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Remembering Anita Pointer | The legendary singer's roots in Arkansas

Legendary, Grammy award winning music pioneer, Anita Pointer, died on New Year's Eve at age 74. The trailblazing singer had roots right here in the Natural State.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — We're starting 2023 without a Grammy-winning music pioneer.

Anita Pointer of The Pointer Sisters died on New Year's Eve at the age of 74 from cancer.

You may know some of the classics like 'Jump' and 'Neutron Dance.'

The Pointer Sisters were legendary, making timeless music and earning several awards from the 70s-90s. The group was often led and kept together by one of the original founding sisters, Anita.

The singer easily could cross over from Pop to R&B, and even country music.

"The tremendous body of work that she and the Pointer sisters leave, that will be their legacy," said Charles Stewart, Chairman and CEO of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame.

The group was known for making hits but also breaking barriers.

The Pointer sisters were the first African-American female group to perform at the Grand Ole Opry.

And though Pointer was born in Oakland, California, many may not know she has ties to Arkansas.

In the 10th grade, Pointer played alto sax as a member of the McRae High School band in Prescott, which was an all-black school at the time.

Fast forward to 1998, and the Grammy winning singer-songwriter was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame.

"Songs that across generations, people are still playing them and enjoying them and being excited. That's one of their songs 'I'm so excited.' They're excited about the work that they've done," Stewart said.

The Arkansas Black Hall of Fame is very pleased to be connected with the legendary singer, especially having the opportunity to give Pointer her flowers while she was still living.

"She has an Arkansas background, in that she spent almost every summer here, and then moved here to go to school and her family's connection to the church," Stewart said.

He said there's a characteristic that's picked up whenever you're raised in the South-- you acquire a certain type of grit that helps push you forward.

"I think she said that she picked cotton and I think that's something that is a part of a lot of legacies," Stewart said.

The 74-year-old was a legend throughout the United States and was even a celebrated name internationally. 

"To look at this wall, there are many, many great performers who are part of it. And going back to Louis Jordan and Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Neo and people like that, who are all a part of, of Arkansas. I think that she is right in the middle of them and well deserved the honor," Stewart said.

Following Pointer's passing, her family released a statement to the singer's fans, which memorialized her life. 

"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. 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."


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