General News

‘I Like the Way’ singer was 49

Roderick “Pooh” Clark, an original member of the ’90s R&B group Hi-Five, has died. He was 49 years old.

While his friends and family have not confirmed an official cause of death, TMZ reported that the entertainer succumbed to an infection after a bout with pneumonia at a hospital in Waco, Texas.

Nearly three decades ago, Clark was involved in a serious car accident, which left him paralyzed from the neck down and made him vulnerable to infection, according to the outlet.

“We were blessed and had a great time as a family. A huge part of what made it fun, was because of Roderick ‘Pooh’ Clark,” Jonathan Kinloch, the group’s former manager, said in a statement. “He was the serious member, who made sure that the guys together worked hard. But also, we’re going to have a fun time as teenagers!”

“Pooh was the most athletic of them all,” wrote Martinez Little, Hi-Five’s musical director, in a Facebook tribute. “In basketball he could stand right under the basket and jump straight up and dunk the ball. Our play fights and Super Soaker battles were epic. We also used to battle each other hard on the Bball court in most cities. I still miss the fun times touring with my little brothers as Musical Director. My condolences to Hi5 and his family. R.I.P. Pooh.”

The R&B’s career was short-lived at first, but still racked up the chart-toppers.

In 1991, their track “I Like the Way (The Kissing Game)” soared to No. 1, following their band’s self-titled debut album the year prior. That chart-topper came from the band’s self-titled debut album, recorded by original members Clark, Tony Thompson, Marcus Sanders, Russell Neal and Toriano Easley, Deadline reported. All but the Oklahoma-born Easley hailed from Waco.

Other hits during their three-year career included “She’s Playing Hard to Get” and “Quality Time,” with some tracks featured in popular movies like “Menace II Society” and “Sister Act 2.”

But their time as a group ended abruptly following the car accident that paralyzed Clark in 1992 on Interstate 95 when their vehicle was rear-ended and subsequently flipped, according to their recollection in an episode of “Unsung” in 2014.

Hi-Five continues to tour and perform with new band members.

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Tina Sanders

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