Anita Pointer

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Anita Pointer
Pointer in 1974
Pointer in 1974
Background information
Birth nameAnita Marie Pointer
Born(1948-01-23)January 23, 1948
Oakland, California, U.S.
DiedDecember 31, 2022(2022-12-31) (aged 74)
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Years active1969–2015
Formerly ofThe Pointer Sisters

Anita Marie Pointer (January 23, 1948 – December 31, 2022) was an American singer and songwriter, best known as a founding member of the vocal group the Pointer Sisters. She co-wrote and was the lead singer on their hit song "Fairytale", which garnered them their first Grammy Award in 1975. She was also the lead singer on many of their other hits, including "Yes We Can Can", "Fire", "Slow Hand", and "I'm So Excited".

Early life and family[edit]

Pointer was born in Oakland, California, on January 23, 1948,[1][2] as the fourth of six children to Sarah Elizabeth (née Silas; 1924–2000) and Reverend Elton Pointer (1901–1979).[3] Though she was born in California, Pointer's parents were natives of Arkansas. As a result, her family traveled by car almost yearly from California to Arkansas to visit Pointer's grandparents who lived in Prescott.[4]

During that time, her mother allowed her to stay with her grandparents to attend fifth grade at McRae Elementary, seventh grade at McRae Jr. High, and tenth grade at McRae High School. While in Prescott, she played alto sax as a member of the McRae High School band.[4] In 1969, Pointer quit her job as a secretary to join her younger sisters Bonnie and June to form the Pointer Sisters.[5] Their sister Ruth joined the group in 1972.[6]


Pointer and her sisters found fame in 1973, when she sang lead on "Yes We Can Can", which reached No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100.[7][8] In 1974, Pointer's writing talents helped the group make music history when "Fairytale" became a hit on the country music charts and enabled the Pointer Sisters to become the first black female group to perform at the Grand Ole Opry.[9] "Fairytale", written by Pointer and her sister Bonnie and featuring Pointer on lead vocals, earned the group its first Grammy Award, winning Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group and receiving a Grammy nomination for the Best Country Song of the year in 1975.[10][11]

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Pointer Sisters rose to higher levels of success.[7][12] Pointer was the lead singer on many of their hits, including "Fire" (1978) and "Slow Hand" (1981), which both reached No. 2 on the Billboard pop chart, and "I'm So Excited" (1982), which spent 40 weeks on the chart.[7] She sang backup on other hits, with June leading "Jump (For My Love)", which won the 1985 Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, and "Automatic" featuring Ruth as lead and winning the Grammy for Best Vocal Arrangement for Two or More Voices, also in 1985.[7][13] Both songs were from the 1983 album Break Out, which reached triple-platinum status.[10][14] Other Pointer Sisters' hits included "He's So Shy" (1980) and "Neutron Dance" (1984),[12][15] which was popularized in the opening scene of the film Beverly Hills Cop.[10] From 1973 to 1985, they had 13 top-20 pop hits in the United States.[14]

In 1986, Pointer found chart success with country superstar Earl Thomas Conley on the song "Too Many Times", which reached No. 2 on the country chart.[16] In 1987, she released her first solo album, Love for What It Is.[17][10] Her album's first single, "Overnight Success", reached No. 41 on the Billboard R&B chart. A second single from the album, More Than a Memory, also charted, reaching No. 73 R&B in 1988.[16]

In 1994, Pointer and her sisters received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame,[18] and in 1998, Pointer was singularly inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame.[19] In 2015, she retired from the Pointer Sisters after medical issues following chemotherapy.[10][20][21]

In February 2020, Pointer released the book, Fairytale: The Pointer Sisters' Family Story which was co-written with her brother, Fritz Pointer. The book chronicles the Pointer family origins and history as well as finding themselves as young black women in the San Francisco Bay Area during the civil rights and Black Power movement of the late 1960s. As well, it describes the difficulties and successes they encountered throughout their career and shares their chart history, discography and other surprises along the way. Throughout the book, family members also share their memories of the Pointer family history including Bonnie, who died that same year in June. The book earned positive reviews upon release.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Pointer was married several times and had one child. In December 1965, at age 17, Pointer married David Harper. They had a daughter, Jada Rashawn Pointer, born April 9, 1966.[3] They divorced later in 1966.[3] Jada Pointer died of cancer in 2003, aged 37.[23]

Pointer was briefly in a relationship with Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson.[24]

Her daughter inspired one of the Pointer Sisters' most popular songs, "Jada," written by the group and released on their debut album in 1973. In October 1981, Pointer married Richard Gonzalez. Pointer and Gonzalez later divorced.[3]

Pointer's older brother, Aaron Pointer, was a Major League Baseball player and later a referee in the National Football League. Her cousin Paul Silas was a National Basketball Association player and head coach.[25]

Health and death[edit]

In October 2021, Pointer was supposed to be a contestant on season 6 of The Masked Singer, as part of a duet with her sister Ruth, who revealed that Pointer had not performed because she was dealing with an illness.[26]

Pointer died from cancer at her home in Beverly Hills, California, on December 31, 2022, aged 74.[7][27]



Love for What It Is (1987 RCA Records)[28]

