Her Voice Redefined The Motown Sound

Tammi Terrell
Shonda Buchanan
March 10, 2021

All Tammi Terrell wanted to do was sing beautiful, positive music that showed the love, romance, joy, and reality of Black life. But she’d had enough of her singing group’s bickering and her violent relationship with James Brown.

She decided to step away from music and start a pre-med program – but was unaware of the silent threat that was stalking her.

White people could never understand her drive to sing for her people. Racists believed we had no culture – her work was a counter-narrative that promoted the beauty of Black life and love. But how could she do this without selling her soul? She had to take a break.

She was begged to return to the spotlight, and soon signed with Motown Records – on her 20th birthday. As she continued her popular duets with Marvin Gaye, her star continued to rise. Then tragedy struck.

In the middle of a performance, she got dizzy and collapsed in Gaye’s arms. A brain tumor had been stalking this young, beautiful star who’d sacrificed so much for her music. After eight unsuccessful surgeries, she died at only 24 years old. 

But her music lives on in us!

We all have something to contribute to the enrichment of our community. Presenting a positive self-image and celebrating Black love and joy enriches and empowers all Black people!

We have a quick favor to ask:

PushBlack is a nonprofit dedicated to raising up Black voices. We are a small team but we have an outsized impact:

  • We reach tens of millions of people with our BLACK NEWS & HISTORY STORIES every year.
  • We fight for CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM to protect our community.
  • We run VOTING CAMPAIGNS that reach over 10 million African-Americans across the country.

And as a nonprofit, we rely on small donations from subscribers like you.

With as little as $5 a month, you can help PushBlack raise up Black voices. It only takes a minute, so will you please ?

Share This Article: