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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Tina Turner: Still the Queen of Rock & Roll

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As we continue to celebrate Black History month, we recognize certain African American women artists that have not only musical talent but have shown us what courage, ambition and survival is all about.Tina Turner is one of the most gifted singers of all time.  At seventy years old over fifty of which were in show business, Turner’s life has been scarred both physically and mentally with tumultuous and sometimes violent experiences. But it never stopped her.On November 26, 1939, Tina Turner, birth name Anna Mae Bullock, was born in a segregated part of the South called Nutbush, Tennessee where her family members were sharecroppers. At an early age she was abandoned by her parents and was forced to live with her grandmother. When her grandmother passed away, leaving her nowhere else to go, Tina decided to move to St. Louis and live with her mom.Tina always had a gift of performing and in 1956 proved it by singing with the band Kings of Rhythm led by Ike Turner. Ike was so impressed with Tina’s singing he took her under his wing and strategically guided her into a successful musical career, officially giving her the new name of “Tina Turner” and later marrying her.  Their vows sealed not only their nuptials, but also Tina’s fate as a victim for the next rwo decades of her life.Even though her musical career was progressing under Ike’s guidance, he was extremely physically and mentally abusive. Although said to be a good musician and business man publicly, he was described by Tina as “a violent, drug- addicted wife beater” who was not above frequently knocking Tina (and other women) around, both publicly and privately).It would only be by strength and bravery that the iconic singer was able to escaspe her horribly abusive marriage when Turner, at almost forty years old and “thirty-six cents and a mobile gasoline credit card” away from complete poverty clawed her way out. But now she was in for the next fight of her life: her return to stardom.It was a difficult road comprised of mediocre gigs, but she was doing it on her own with nothing to stop her. In 1983, things broke wide open for Tina with her cover of Al Green’s motown classic “Let’s Stay Together” which led to the phenomenal album Private Dancer and the mega single, “What’s Love Got to Do With It” . Her musical achievements were recognized at the Grammys, earning her four awards.Tina’s contribution to music is not just limited to any genre of Rock, ranging from Soul to R&B, and Pop. Tina does it all very well and that is why she is the “Queen of Rock and Roll ». As a former victim of spousal abuse who had the guts to get away, she is also an inspiration to all women who have endured such a horrible experience. As Tina once said: “I don’t hate myself anymore, I used to hate my work, hated that sexy image, hated those pictures of me onstage, hated that big raunchy person. Onstage, I’m acting the whole time I’m there. As soon as I get out of those songs, I’m Tina Again.”

About the Contributor
Bonnie Godas served as the arts editor for The Mass Media the following years: Spring 2009; 2009-2010