Anita Pointer, frequent singer of the famous Sister Act, dies at 74

Anita Pointer, the sweet and sometimes sultry lead singer of many hits from her family group the Pointer Sisters in the 1970s and 1980s, died Saturday at her home in Beverly Hills, Calif. She was 74 years old.

The cause was cancer, said his publicist, Roger Neal.

The Pointer Sisters occupied a midpoint in pop history between the doo-wop innocence of the Ronettes and the stiletto girl power of Destiny’s Child.

Anita’s voice had a lot to do with it. She sang with the speed and flavor of molasses. Although she commanded virtuosity to trill nicely, she tended to sing too softly to sound compelling. In “Slow Hand,” a love song with a blurry music video that reached No. 2 on the pop charts in 1981, Anita cooed.

When she sang lead vocals, on this song and others, her sisters provided a backup melodic line, and the women frequently harmonized, structuring their groovy ’70s sound along lines similar to a quartet. of hair salon.

The band started with four Pointer Sisters – Anita, Ruth, Bonnie and June – and became a trio when Bonnie left to pursue a solo career in 1977. Anita sang lead on all three of the band’s top 40 hits in his original incarnation, including the hit, “Yes We Can Can”, from his debut album, “The Pointer Sisters” (1973). It reached No. 11 on the charts that year.

Performing the song live, Anita sang through a toothy smile, with a serious and imploring tone that could have been learned from hearing her father preach.

Some of the Pointer Sisters’ early music, such as “How Long (Betcha’ Got A Chick On The Side)” (1975), could be fast and funky, but the antique aspect of the band’s sound was deliberate. The Pointer women played wearing second-hand clothes that might have been worn to church in the 1940s – and they even sometimes bought their wardrobes from their mother’s church friends.

They won their first Grammy, unusual for a black band at the time, in Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group category, for the 1974 song “Fairytale,” written by Anita and Bonnie.

Working outside of her family band in 1986, Anita achieved a rare duet crossover hit with country singer Earl Thomas Conley, “Too Many Times.” The two performed the song at an unlikely venue for Mr. Conley: the R&B TV show “Soul Train.”

The Pointer Sisters forged a new path when Bonnie left the band. His 1978 rendition of the Bruce Springsteen song “Fire,” which hit No. 2 on the charts, was transitional: old-school honky-tonk piano lines, but with Anita as the lead singer leaning to one side. hoarser and sexier in his low voice.

By 1982 the band had arrived at a largely new style with “I’m So Excited”. On lead vocals, Anita chimed in happily singing lyrics to “those nighttime pleasures”, and the band released a racy music video to match. The song spent 40 weeks on the Hot 100 chart.

Anita sang backup on other Pointer Sisters hits, with June lead on “Jump (For My Love)”, which won the Grammy as a duo or group in 1985, and Ruth fronted “Automatic”, which won the vocal arrangement for two. award or more votes at that year’s ceremony.

“It’s something I would always hate to see – someone trying to outdo the other person,” Anita said in a career discussion posted on YouTube in 2015. “Everyone tried their best. I never felt like we were competing on stage.

Anita Marie Pointer was born on January 23, 1948 in Oakland, California. Her father, Reverend Elton Pointer, and her mother, Sarah Elizabeth Silas Pointer, both served a small congregation. All six Pointer children sang in a choir throughout childhood, gaining vocal training that would help the girls harmonize when they formed their own band.

Elton and Sarah came from Arkansas, and Anita fell in love with her grandparents’ home in the town of Prescott, where she attended fifth, seventh, and 10th grades. She attended a racially segregated school, was forced to sit on the cinema balcony, and once picked cotton for money.

She graduated from Oakland Technical High School in 1965 and was hired as a legal secretary. In 1968 she saw Bonnie and June sing to a crowd in San Francisco. “I just lost my mind,” she told Collector’s Weekly in 2015. “I sat in that audience, cried and sang. The next day, I quit my job. I said, ‘I have to sing!’ »

The sisters quickly became a backup band for San Francisco area musicians like the Taj Mahal. They were once warned not to upstage a musical act they were supposed to support. They started recording their own music.

In addition to music, Anita has amassed a remarkable collection of artifacts chronicling Black American history, including artifacts of slavery, segregation, and racist caricature.

“It reminds me that not everyone likes you and you have to prove them wrong,” Ms Pointer told Collector’s Weekly. “You are not a jester. Artists have tried to portray black people in insulting ways, but I think big lips and big asses are beautiful.

Both of Ms. Pointer’s marriages ended in divorce. Her daughter, Jada, from her first marriage, died of cancer in 2003. June died in 2006 and Bonnie died in 2020. Ms Pointer is survived by her sister Ruth; his brothers, Aaron and Fritz; and a granddaughter.

As she got older, Mrs. Pointer never fell in love with her old music, blasting it in her car and singing along to it. The band has continued to perform well into the 21st century.

“It’s not a vulgar show, so you can bring your grandma and you can bring the kids,” Ms Pointer told French newspaper Metro News in 2007. “They’re not going to get a corset in their face. “


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