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She’s simply the best. A new documentary on HBO (called, simply, “Tina”) explores Tina Turner’s tremendous triumphs, but we wanted to go deeper. We talk about how her entire career was an act of repossession: Taking back her name, her voice, her image, her vitality and her spirituality made her one of the biggest rock stars in the world, even in her 50s.
On Today’s Episode
Wesley’s ‘We, Tina’ playlist
Wesley compiled his all-time favorite Tina Turner tracks onto a playlist. Have a listen.
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The music icon’s life onscreen
For many, Jenna included, the movie “What’s Love Got to Do With It” (1993) has been their biggest reference point for Tina Turner up until this point. The biopic, which stars Angela Bassett as Turner, follows the artist’s life with her abusive first husband, Ike Turner.
After watching “Tina” (2021), a documentary that recently dropped on HBO Max, Jenna realized how much of the singer’s narrative is missing from the 1993 film.
“As incredible as that movie is, it’s not sufficient for her life story,” Jenna said. “It’s so painful to watch. It doesn’t lean enough into how much she shaped and changed music.”
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Her liberating live performances
“Tina Turner is someone I regret never seeing live,” Jenna said. Her live performances were electric — like her 1988 concert in Rio de Janeiro. She was 48 at the time, on a tour that spanned over 200 dates. She was as fit and vibrant as ever, performing to a record-breaking crowd of over 180,000 people. Wesley remarked, “I mean, just to be one of those people screaming Tina Turner’s name. …”
Hosted by: Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris
Produced by: Elyssa Dudley and Mahima Chablani
Edited by: Sara Sarasohn and Sasha Weiss
Engineered by: Marion Lozano
Executive Producer, Shows: Wendy Dorr
Executive Editor, Newsroom Audio: Lisa Tobin
Assistant Managing Editor: Sam Dolnick
Special thanks: Nora Keller, Julia Simon, Mahima Chablani and Desiree Ibekwe
Wesley Morris is a critic at large. He was awarded the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for his criticism while at The Boston Globe. He has also worked at Grantland, The San Francisco Chronicle and The San Francisco Examiner. @wesley_morris
Jenna Wortham is a staff writer for The Times Magazine and co-editor of the book “Black Futures” with Kimberly Drew. @jennydeluxe