By: Greg Sacidor
Joni Sledge of the Sledge Sisters, who are most famously known for their dance anthem “We Are Family,” passed away earlier this month on March 10. According to her family, “the medical examiner and Joni’s personal physician determined that her death was due to natural causes which arose from complications from a pre-existing condition.”
On Wednesday, March 15 Sister Sledge issued the following statement.
“Sister Sledge, Debbie Sledge, Kim Sledge, and family would like to express our deepest gratitude for the overwhelming outpouring of love and support to our family during this time of great loss in the wake of the transition into eternity of our beloved sister and musical icon, Joni Sledge.
We are experiencing painful loss, however at the same time we can honestly say that we have the “‘peace that passes all understanding” and the “Joy of the Lord”, which is our strength, because we know without a doubt that she is in heaven with our loving mother Florez Sledge and more importantly our Lord Jesus / Yeshua the Christ!
She is at peace, and knowing that comforts us.
Our Joni was a beautiful person, a phenomenal artist and producer, a brilliant business woman and a powerhouse…truly Flo’s daughter! What an incredible privilege and honor for us to have known, lived and worked with such an enormous personality! Her greatest love and joy was her son Thaddeus (whom we are all very proud of), and performing live with her family.
Joni’s lead vocals are well known for many of the most iconic Sister Sledge songs such as Lost In Music, Reach Your Peak, Easier to Love, and I’m a Good Girl. An excellent composer and lyricist, she wrote, produced, and performed lead vocals on many of the vibrant songs that we have the pleasure of performing to this day.
Songs such as Il Macquillage Lady (sampled by Daft Punk in Aerodynamic), Walking in the Light, World Rise and Shine, (which she coproduced with Incognito’s Jean Paul Bluey Maunick), Brother Brother Stop, Cry for Soweto, and most recently, the soon to be revealed Sister Sledge release, WAMOW (Women Are the Music Of the World), to name a few, were all written by Joni, and carry all of us to a higher level of awareness of the value, struggle and beauty of life. Joni Sledge single handedly produced the critically acclaimed Sister Sledge, African Eyes CD, …for which she was awarded with a GRAMMY nomination for “Best Produced CD 1997” Joni produced videos, engaged in documentaries and public speaking, and participated in marches and demonstrations to spread awareness and support for important causes she was passionate about.
She was an excellent mother, daughter, aunt, niece and incredible sister! Joni will be able to answer the one question we all will be asked when we come face to face with our Creator… “DID YOU LEARN TO LOVE? …with a resounding “YES!”
Surviving family members consist of her beloved son Thaddeus Whyte VI, her beloved 87-year-old aunt and matriarch of the family, Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy, her sisters, Carol, Debbie, Kim, and Kathy, and her many, many beloved family members throughout the US and extended and adopted family in the UK, the Netherlands, Japan and throughout the world!
In the spirit of sisterhood and in the Sister Sledge tradition, we will honor Joni Sledge, her zest for life, her strength of character, her creative talent, her powerhouse personality, and her loving memory by spreading joy through her songs and shining light and love through music. We are committed to continuing the Sister Sledge tradition of unity, family, empowerment, and sisterhood! We will continue with great honor in celebration of the beautiful life of our dear sister, Joni Sledge. Her love lives on in all of us.
WE ARE SISTERS.
WE ARE FLO’S DAUGHTERS.
WE ARE ONE.
WE ARE FAMILY.
and WE ARE WAMOWS!”
Joni Sledge is survived by an adult son besides her sisters and other relatives.
She was 60-year-old.