James Ambrose Johnson,
Jr. (February 1, 1948 — August 6, 2004),
Better known by his stage name Rick James, was an American singer, songwriter, musician and record producer. James was a popular performer in the late 1970s and 1980s, scoring four number-one hits on the U.S. R&B charts performing in the genres of funk and R&B. Among his well known songs are “Super Freak”, “Mary Jane” and “You and I”.
In addition to his music, James gained notoriety for his wild lifestyle, which led to widely publicized legal problems, and which was famously satirized by Chappelle’s Show in 2004.
James was a father of three children, sons Rick Jr. and Tazman, and daughter Ty. At the time of his death, he was survived by them and two grandchildren. James was extremely close with Teena Marie, with whom he met in 1979 and began working that same year. While James had denied that the two were romantically involved, Marie would say not only were they romantically involved but they were engaged “for two weeks”. Their professional partnership lasted into 2004 when Marie released her comeback album, La Dona, which included the James duet, “I Got You”. When James died, Marie said she struggled to come to terms with the loss. James’ longtime girlfriend, Alfie Davidson, was said to have been a hidden fixture in James’ life and was dating him for nearly a decade, even as James carried on relationships with other women, including Marie.
James began a close friendship with Eddie Murphy after the two met in 1981. Following his exit from the United States Navy in 1984, Murphy’s older brother Charlie Murphy, whose first post-Navy job was working as security for his famous brother, began hanging out with James, bonding with the singer. Murphy would later recall the two’s sometimes-strained relationship on Chappelle’s Show……R.I.P
Mary Christine Brockert, better known by her stage name Teena Marie, (March 5, 1956 — December 26, 2010)
American singer, songwriter and producer. She was known as Tina, before taking the stage name Teena Marie, then she later acquired the nickname of Lady Tee (sometimes spelled as Lady T), given to her by collaborator and friend, Rick James.
She was known for her distinctive soulful vocals which initially caused many listeners to believe she was African-American. Her success in R&B and soul and loyalty to these genres would earn her the title Ivory Queen of Soul. She played rhythm guitar, keyboards and congas. She also wrote, produced, sang and arranged virtually all of her songs since her 1980 release, Irons in the Fire, which she later said was her favorite album.
Teena Marie, who never wed, gave birth to a daughter in 1991, named Alia Rose. As of 2009, Alia Rose sang under the name Rose LeBeau.
Throughout her career, Teena Marie had lived in Inglewood, California and Encino before settling in Pasadena in the mid-1980s.
In addition to Maya Rudolph, Teena Marie was godmother to Marvin Gaye’s daughter Nona Gaye. She also cared for Rick James’ son, Rick Jr. and family friend Jeremiah O’Neal. Lenny Kravitz posted a video in which he said that Teena Marie had taken him into her home and helped him when he was struggling early in his career.
Teena’s hobbies included archery, drawing, and writing poetry.
A True Soul Queen…..R.I.P