Tina Turner was a trailblazing icon in more ways than one.
Born Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939 in Brownsville, Tennessee, she was later known as the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll”. Turner came from humble beginnings. She started singing in her small town’s church choir as a little girl and was later known to frequent nightclubs in my hometown of St. Louis as a young adult. It was at the Manhattan Club in East St. Louis where she first met Ike Turner after seeing him perform with his band, the Kings of Rhythm. She rose to mainstream fame and persevered through a turbulent marriage and career with Ike, eventually breaking free and receiving even more recognition as a solo artist.
Turner amplified Black women’s stake in rock ’n’ roll. Giving the world so many classic songs, she was unapologetically herself and captivated audiences with hits like “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” which won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year. Over her decades-long career, she transformed into a once-in-a-generation entertainer with her mesmerizing performances. Her journey to eventual global stardom and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is inspirational for anyone who has faced adversity.
Turner’s impact reached far beyond music as she established the Tina Turner Foundation to support global health initiatives to improve the lives of those in need. She was particularly focused on advocating for victims of domestic violence and child abuse and also supported the Caudwell Foundation, an organization focused on supporting disabled children.
I was blessed to see her in concert several times during her revival, and wow, did everyone leave sweating. Jane and I also recently saw the Broadway show Tina, which left us exhilarated.
Let’s continue to honor her memory and pay tribute to the incredible legacy the Queen of Rock has left on the worldwide music industry and beyond. She was simply inspirational.