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So, what do we do with our lives
We leave only a mark
Will our story shine like a light or end in the dark?
Give it all or nothing

Her voice was always on the radio during car rides. I was allowed to watch her music videos and had seen Mad Max Thunderdome though I didn’t appreciate the franchise and Aunty Entity until much later.

When I was born or able to comprehend music, she had taken control of her life as Tina. While her voice was familiar to me, her story was not. Only when I was a freshman in high school and tasked with a drama class assignment it was something about performing a scene from a recent film. That’s when I saw Whats Love Got To Do With It.

As hard as the film is to watch, I could not look away from the rough scenes. I got through knowing it was acting, but knowing what happened to Tina and how she survived and overcame so much abuse helped offer my fourteen-year-old self the courage to perform Proud Mary as portrayed in the film for my drama class assignment.

My teacher was known for not liking 9th-grade students. His happiness lay with his actual performers and school plays. One of my classmates, Michelle, was a well-known gangster who was not meant to be trifled with. She wore locs in class, khakis, and a black shirt and always made sure her red bandana was showing. Think of Lady of Rage dealing with this class.

I was nervous but channeled Tina’s strength. I had practiced my routine every chance I could and in heels the way Tina just did and the way only Angela Bassett could closely portray. As I lip-sung to Proud Mary and toot toot tooted through my routine, I expected mocking laughter but, I kept envisioning myself as Tina. instead of being poked fun of, my teacher smiled and applauded my performance, and Michelle embraced me as a freshman little sister.

In the following years, I wore my Tina Turner cassette tapes down.

And I cursed every venue marquis displaying Ike Turner’s name when he played along the 60fwy in Los Angeles County. I hated how I was closer to his presence at the time than Tina’s and wondered if I’d ever be able to see her the way the world was experiencing her on stages worldwide.

When I first heard Élishia Sharie, she gave me goosebumps with her voice, and it’s likeness to Tina’s. And Élishia credits Tina Turner as one of her main inspirations.

Recently, when gathering inspiration for my first photo slam, with the post-apocalypse theme, Tina as Aunty Entity was in mind, and her badassery channeled.

It’s gutting to lose such an icon. Black women with mighty voices often have to prove themselves more than anyone. Tina set trials on fire throughout her life to be heard and respected, especially as a Black woman in rock n’ roll. Tina never gave up on herself.

That’s it. We don’t need any other hero. Tina didn’t.

Her voice has been playing on the radio again. Shaking the universe as her voice joined the ethereal choir. A spirit guide was gained.

Thank you for your voice, your display of strength and passion Queen. Warrior.

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