Soul singer and trans pioneer Jackie Shane passes away at 78

Transgender pioneer and soul singer Jackie Shane died in her sleep earlier this week, according to her label Numero Group. Shane was recently nominated for best historical album at the 2019 Grammys for her box set Any Other Way. She was 78 years old.

Born in 1940, Shane knew she was a female by the time she was 13. In an interview with Billboard earlier this year, she said people were accepting of her transition.“Even in school, I never had any problems.”

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“[Jackie Shane] was here to entertain, but also to educate and inspire. She lived entirely on her own terms. She taught me so many things about self-respect and grace under difficult circumstances,” Numero Group A&R scout Douglas Mcgowan said.

Shane grew up in the South and moved to Toronto as a young adult, where she connected with Frank Motely, and performed in clubs throughout Canada. She eventually signed with Motown and Atlantic records, and toured for a short period.

Interest for Jackie Shane picked up again in 2000, when the CBC Radio documentary I Got Mine: The Story of Jackie Shane aired. Numero Group reissued her album Any Other Way for the first time in 2017.

Commenting on the album’s Grammy nomination this year, Shane told The Guardian, “My whole approach is to get you to go up against wrong”.

“I don’t bow down. I do not get down on my knees. The lowest I go is the top of my head. This is Jackie!”