Teena Marie

Teena Marie
ESSENCE.COM Jun, 04, 2009

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Teena Marie gets live onstage with her musical soulmate, Rick James, during a 70’s performance. The dynmaic duo revolutionized duets with their scorcher “Fire & Desire.”

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Teena Marie, who admits to having an addictive personality, also prides herself in having the courage to steer her life back on track.

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The soul queen strikes a regal pose.

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“I’m a Black artist with White skin,” says Teena Marie. “The Black community always embraced me. At the end of the day people just like and accept good music.”

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Photo of Teena Marie…
UNSPECIFIEDJANUARY 01: Photo of Teena Marie (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Image #: 74001443
License type: Rights-managed
Photographer: Michael Ochs Archives/Stringer
Collection: Michael Ochs Archives
Source: Michael Ochs Archives
Date created: 01 Jan 1980

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Teena Marie, whose latest album is titled “Congo Square,” says she discovered that her father’s family was from New Orleans.

“From the moment I visited New Orleans I felt an affinity for the music, the people and the city,” she says.

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The California native gets funky with it as she produced and wrote 11 of her 13 albums.

“For my second album, I asked Rudolph [the husband of the late Minnie Ripperton] to coproduce my album because I didn’t think I was ready,” she admits. “After that I was on my own.”

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Rick James bows down to Teena Marie as they perform their classic duet “Fire and Desire” at 2002 The Isley Brothers concert.

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Teena Marie and her daughter Aliya arrive at the 47th Annual Grammy Awards at Los Angeles’s Staples Center in 2005.

Aliyah is working on her singing career and guest-stars on her mom’s latest album for the track “Milk and Honey.”

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Teena Marie and Rick James present the award for Best Female R&B Artist on stage at the 2004 BET Awards held at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

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Teena Marie brings down the house at the 7th Annual Stone Soul Picnic held for the first time in Hayward, California.

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Miss Teena performs at the 2005 Essence Festival at the New Orleans Superdome and will return again this year to celebrate the festival’s 15th anniversary.

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Teena Marie sings to Motown legend Berry Gordy at a 50th anniversary celebration of Motown in Detroit, Michigan.

“When Berry Gordy signed me, I was happy to be among a man and on a label who made music legends,” says Teena Marie.

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Teena Marie, left, performs with her daughter at the anniversary celebration.

“She sounds a lot like me but with more of a raspy edge,” says Teena Marie. “My daughter saved my life and I don’t know where I’d be without her.”

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Chi-town welcomes the legendary Teena Marie as she moves the crowd at the House of Blues on July 10, 2008.

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Magic Johnson pays his respects to Teena Marie after enjoying her performance at RnB Live Hollywood on December 10, 2008, at Cinespace in Hollywood, California.

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R&B quartet En Vogue flank Teena Marie at the 17th Annual Trumpet Awards on January 25, 2009, in Atlanta.

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Singers Teena Marie, right, and daughter Alia Rose perform at the Nokia Theatre on February 16, 2009, in Los Angeles.

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Teena Marie and “Everybody Hates Chris” star Tichina Arnold belt “Fire and Desire” at the 2009 Grand Gala at The Galt House East Ballroom on May 2, 2009, in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Rick James and Teena Marie perform live at the after-party for the premiere of “Standing in the Shadows of Motown.”

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“Congo Square is the section of French quarters where the slaves who were mostly from the West Indies were allowed to go dance and sing on Sunday,” explains Teena. “I thought what a miraculous sound that must have been to share in such amazing joy, pain and grace. I found out just as I was wrapping this album that my father’s people are from New Orleans and it gave me goose bumps.”

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Although she’s been nominated several times for Grammys and American Music Awards, Teena Marie has never taken one home.

“I really don’t judge my terms of success by awards, but where I sit with God, my friends and my family. That’s way more important.”

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