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Betty Wright, Soul Hitmaker and ‘Clean Up Woman’ Singer, Dies at 66

Betty Wright
Photo: Mychal Watts / Getty Images

R&B singer Betty Wright, best-known for a string of soulful hits in 1970s and early 1980s, including “Clean Up Woman” and “Where Is the Love?”, has died at age 66. Wright’s niece confirmed the news but didn’t reveal a cause of death, TMZ reports.

Wright, born in Miami in 1953, launched her career as a child member of her family’s gospel act, the Echoes of Joy. But she ventured into soul and funk with her first solo album, 1968’s My First Time Around. Wright first found commercial success with 1972’s “Clean Up Woman,” famously sampled three decades later for a remix of Mary J. Blige’s “Real Love.”

The vocalist issued a string of solo records and singles in the decade, including minor hits like 1972’s “Is It You, Girl?”, 1974’s “Secretary” and 1975’s “Where is the Love?”, which earned the Grammy Award for Best R&B Song. She remained active throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, notably recruiting Stevie Wonder to producer her 1981 track “What Are You Going to Do With It.”

Throughout her career, Wright also earned an eclectic resumé as a backing vocalist, contributing to projects by Wonder, Stephen Stills, David Byrne, Jennifer Lopez, Erykah Badu, Joss Stone and Lil Wayne.

Wright also became an important hip-hop touchstone: In 2011, she released, Betty Wright: The Movie, a full-length collaboration with the Roots titled ; and in 2016, she teamed with DJ Khaled, Kendrick Lamar, and Big Sean for the track “Holy Key.”