Clean Up Woman” singer to watch via livestream. 

Florida Memorial University and WPLG-Local 10 teamed up to broadcast Wright’s service on local10.com, the news channel reports.  

According to the obituary, fellow Liberty City Miami native Luther Campbell is slated to offer expressions and Joss Stone will sing “Amazing Grace.”

While some know Bessie “Betty Wright” Norris’s soul hits, she started singing as a child in The Echoes of Joy, her family’s gospel group. Wright landed her first deal after being spotted singing “Summertime” in a record shop. By age 14, she released her first album, My First Time Around, featuring the hit, “Girls Can’t Do What The Guys Do,” which Beyoncé later sampled for “Upgrade U.”

In 1972, Wright’s biggest hit—the Grammy-nominated “Clean Up Woman” hit No. 2 on the R&B chart. Three years later she earned the Best R&B Song Grammy for “Where Is the Love?” Wright had been nominated for a Grammy six times.

Betty Wright, circa 1973. (Photo: Gilles Petard/Redferns)

During the soul singer’s accomplished career, she toured with Bob Marley and James Brown and worked with Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan, Erykah Badu, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Jackson, Lil Wayne, Angie Stone, Joss Stone and Beyoncé. And Wright was reportedly Destiny Child’s vocal coach. 

When Wright passed away, Kelly Rowland posted a photo on Instagram of the icon sandwiched between her and Beyoncé. “Rest in peace to the woman who gave us ultimate soul and meant every word when she sang @therealbettywright! My condolences to her family! I am praying for you all during this time!” Rowland wrote.

Wright, the first woman to hit gold with an indie album, was sampled by Mary J. Blige, Chance The Rapper, SWV and more, Yahoo! Entertainment reports. She even sued Color Me Badd for illegally sampling her live performance of “Tonight Is the Night” for their megahit “I Wanna Sex You Up.”

By the 2000s, the “No Pain, No Gain” vocalist was known for mentoring and coaching artists. Her obit mentions that Wright launched a “home-based writing camp called The M.O.S.T.,” which gave young talent the opportunity to explore their abilities.

In 2011, Wright released her final album. Betty Wright: The Movie, which was a joint project with The Roots. She earned a Best Traditional R&B Performance Grammy nod for “Surrender,” from that album.  

Wright died on May 10 at her home in Miami from a rare form of blood cancer. She was 66 years old.

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