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    Five Things to Know About Late R&B Star Teena Marie

    Teena Marie Vivien Killilea/WireImage

    Everyone's favorite "Lovergirl" has passed on. But she will not be forgotten.

    Teena Marie died of apparent natural causes (she reportedly had a history of seizures) at her Pasadena home on Sunday and the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office has launched a probe to determine how she died. An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow but so far Pasadena police do not suspect any foul play, nor do they think drugs played a part.

    Here are five things you need to know right now about the late R&B legend as we honor her stellar life:

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    1. Motown Loved the White Chick: Marie's 1979 debut album, Wild and Peaceful, didn't feature her face on the cover, presumably because Motown Records feared she would be rejected by black audiences. But R&B fans adored her silky smooth voice and embraced the self-proclaimed "Ivory Queen of Soul."  "I'm a black artist with white skin," she told Essence magazine last year. " At the end of the day you have to sing what's in your own soul."

    2. She Got Superfreaky with Rick James: After signing with Motown Records in 1976, Marie quickly caught the eye of funk pioneer James, who became both her mentor and boyfriend. James oversaw the release of Wild and Peaceful. The album's tracks composed by the "Superfreak" singer included their top 10 duet, "I'm Just a Sucker for Your Love."

    3. She Was a Hip-Hop Pioneer: Teena Marie had a profound impact on the  hip-hop world as one of the first artists to ever rap on one of her singles ("Square Biz"). She also was one of the most sampled of R&B divas. The Fugees honored her by sampling her 1988 hit "Ooo, La, La, La" on their popular tune "Fu-Gee-La." 

    4. She Changed Music Law: After a contract dispute with label boss Berry Gordy, Motown sued its platinum-record star in 1982 when Marie told the label she no longer wanted to perform. Her successful countersuit, which came to be known as "The Brockert Initiative," made it illegal for record companies to keep an artist under contract without releasing new material for that artist.

    5. She Met Jed Clampett: Teena Marie was also a child actress, scoring a role in the '60s cult classic The Beverly Hillbillies.

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