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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Guardian readers

‘An inspiration to women around the world’: readers remember Tina Turner

Tina Turner tributes flowers outside Aldwych theatre, London, where Tina: The Musical is currently playing.
Tina Turner tributes flowers outside Aldwych theatre, London, where Tina: The Musical is currently playing. Photograph: Vuk Valcic/ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock

‘My mum and I bonded over her’

Lenneke and her mother.
Lenneke and her mother. Photograph: Guardian Community

I saw Tina Turner in August 1990, at a concert in Utrecht, the Netherlands. I was 20 and a veterinary science student. My mum was a Tina fan and asked me to go. I needed convincing, but Gary Moore was the warm-up act. It was a special bonding experience for us and I have admired Tina ever since. My mum was 60 at the time and had never experienced anything like it. We went to another Tina concert in Rotterdam together and recently to Tina the musical in London in 2019. My first thought when I heard about her passing was to phone my mum. Lenneke Boss-van der Houwen, 52, from the Netherlands, now living in Wolverhampton

‘Her performance was utterly mesmerising’

Around 1970 I went to the see a film at the military base where I lived with my parents. I was just entering high school, and, obsessed with classical music, I was studying the violin. The film was Gimme Shelter – the Maysles brothers’ documentary on the notorious Rolling Stones Altamont concert. One of the supporting acts we were given a glimpse of was Ike and Tina Turner. Her performance was a slow-burn bluesy classic, but her performance was utterly mesmerising. I was hooked.

Years later, she had left Ike and came out to do a show in Johannesburg, where I had just begun working. I blew my meagre salary on the ticket to see her live and, naturally, we gave her a long standing ovation. Years later, I returned to Joburg after many years in London, and she returned to perform to a packed stadium this time. She sat down to deliver Let’s Stay Together – but it was an emotional moment for me, as it was her collaboration with the BEF on the song that began her relaunch to megastardom, and her rendition of the song is so uplifting. Cyril Schumann, 66, Cape Town

‘I was naughty sneaking backstage, but I was rewarded’

Sheila Motani
Sheila Motani Photograph: Guardian Community team

I snuck in to watch Tina Turner rehearse in 1999 for the Mobo awards at the Royal Albert Hall. She caught me watching her from the side and gave me a thumbs up to ask if all was OK. I gave her a thumbs up and she gave me the most gorgeous smile and laugh. I was naughty sneaking in, but I was rewarded.

In all the stories I heard about her while working in the live music industry, she was kind and would acknowledge you if you were an usher or an artistic director at a theatre. A friend told me they worked at a charity concert where she performed in London during the 1990s for which they weren’t paid. But she acknowledged their work and put an envelope in their pocket with some £50 notes to show her appreciation. I will miss her. Sheila Motani, 54, Forest Hill, London

‘I’m forever grateful to Tina’

My mother, who just turned 67, is one of the world’s biggest Tina Turner fans. Both of us love the music, but for my mum it was more than that. My mother survived an abusive relationship with my father in the 70s and early 80s, and eventually found a way to escape, put herself through school and raise her children in a safe and loving environment, while reclaiming her independence and womanhood. Tina was an inspiration to my mum and to thousands of women around the world who used her story to guide them out of the cycle of abuse. My mum loved the Angela Bassett biopic, and she also got the chance to see Tina in concert twice. Earlier this year, I took her to see the play based on Tina’s life, and it was a strong bonding moment for us. I think my mom would have triumphed in life regardless, but having Tina as a role model helped show her how to be a strong, fierce, resilient woman. I’m forever grateful for my mother’s strength, and thus I’m forever grateful to Tina, for providing a roadmap of how to get there. Nick, 43, Orlando, Florida

‘My wife loved Tina for her music and what she represented’

My wife had left a previous abusive marriage when she discovered her inner strength. I could never equate the feisty assertive bugger I knew with one who had previously been victimised. Sandi loved Tina for both her music and for what she represented.

The finale to Sandi’s funeral in 2014 was Simply the Best, played at full volume, with her having left instructions – not a request – that the mourners were to sing along with gusto, with copies of the lyrics provided. I now feel quite emotional over Tina’s death, simply on the basis of that connection. Graeme, 62, Yorkshire

‘I sat right at the front – about as close to Tina as you can get’

Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson Photograph: Guardian Community

I grew up loving Ike and Tina Turner. Then, in 1983, I saw Tina in concert at St David’s Hall, Cardiff, on a wet weekday evening. It was shortly before Let’s Stay Together was released so the hall was two thirds empty and I was sat in the second row right at the front – about as close to Tina as you can get!

A year later I went to another Tina Turner concert although this time it was me and about 60,000 other people. But she gave as much to the two-thirds-empty hall as she did to the packed arena. Both were magical evenings. Mark Thompson, Riyadh

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