Tina Turner’s roots in the Mid-South remembered in the wake of her death

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 7:49 PM CDT|Updated: May. 26, 2023 at 4:29 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Tina Turner’s music, both eclectic and electrifying, defined a generation from “What’s Love Got To Do With It” to “Proud Mary.”

The world continues to mourn the death of the 83-year-old entertainer, whose life has been a beacon of triumph for so many.

Despite being front and center on a world stage, Turner never forgot her small-town roots in the Mid-South.

She performed in the Mid-South on several occasions.

From the Hilton Rainbow Room to the Mid-South Coliseum, but even if you didn’t get a chance to see the high-flying whirlwind that was her stage performance, there are multiple places you can go to remember the music legend.

The Jack Robinson Art Gallery is home to photos taken of the young star in New York City in 1969.

Jack Robinson was working for Vogue when he took a slew of photos that are now on display at the downtown Memphis gallery.

A gold dress worn during a performance at the Paradise Club in Memphis is a permanent piece at Stax Museum in Soulsville.

The museum in Brownsville, Tennessee dedicated to the homegrown star has been flooded with fans since news of Turner’s death. But for longtime Brownsville resident Cheryl Cole, Tina Turner was just Anna Mae.” I had relatives who knew Tina, and every time she would come to town to do a concert in the Memphis area, we would all get to go,” said Cole.

Cole’s favorite memory... was when Ike and Tina Turner snuck back into town without anyone knowing.

“My mom and my aunt just started screaming and my sister and I and the kids were in the backseat going oh my gosh what’s going on,” said Cole.

Cole says Turner was homesick.

Cole says it’s a testament to what her small-town Tennessee roots meant to her career.

One of her biggest hits, “Nutbush City Limits”, was dedicated to her small town in Haywood County.

Tina Turner would go on to become one of the biggest superstars in the world and as WDIA radio personality Bev Johnson recalls a game-changer for women.

“She went from Nutbush, Tennessee to Switzerland and I think about for women what an honor to have known Tina and hear her story because it will help you to survive your own story,” said Johnson.

What immortalized Tina was not just her music...it was her tenacity. She endured so much pain and suffering, but in the end, it was her passion for performance and her will to survive that made her ‘simply the best.’

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