A Tribute to Beautifully Aging Afrobellas – Tina Turner

Before I launch into my tribute to Tina Turner, full disclosure. What’s Love Got To Do With It is one of my all time favorite films. Angela Bassett is beyond fierce in that movie!

I wore my hair in long, straightened spikes through most of my college years, leading one of my enemies to mutter that I “looked like a broke-ass Tina Turner” one day as I walked by. I took that as a compliment and held my head even higher.

To prove what I stan I am, I will confess – I have a picture of Tina taped up in my cubicle at work. She inspires me to stay strong throughout the day.

I have been obsessed for years!

Tina was definitely one of my big-hair idols in the Eighties. Along with Diana Ross and Chaka Khan, she had big, bodacious hair and worked it for all she had. Also, she’s got legs, and she still knows how to use them. (Just imagine if Miss Tina decided to take a page from Mo’Nique’s guide to body hair care. That would be a show-stopper of an entirely different kind!)

Tina’s own life story is so well-known, it’s almost impossible to watch her perform and not imagine where she was at in terms of her marital strife. I find myself trying to read her eyes during her old performances. But I can’t read anything but joy during this amazing duet with a young, sweet-faced Marvin Gaye, or this show-stopping performance with Cher that must be a drag queen’s wet dream.

How many performers has Tina influenced today? Fergie-Ferg just recently revealed that the fantastic Miss Turner played a key role in her musical ambitions. Fabulous new and upcoming talent Alice Smith is earning favorable comparisons to “similarly hard-to-categorize pioneers” like Tina Turner, and that’s certainly high praise. (and richly deserved! Check her out, y’all!)

To me, the most obvious sign of Tina’s influence is in the unstoppable force that is Beyonce. And Little Miss Knowles is cute as she pays homage to her idol here, but she will never be Tina. Nobody can. That’s an awfully short skirt and some big-ass shoes to fill, but bless her heart for trying. Tina seemed so genuinely pleased and touched. Those two thumbs up must have meant the world to Beyonce.

Even though she’s now 66 and recieving Kennedy Center honors, Tina Turner isn’t resting on her laurels. Just last year she released All The Best, a greatest hits compliation with new songs included. Her music now is firmly placed in the soft rock canon, which she obviously enjoys. Personally, I would love her to come back to soul and belt out some contemporary urban stuff. (Just imagine Timbaland working with Tina Turner – that could potentially be genius. Or it could suck. Discuss.)

I love classic Tina in black and white shimmying alongside wife-beater Ike, I love evolving Tina in the Seventies, trying to figure out what comes next. But the Tina I love the most is the one I grew up with, the Private Dancer Tina, the one who rasped “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” and strutted back into the mainstream in 1985. The message of this song with David Bowie, and the happiness and pride you can see on her face here made me love this performance. The song is included on All The Best.

As a plus, this is the David Bowie I fantasized about as a little girl, the Goblin King.

Love you, Tina. You’re an inspiration to any woman in a bad relationship to DTMFA, and your beauty and sexiness is aging like fine wine. In your own words, you’re Simply The Best!

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Comments

  1. Oh my God! Afrobella, I just found out I used to work with you brother, but more than that, I too used to have very involved, highly disturbing fantasies of David Bowie especially in his role as The Goblin King. I would have ruled with him forever! And Tina is above and beyond catogorising. I think her version of “I ain’t missing you at all” is a classic – when she sings the words, “in your world I have no meaning” you can hear the hopeless desperation she feels. Man oh man. This is one of your best posts ever. Keep it up.

    P.S. Feel free to post on David Bowie WHENEVER you like. Sigh.

  2. P.S.S. Man oh man! David Bowie. And Tina. Sex in heels and tails. I would have been diving behind him on stage too :@)

  3. Hi HottieHottie! OMG, you worked with my brother? Which one? I’m the last of five and I have three brothers. Write back and let me know! And yes, David Bowie is yummy with a spoon. He’s aging pretty well, too. Mmmmmm.

  4. I worked with Patrick. What a small world! I was complaining about my hair to a friend of mine who still works with him and she told me about your site and that Patrck is your brother. So I told her, “Girl, I find that site LONG time. I ALWAYS on that site.” I can’t imagine having three brothers though. That sounds like plenty “accidental” hair removal and “not on purpose” falling down stairs.

    P.S. YES to all the Bowie comments. :)

  5. southernbelle says:

    I absoulutly love your site. Tina is my idol. Sometimes I put on proud mary and do my best Tina impression infront of the mirror in the privacy of my own room. She really is the truth. Damn David Bowie!! Love him as the Goblin King. He is too damn delicious. I have the Labyrith in my movie collection right now!!

  6. Yes, that is the David Bowie I lusted for–the suave Euroman in a suit, the blue eyed soul . . . let me get a grip :D

  7. Bella…we have WAYYY too much in common. First of all, I am a Savage Love Stan! When I saw DTMFA in your post, I damn near fell out of my chair! Secondly, Tina is the absolute truth! She is aging wonderfully and is an inspiration to women young and old. And last but not least…David Bowie..I heart that man so much that I had a purse made out of one of my favorite Bowie albums. The Thin White Duke is too sexy for words.

  8. I’ve been lurking here for a while, but this post brought me out. Your comment about her searching for what’s next in the 70s is spot on! Great site!

  9. jerseybred says:

    Tina Turner in black & white performing-I Don’t Need Nobody. She looks AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Great article.Thank you.I went online to print a picture of her and Lady Gaga to tape to my fridge.They are strong inspirational artists that inspire me to stay strong and that you are never to young or old to build or re build your dream.I love you Tina, thank you for your voice and courage.

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Trackbacks

  1. [...] When I decided to give tribute to a series of beautifully aging bellas, I thought long and hard about who influenced my style the most. Lena Horne, Eartha Kitt, Tina Turner, and Chaka Khan all provided inspiring images of strong black womanhood, but none of them could have had a bigger impact than my mother. [...]

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