Teena Marie’s sudden death is hitting many of the late R&B veteran’s friends and family hard, including her onetime mentee-turned-rock star Lenny Kravitz.
In a video posted on the rocker’s YouTube channel, Kravitz, looking sullen in a dark hoodie, reveals that he woke up in Paris to the news of Marie’s passing and opens up about her generosity and assistance when he was starting his career as a teen.
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Teena. She took me in when I was around 16. I was just a musician on the street. I was living from pillar to post. She took me in, she gave me a bedroom, she fed me, she cooked for me, she took care of me. She gave me instruments to play, she took me to all her recording sessions. She took me to concerts, she nurtured me and helped me to become who I am,” Kravitz says. He added that although he hadn’t publicly discussed their relationship before now and lost touch in the years before her death, he’s still grateful for everything she did for him in those early years.
“I’ve never really talked much about it in depth, but I would not be here. She changed my life, not only as an artist, but as a person who truly loved me for who I was. We’d been out of contact for the last few years, but I just want to say, Teena, that I will always love and respect you,” he says. “Thank you for being my friend. Thank you, Father, for the life of Teena Marie.”
The “Again” singer also sent condolences to Marie’s loved ones and touted the late songstress’ many skills.
“I just want to send all my love and respect out to the family and I just want to say Teena Marie was a treasure, was a genius,” he says. “Composer, arranger, singer, musician, unique, underrated by far.”
Kravitz is one of many celebs who have paid tribute to the late star, who was found dead in her California home on Sunday. Swizz Beatz recently tweeted, “R.I.P TO ONE OF THE BEST VOICES OF MUSIC TEENA MARIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” before announcing that he would push back his weekly Monster Monday release in honor of Marie.
Missy Elliott tweeted, “My Prayers go out to Teena Marie’s family. Teena created music that is Timeless! Songs sung with soul and conviction a True LEGEND!”
Fashion mogul Kimora Lee Simmons wrote, “RIP to the legendary Ms Teena Marie. Luv u always! We’ll celebrate + sing in your memory!”
A Tribe Called Quest MC Q-Tip reminisced on Twitter about how Marie’s music touched another late star, Run-DMC’s Jam Master Jay, who loved the soul great’s rendition of “If I Were a Bell.” He also urged rising soul stars to pick up Marie’s torch, typing, “hopefully a young singer can take this blueprint she left. RIP.”
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