Angela Bassett, who played Tina Turner in 1993’s critically-acclaimed biographical film, What’s Love Got To Do With It?, has broken her silence following the Queen of Rock ‘n Roll‘s shocking death. “How do we say farewell to a woman who owned her pain and trauma and used it as a means to help change the world?” she began in a heartfelt statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “Through her courage in telling her story, her commitment to stay the course in her life, no matter the sacrifice, and her determination to carve out a space in rock and roll for herself and for others who look like her, Tina Turner showed others who lived in fear what a beautiful future filled with love, compassion, and freedom should look like.”
The actress continued on to quote Tina’s essay she wrote for her as she was named a part of Time‘s 100 Most Influential People 2023 class. “Her final words to me — for me — were ‘You never mimicked me. Instead, you reached deep into your soul, found your inner Tina, and showed her to the world.’ I shall hold these words close to my heart for the rest of my days,” Angela reflected.
Angela concluded, “I am honored to have known Tina Turner. I am humbled to have helped show her to the world. So on today, while we mourn the loss of this iconic voice and presence, she gave us more than we could have ever asked. She gave us her whole self. And Tina Turner is a gift that will always be ‘simply the best.’ Angels, sing thee to thy rest…Queen.”
Tina praised Angela’s performance further in her 2023 essay for Time. “First of all, who are they going to find to sing, dance, and act like me? Then, I looked up, saw Angela, and immediately started to smile,” the “Foreign Affair” singer recalled.
She went on to address Angela directly. “Angela, the first time we met, you didn’t look, sound, or move like me — that came later after you worked so hard to make it happen. But even then, I could see that the young woman standing before me had strength, determination, and big, big dreams, just like me,” Tina gushed. “‘She’s perfect,’ I said, and I was right.”
“The Best” hitmaker continued, “That’s your gift, becoming your character with conviction, truth, dignity, and grace, even when it’s painful, and takes everything you have and more. It’s not just acting, it’s being.”
In 2021, Angela admitted portraying Tina was the most challenging role of her career. “Nothing as difficult physically, emotionally, spiritually, vocally. Nothing, absolutely nothing,” she said on PEOPLE magazine’s PEOPLE Every Day podcast in 2021.
A year prior, she reflected on the impact of What’s Love Got To Do With It? during an interview with the American Film Institute. “What’s Love has been inspirational to a lot of people for a number of years. The strength in the person of Tina Turner. The vulnerability, the faith and belief in something and someone. The courage to pull yourself up and to run out, to run for your life, to save yourself, to get yourself out of a bad situation … it takes a great deal of courage to do that,” she explained. “It’s been the experience of many people. It’s hit close to home.”
Although the biopic received rave reviews, Angela did not win the Best Actress Oscar when she was nominated at the 66th Annual Academy Awards. However, she revealed in March that she does not see it as a snub at all. “You know, I was green. I was in my salad days, as they say,” she told Gayle King on CBS Mornings. “Of course, in the moment you’re hoping and praying and wishing [you’ll win], But I never … I don’t walk away thinking ‘I’ve been robbed.’” Holly Hunter ended up winning the trophy for The Piano. Angela received her second Academcy Award nomination in 2023 for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Jamie Lee Curtis won for her role in Everything Everywhere All at Once.
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