Anita Pointer, one of the founding members of the Pointer Sisters, died Saturday, her family announced. She was 74.
“While we are deeply saddened by the loss of Anita, we are comforted in knowing she is now with her daughter, Jada and her sisters June & Bonnie and at peace,” her family said in a statement. “She was the one that kept all of us close and together for so long. Her love of our family will live on in each of us. … Heaven is a more loving beautiful place with Anita there.”
Pointer’s only daughter Jada Pointer died in 2003, and her sisters Bonnie and June died in 2020 and 2006 respectively.
Pointer’s publicist Roger Neal said the Grammy winner was surrounded by family at the time of her death.
Ruth, Anita, Bonnie and June, born the daughters of a minister who also had two older sons, grew up singing in his church in Oakland, California. The quartet brought a unique fusion of funk, soul and 1940s-style jazz, scat and pop to their act, often dressing in a retro style that resembled their forerunners the Andrews Sisters.
They worked as backup singers for Taj Mahal, Boz Scaggs, Elvin Bishop and others before releasing their self-titled debut album in 1973, and the song “Yes We Can Can,” a funky anthem calling for unity and tolerance, became their breakout hit.
They followed up with “That’s A Plenty,” which featured an eclectic mix of musical styles ranging from jazz to gospel to pop.
They even delved into country. Bonnie and Anita co-wrote the song “Fairytale” about a crumbling relationship. The song earned them a groundbreaking gig performing as a rare African American act at the Grand Ole Opry, and they would win their first Grammy, for best country vocal performance by a group.
Bonnie Pointer left the group in 1977, signing a solo deal with Motown Records. Her three sisters, who had nearly disbanded when she quit, instead regrouped, shed their retro image for a modern pop sound, and became one of the biggest acts of the 1980s with huge hits including “He’s So Shy,” “Jump (For My Love)” and “Neutron Dance.”
Following Bonnie Pointer’s death in 2020, Anita Pointer said the group “would never have happened had it not been for Bonnie.”