Teena Marie Dies at 54

Teena Marie, the self-proclaimed “Ivory Queen of Soul,” who was the first white artist to be signed by Motown Records, was found dead in her Pasadena home on Sunday at the age of 54. She died of natural causes, according to authorities. The R&B legend, real name Mary Christine Brockert, signed to Motown in 1979, a black-owned label known for artists like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and The Jackson Five. Her soulful voice won over black and white audiences alike, and her classic hits included “Lovergirl, “Square Biz,” and the duet “Fire and Desire” with mentor–and former lover–Rick James. Her last album, Congo Square, featured a song called “Black Cool,” written for President Barack Obama. “All in all, it's been a wonderful, wonderful ride,” Marie told the Associated Press in 2008. “I don't plan on stopping anytime soon.”