R&B and funk singer Betty Wright, who is known for her tell-it-like-it-is hits like “Clean Up Woman” and “Tonight is the Night”, has died at age 66.
She had been diagnosed and been battling with endometrial cancer in the fall of 2019, according to The New York Times.
Wright’s passing comes as another blow to the music community as she, Little Richard, and Uptown Records founder Andre Harrell all died on the same weekend.
The song Clean Up Woman, a frank tale of a woman who “cleans up” with men other women have neglected, recorded when she was 17. It reached number #6 in the US charts in 1971 and has been sampled frequently by some of today’s biggest stars, including Mary J. Blige and Chance the Rapper.
Other Wright tracks have been sampled by Beyoncé, for her hit single Upgrade U, rappers 2Pac, YG, and Slim Thug and more. She also worked with Damian Marley and rapper Nas on their 2010 album Distant Relatives.
“Tonight is the Night”, about losing her virginity, which became a favorite for R&B fans and a staple for late-night slow jam radio station shows.
Wright was born in Miami in 1953 and started singing gospel at the age of two, with her siblings in the group Echoes of Joy. When they broke up, Wright was only 11. After switching to R&B she was signed aged 12. Her first hit was “Girls Can’t Do What the Guys Do” one of the tracks later sampled by Beyoncé, which reached number 33 in the US in 1968.
Endometrial cancer, like the cancer Wright had, is a type of cancer that begins in the uterus. The uterus