Soul icon Betty Wright has died at the age of 66 after a bout with cancer.
The Miami, Florida native is best known for her hits “No Pain, No Gain,” “Tonight Is the Night,” and “Clean Up Woman,” among others.
The Grammy-winning entertainer was known for her collaborations, recording songs like “Baby” with Angie Stone and “Grapes on the Vine” with Lil Wayne & The Roots;” as well as recordings with Marvin Gaye and Bob Marley.
Her song “Clean Up Woman” became a favored sample used by the likes of Afrika Bambaataa, Sublime and Chance the Rapper.
In recent decades, Wright found herself mentoring younger artists, including Jennifer Lopez and Joss Stone; in addition to appearing as a mentor and vocal coach on Sean “Diddy” Comb’s MTV reality series “Making The Band.”
Raised in the church and with a love of Gospel Music, I first met Wright in the early 2000’s when Dr. Bobby Jones moved his International Artist Retreat from Las Vegas to Miami. She was kind, feisty and very open about her activism in South Florida and for music artists in general.
Wright was a trailblazer in the music industry who filed a lawsuit that empowered artists who were having their music sampled. She sued the pop band Color Me Bad for sampling “Tonight Is The Night” on their song “I Wanna Sex You Up” and was awarded 35 percent of their royalties.
Back in 2016, I was at the premiere of “Ride Along 2” in Miami and was shocked to see her at the after party.
She had just come from the gym and someone convinced her to pop her head into the outdoor party. I told her: “I don’t care if you don’t have glam, I haven’t seen you in years and we’re taking a picture!”
Wright was a powerhouse, a showstopper and a true legend in her own right.
A voice and a talent that will certainly be missed!
WATCH: Betty Wright perform “Tonight Is The Night” in Holland in 2012