Growing together through social change

How tina turner earned her crown

What’s Love Got to Do with It?” Everything, when it comes to you Ms. Turner.

Ah, I remember it well, the summer of 1993 marking the exodus of the 3rd grade. It was the summer of Mr. Frosty the ice cream truck, boogie boarding at the beach, block parties and riding your bike, not so much because it was cool but rather as a lack of transportation options. We were dancing in the streets to the great hits of Whitney Houston, Boyz ll Men, Ace of Base (I was a little young to appreciate Dr. Dre), but your voice rose above them all. It was the year the biographical film, What’s Love Got to Do with It, was released causing a sensational resurgence of the 1984 mega-hit song. Oh, that album, proudly released the year I was born, went on to win four Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year.

As time went on, through middle school and the right of passage initiation into high school, your voice took a back seat to an era of boy bands and cash cows. We had Backstreet Boys pillowcases and heard the breakthrough track of the “Princess of Pop,” Britney Spears. But you came back into my life in college. In the dinosaur age of Facebook, my How Technology Works 101 course professor brought me back through memory lane. Not understanding the science of air waves transmitting sound and color brought me into her office and into a turning point of my appreciation for you. To say her office had a Tina Turner theme would be an understatement. It was a shrine. I got no class related work done but I learned the invaluable lesson of your life history. You must have birthed the term Rockstar Mom, somehow raising four children through your own rise and induction to fame, much of which you also spent battling domestic abuse.

Born Anna Mae Bullock, Tina took the name Turner after marrying the infamous Ike Turner, who gave her a significant start in her career as a backup singer and eventual soloist. The well documented interviews revealed it all started because she didn’t want to change her name. After years of headlining abuse columns, the divorce was finalized in 1978. Tina gave up her share of the record company, song rights and personal property. She was immediately sued by promoters for their losses and spent almost two years living on food stamps, couch surfing with friends and playing small gigs to get by.

We all know there’s a happy ending to the story as The Queen of Rock ’n’ Roll turned the page on that chapter of her life and came out stronger than ever, becoming one of the top-selling recording artists of all time. Her 2008, 50th Anniversary tour was one of the highest-selling ticked shows of all time. Lest we forget her staggering accomplishments, she is also immortalized in the karaoke books forever. Even if, as millennial’s, we can’t remember all the words, we do a damn fine job to humming the verse and belting out the chorus!

For those of us with, what I like to call, “Legit Shit for Adults” life journeys, Tina is a symbol of the unstoppable female force. I raise a glass and cheers to you, Tina Turner. I hope my story will be as powerful as yours. When I get knocked down, you better believe I’m coming back up stronger.