Tina Turner – a year on

Tina Turner – a year on

Exactly a year on from her death, Lance Casely-Hayford reflects on the impact and importance of not just Tina Turner’s music, but her attitude of hope, Resilience, Victory, and charity work. Especially after dealing with the effects of domestic abuse (or intimate partner violence).


Her music almost needs no introduction: from Proud Mary (1970), or What’s Love Got To Do With It (1984) to The Best(1989) and many more. She lent her powerful vocal ability to the James Bond 007 franchise GoldenEye (1995). By the time of the last show of her goodbye tour in Sheffield 2009 she was nearly age 70. Every performance was fun and high energy. With 100 million records sold worldwide, she was the first artist to have a top 10 song over 7 consecutive decades in the UK. 35 of them.

In 2021, during a lockdown 200 miles apart, my mother and I watched ‘Tina’, a new documentary about her life in her own words, from the perspective of an Anna Mae Bullock, who’d lived quite the life. Her music was near the top of the list of getting my mother through a divorce after an abusive marriage. And her stoic outlook on life during and after abuse is something I identify with myself.

The biographical 1993 film What’s Love Got To Do With It, starring Oscar-nominated Angela Bassett as Tina Turner, depicts the many shocking experiences at the hands of her husband. As does the recent West End musical. The domestic abuse charity, Refuge, partnered with the musical for their 50th anniversary.

So, upon hearing of Tina Turner’s death – with her voice breaking – my mother left me a voice message making sure I was aware. I’d already heard the news by the time she’d informed me. And I too was nearing tears. Later in the day, we chatted for hours about Tina, the importance of her music as an escape and source of strength, and spoke of our own experiences.

In a written interview with the Today [Show] in the US, when asked if she was, “What do you want your legacy to be?” Tina Turner answered:

That I’ve created hope where there was none, and kept moving forward, no matter what, with my chin held high. I’ve created a happy life by believing in myself. And I’ve done my best to bring love and inspiration to other people, to show everyone there is more joy in their hearts, more they can do, more they can be, when they believe in themselves too.

It isn’t a given that those who have endured abuse will heal 100% from the deeply scarring experiences. Many don’t and it alters one’s life forever. However, we should never underestimate the importance of sharing of Anna Mae Bullock’s legacy, and the stories of those who are have endured. Neither must we forget the preventable deaths of those who’ve been killed – the overwhelming number being women – by their intimate partners.

The sharing of her story can lead to many being able to spot signs, reach out for help, and leave.

I can only hope that sometime in the future, society will do better by those who have been dealt such cards by understanding how and why it happens. And creating better environments post-abuse, for victims to thrive.

An actress, singer, and entertainer: The Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll is dead. Long live her music, her unbreakable spirit to survive in seemingly inescapable adversity. Long live the building of something out of nothing; Long live the energy on stage; the love for her fans; and the iconography.

A year on, here’s a playlist of my favourite songs of hers:

Getting or reaching out for help: more info –


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