US singer Anita Pointer, who enjoyed success with her sisters in the rhythm and blues group Pointer Sisters in the 1970s and 1980s, died of cancer on Saturday at the age of 74, his agent announced.
“I am saddened to announce that my Grammy winner, Anita Pointer, has passed away after a heroic battle with cancer,” Roger Neal posted on Instagram.
She died at her home in Los Angeles on New Year’s Eve surrounded by her family, he told CNN.
“Despite our deep sadness at the loss of Anita, we are comforted to know that she is now with her daughter Jada and sisters June and Bonnie and at peace,” the Pointer family said in a statement.
Originally from Oakland, California, the group was originally formed by Anita and her sisters June (died April 2006), Bonnie (died June 2020) and then Ruth. They had started singing at the church where their father was pastor in Oakland.
Initially influenced by jazz, bebop and gospel, The Pointer Sisters released their first album in 1973 and have won three Grammy Awards over the course of their career. Their foray into country music with the song “Fairytale” in 1975 had landed them their first, and they’d been invited to the legendary auditorium at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, a first for black artists.
The band had grown to three members after Bonnie defected in 1977 to pursue a solo career.
That didn’t stop the Pointer Sisters from multiplying their hits at the turn of the 1980s – Fire, He’s So Shy, Slow Hand or I’m so Excited – with a repertoire that ranged between allusions to the “scat” of the 1940s and 1940s 1940 oscillates disco.
Although their popularity had waned by the late 1980s, the Pointer Sisters continued to perform in concert. June Pointer had left the group in 2004 and was replaced by a daughter of Ruth, Issa.