Funk diva Marva Whitney dead at 68

James Brown's 'Soul Sister #1' passed away this weekend

Funk singer Marva Whitney has passed away at the age of 68.

Whitney – who was dubbed Soul Sister #1 by her collaborator and friend James Brown – passed away this weekend from complications due to pneumonia.

News of her death was confirmed via her official Facebook fan page, with a message which read:

We’re saddened to inform you that Soulsister #1 Marva Whitney passed away last night. She left us with a legacy that will shine forever. Please keep her family in your prayers.


Whitney – real name Marva Ann Manning – is best known for her track ‘Unwind Yourself’, which was famously sampled by The 45 King on the 1987 song ‘The 900 Number’, as well as by DJ Kool on ‘Let Me Clear My Throat’ in 1996.

Sway also sampled the track on his song ‘Mercedes Benz’ and last year Mac Miller used the sample on ‘Party On Fifth Ave’. Click above to listen to Marva Whitney original.

Whitney started her music career as a child, performing with her family gospel group, the Manning Gospel Singers. She toured Vietnam with James Brown in the late 1960s and was also part of the James Brown Revue in 1967.

Click below to see her performing ‘It’s My Thing’ in 1969.