Marva Whitney, singer
James Brown
birth name: Marva Ann Manning

Marva Whitney

May 1, 1944, Kansas City, KS ~ December 22, 2012

Marva Whitney is baking a sweet-potato pie. Generous with the cinnamon and thrifty on the nutmeg, she'll serve it up during Christmas dinner at the Kansas City retirement home she calls home. “We're just gonna have a nice Christmas together,” she explains. Her tone is sweet and gentle, like that of a favored grandmother - a far cry from how she sounded 40 years ago, when she forged a place in funk history thanks to a formidably fearsome voice capable of shrieking in tandem with abrasively syncopated horn blasts. . ~ Village Voice: Pay Marva What You Owe Her ~ December 22, 2010 © Village Voice

Nicknamed by collaborator James Brown “Soul Sister Number 1.” ~ Rolling Stone: Marva Whitney Obituary ~ December 24, 2012 © Rolling Stone

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The singer began her career singing gospel music in Kansas City but found fame when she reluctantly joined the James Brown Revue in 1967 after turning down singing jobs with Bobby Bland and Little Richard. ~ Hollywood Reporter: Marva Whitney Obituary ~ December 24, 2012 © The Hollywood Reporter

Like many 1960s and '70s R&B artists, the Kansas City born singer found her music turning up in rap musicians’ records decades later. Public Enemy, among others, sampled It’s My Thing in Bring The Noise, and other rap acts sampled her track Unwind Yourself. When she was in a store and heard her music in DJ Kool’s Let Me Clear My Throat, she told Village Voice in 2010 that her reaction was, “Oh no, they’ve ripped me off again. Here I am, pinching pennies, and they're making millions,” said Whitney, who was born Marva Ann Manning. “I can't get any response from them. I just wish somebody would tell the truth.” ~ Los Angeles Times: Marva Whitney Obituary ~ December 24, 2012 © Los Angeles Times

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