By Serbino Sandfer-Walker DJTF V.P., Texas Southern University Journalism Professor, Multimedia Correspondent http://serbino.com/blog/
Teena Marie, the soulful songstress also known as Lady T and the Ivory Queen of Soul, died Sunday and many fans learned of her death on Twitter after a post from R&B icon Ronald Isley.
Right before 7p.m. (CST) Isley tweeted [a Twitter post], “Just found out a friend, Tina Marie passed away. I really did [n]‘t expect to hear this. RIP. We will miss you much!”
Shortly after, Isley tweeted again, “Sorry guys, yes Teena Marie has passed away.”
That sent Teena Marie fans on Twitter in a tailspin. Many were shocked. Some of the tweets said, “I hope Twitter is not killing off Teena Marie.”
Others like @MyPurpleFantasy said, “I understand completely. Twitter is good for killing off celebs.”
Many of her fans just wanted to find out the truth. “Reports conflicting on Teena Marie. Some celebs saying she passed & others saying it’s a rumor. Trying to confirm,” @FirmMagazine tweeted.
Then multimedia journalist, TV One and CNN correspondent Roland Martin @rolandsmartin tweeted, “Mike Gardner, the manager of @msteenamarie, just told me that it is true: the legendary R&B singer has indeed died.”
At the same time, Philadelphia’s WDAS FM radio also confirmed Teena Marie’s death.
It was hard for fans to except that Teena Marie had passed. Twenty hours earlier, Teena Marie @MsTeenaMarie, who was an avid tweeter with 6,778 tweets, had wished her daughter Alia Rose also known as Rose LeBeau @RoseyDough happy birthday.
“Nineteen years ago today, I was in Labor, bout 2 give birth to my Baby Girl! @RoseyDough I love u so much! More then you’ll ever know! Christmas10,” Teena Marie said in a December 24 Twitter post.
Her last tweet was on December 25.
“No I haven’t found it! What was the name of the Pope John Paul 2nd/Sarah Vaughan Project?“ Teena Marie tweeted one of her fans.
For over 48 hours Teena Marie was one of the top trending items on Twitter.
Fans of her music were tweeting links to some of her videos on YouTube or her website. Songs like Portuguese Love, Square Biz, Casanova Brown and Ooh, La, La,La, were being introduced to the Twitter universe.
She was lauded in the black community, especially, because of her distinct R&B vocals and keen understanding of black culture. It wasn’t until her second album in 1980, Lady T, that fans learned she was white. Barry Gordy, Motown head, said he didn’t put her picture on the first album, Wild and Peaceful in 1979, because he wanted her music to stand on its own merit.
R&B sensation Rick James mentored Teena Marie and collaborated with her on hits like Fire and Desire and I’m Just a Sucker for Your love.
She was born Mary Christine Brockert in 1956. She grew up in Santa Monica, Ca. and had a passion for soul music.
As one studies her tweets, it is clear R&B was woven in her DNA.
On any given day you could find 20 or more tweets @MsTeenaMarie about the music she lived and loved to sing about.
“Oh heaven must have sent you from above, heaven must have sent your precious love,” Teena Marie tweeted on December 22.