  1. "Overnight Success" (4:45)
  2. "Love Me Like You Do (5:25)
  3. "The Pledge" (duet with Philip Bailey) (3:16)
  4. "You Don't Scare Me" (3:40)
  5. "More Than a Memory" (4:45)
  6. "Have a Little Faith in Love" (5:56)
  7. "Love for What It Is" (5:05)
  8. "Beware of What You Want" (5:42)
  9. "Temporarily Blue" (4:20)


Year Single US R&B Album
1987 "Overnight Success"[29] 41 Love for What It Is
1988 "More Than a Memory" 73 Love for What It Is

Guest singles[edit]

Year Single Artist Chart Positions Album
US Country CAN Country
1986 "Too Many Times"[30] Earl Thomas Conley 2 3 Too Many Times



  1. ^ Your Birthday, Your Card, By Robert Lee Camp · 2008. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  2. ^ Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, By Editors Rolling Stone, Rolling Stone Magazine Editors · 2001. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Arkansas In Ink, Anita Marie Pointer (1948–). Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Anita Pointer (1948–) – Encyclopedia of Arkansas". Paul Ciulla Everett, Massachusetts.
  5. ^ "Anita Pointer – The Pointer Sisters". Paul Ciulla. Archived from the original on May 26, 2015. Retrieved September 25, 2015.
  6. ^ Brasch, Ben (January 1, 2023). "Anita Pointer, of Grammy-winning Pointer Sisters, dies at 74". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 2, 2023.
  7. ^ a b c d e Traub, Alex (January 1, 2023). "Anita Pointer, Lead Vocalist Who Powered the Pointer Sisters, Dies at 74". The New York Times. p. B5. Retrieved January 2, 2023.
  8. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. January 2, 2013. Retrieved January 2, 2023.
  9. ^ Roberts, Jeremy (January 1, 2023). "Inside 'Fairytale,' the Pointer Sisters' defiant country kiss-off covered by Elvis". Medium. Retrieved January 2, 2023.
  10. ^ a b c d e Brown, Mark (January 1, 2023). "Anita Pointer from Grammy-winning Pointer Sisters dies aged 74". The Guardian. Retrieved January 2, 2023.
  11. ^ "1974 GRAMMY WINNERS – 17th Annual GRAMMY Awards". National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Retrieved January 2, 2023.
  12. ^ a b Allen, Joseph (June 9, 2020). "Following Bonnie's Death, Two of the Original Pointer Sisters Are Still Alive". Distractify. Retrieved January 2, 2023.
  13. ^ "1984 GRAMMY WINNERS – 27th Annual GRAMMY Awards". National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Retrieved January 2, 2023.
  14. ^ a b "Anita Pointer, member of the Pointer Sisters, dies at 74". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. January 1, 2023. Retrieved January 2, 2023.
  15. ^ "The Pointer Sisters Albums and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved January 2, 2023.
  16. ^ a b "Anita Pointer". Billboard. Retrieved January 2, 2023.
  17. ^ Heim, Chris (January 31, 1988). "Love For What It Is (Anita Pointer,..." Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 2, 2023.
  18. ^ "The Pointer Sisters – Hollywood Walk of Fame". October 25, 2019.
  19. ^ "Anita Pointer – Arkansas Black Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on July 29, 2014. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  20. ^ Adams, Cameron (February 24, 2016). "Ruth Pointer of the Pointer Sisters on her cocaine addiction and escaping Scientology rehab". Archived from the original on April 4, 2016. Retrieved April 4, 2016. The Pointer Sisters' line-up has become so fluid that Ruth is now the only original member. June Pointer was kicked out of the band in 2004 due to ongoing crack cocaine use. While she entered rehab she died in 2006 after a battle with cancer. Anita Pointer left the band after medical issues following chemotherapy left her unable to tour
  21. ^ "Anita Pointer". Retrieved January 2, 2023.
  22. ^ "36. I'm So Excited…Celebrating Juneteenth with the Pointer Sisters (with Anita Pointer and Fritz Pointer)". Ms. June 14, 2021. Retrieved January 2, 2023.
  23. ^ "Singer Anita Pointer of The Pointer Sisters dies at age 74". Emea Tribune. Associated Press. January 1, 2023. Retrieved January 1, 2023.
  24. ^ Henderson & Knobler 1987, p. 120.
  25. ^ "Aaron Pointer is a man for all seasons". Greg Bishop, Seattle Times, staff reporter - April 16, 2006. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  26. ^ Jensen, Erin. "'Masked Singer': Cupcake is iced out; wildcard Caterpillar gives 'front-runner performance'". USA Today.
  27. ^ "Grammy-winning singer Anita Pointer dies aged 74". BBC News. January 1, 2023. Retrieved January 2, 2023.
  28. ^ "Anita Pointer – Love for What It is Album Reviews, Songs & More | AllMusic". AllMusic.
  29. ^ Anita Pointer – Overnight Success on YouTube
  30. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944–2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 88.
  31. ^ Ankeny, Jason. Anita Pointer at AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-06-16.


  • Henderson, Thomas; Knobler, Peter (1987). Out of Control: Confessions of an NFL Casualty. ISBN 0-399-13264-3.

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