Teena Marie, a singer whose funky hits in the 1980s, like “Lovergirl” and “Square Biz,” made her one of the few white performers to consistently find success on the rhythm-and-blues charts, died on Sunday at her home in Pasadena, Calif. She was 54.
“I’m Just a Sucker for Your Love,” her duet with James from that album, went to No. 8 on the R&B singles chart. The two began a tempestuous love affair. Another duet, “Fire and Desire,” appeared on James’s hit album from 1981, “Street Songs.” James died in 2004.
“Over all my race hasn’t been a problem,” she said. “I’m a black artist with white skin. At the end of the day you have to sing what’s in your own soul.”