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Black Music Innovators: Tina Turner

Black Music Month

Black Music Innovators: Tina Turner

Tina Turner has been a household name for many generations, and there are few other music artists who have achieved as much success as she has. Named “one of the greatest singers of all time” by Rolling Stone and dubbed the “Queen of Rock and Roll”, she has paved the way for many talented female R&B artists who have experienced an undeniable fame and longevity since her reign.

She began her singing career at the young age of 18 as a vocalist in R&B musician Ike Turner’s shows. The first song she recorded with Ike, “A Fool in Love,” jumped to the #2 spot on the US pop charts. They became The Ike and Tina Turner Revue, and married soon afterwards. They received their first Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group in 1971 for “Proud Mary,” which is still one of Tina’s most popular songs to-date. When Tina divorced from Ike in 1978 after severe physical abuse, she only asked to keep her stage name.

When Tina stepped out on her own, it was a rocky start at first. However, she eventually became a star in her own right. She released her single “What’s Love Got to Do With It” to fans in 1984, and achieved something far greater in return: the song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and it is still her only number one American hit to this day. After the huge success of the song and later released album, Private Dancer, Tina branched into acting, and was awarded a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress for the film, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Over the next 25 years, Tina continued to achieve immense success. She completed her 50-year anniversary tour last year (which was the highest selling ticketed shows of the season), and today at 70 years old, she’s still got it. Hear, hear to the following stars who happen to have it too:

Beyonce – Like Tina, Beyonce started her career at a very young age as the lead singer of the group, Destiny’s Child. Beyonce later pursued a solo career, and her musical career eventually led to film roles as did Tina’s. Tina also had an energetic stage presence that Beyonce brings forth in her Sasha Fierce persona whenever she performs at shows. They showcased this powerful combination at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards in 2008 when they performed together. Tina was recognized at the Kennedy Center Honors by former president, George Bush, in 2005, while Beyonce received a great honor from our current President Barack Obama when she was asked to sing for the Obamas’ first dance at the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball. Tina has certainly been called one of the greatest, but Beyonce might not be too far behind-earlier this year, the Recording Industry Association of America listed her as the top certified artist of the decade. If she fills Tina shoes, we can look forward to seeing her for at least the next 35 years.

Rihanna-“SOS” might have officially put Rihanna on the map, but her ability to produce number-one hit after hit has kept her there. And for Tina Turner, her musical success over the years kept her relevant as well. A style icon in her heyday, Tina was well known for her spiky, golden hair and daring outfits. In similar fashion, Rihanna’s ever-changing hairstyles and fashion-forward style makes her almost as popular in fashion magazines as she is on iTunes. Former president George Bush may have called Tina’s gams “the most famous in show business,” but Rihanna’s legs are constantly awed upon as well and are reportedly insured for $1 million. They might literally give Tina a run for her money.

VV Brown-English singer VV Brown might be new on the music scene, but it doesn’t look like she’ll be going anywhere soon. She originally started out as a songwriter who used the alias “geeki.” Since then, she has boomed as a singer in a Tina Turner-esque way. Her indie pop songs have done considerably well on the international charts, and some have even been featured in various American TV shows like Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives. She also reportedly said that love pours out on her debut album, Travelling Like the Light, and we all know Tina was no stranger to love, or singing about it. VV’s music also has nice rock edge to it, and since Tina is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, VV might find herself following a similar path as Tina.
—— By: Crystal Tate

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