It's amazing what the Most High prepares us for, sometimes without us even understanding why. At the top of the year, when some of the people in my world asked me what I would be focusing on in 2020, I said, "I feel the need to praise and support Black men more. That will be my mission." All this year, I've been intentional about complimenting Black men, both young and not-so-young. I've found ways to use my gifts to help them when and wherever I can. I purchased a shirt (that you can get here) that simply says, "Black Men Are Not Your Enemy" (they have one that says the same about Black women too, by the way).
And perhaps, that's why, the moment that I saw the video—the video that will be forever embedded in my brain that I will not be sharing here because I want to be sensitive to those who are triggered by such graphic visuals—I was immediately shook to the point of tears (Darnella Frazier, thank you for your courage in capturing the footage; we know things would be looking very different right now if you hadn't. We're holding you up, sis). Did I really just watch a man, yes, a Black man, die—no, be murdered—on a live video? By a cop? A cop who has a history of using "excessive force" with other civilians (and used to work with George at the same club months before. SMDH)? While three other cops watched? In front of over a dozen bystanders who pleaded with him to get off of George Floyd's neck? As George pleaded the same?
Even now, as I'm writing this, I'm having to take deep breaths because reliving what my brother—our brother—went through is gut-wrenching, heartbreaking and so hard to process, let alone digest. The pic that leads this story? It's selected by design to remind us that he lived the same regular day-to-day life that we all do. As someone who's lost a fiancée, I feel for his. Every time I read about how much of a "gentle giant" he was, I find myself getting triggered all over again. And what did he lose his life over? A freakin' counterfeit twenty dollar bill. One that Mahmod Abumayaleh—the owner of the store where George was last seen alive—said was very possibly one that George didn't even know was fake. One that, either way, shouldn't have resulted in the loss of his life. Have mercy, there are no words. Yet, I will try and find some. So that I can let those who knew and loved him know, in my own small way, that his living—and dying—will not be in vain by sharing these five points and suggestions.
Someone Just Died. Senselessly So. It's OK to Feel…However You Do.
I apologize to everyone expecting to see me on Good Morning America today, but after the events in Minnesota with G… https://t.co/U0TC3uR2g0— Ice Cube (@Ice Cube) 1590669474.0
There is no handbook for shock—or grief. That's why, there is no reason why any of us should feel apologetic about however we feel about George's death. Or how he died. With articles running like, "Prosecutor says he won't 'rush' to charge cops involved in George Floyd death", I totally get why there are Twitter posts like:
Wypipo have been brutalizing, dehumanizing, oppressing, raping, lynching, and murdering Black people in America for… https://t.co/lGJc8T462i— Bishop Talbert Swan (@Bishop Talbert Swan) 1590666990.0
It's also why I appreciate others like:
Oh, Tomi... When people feel they aren’t being heard, they get louder until you can no longer ignore them. Theyre… https://t.co/rLOejdPGZu— Meredith Lee (@Meredith Lee) 1590688695.0
And, while there are actual Black women (what in the world, Candace?! There are more than just white Karens in the world…clearly) who are posting thought-less videos about how Black people are acting like "trained chimpanzees" in response to their pain, I totally understand why actors like John Boyega are standing firm in saying things like this:
“I hate racists—with a passion.” I love seeing @JohnBoyega not only speak truth to power, but do so in such uncompr… https://t.co/fIUBVQcRo4— Jamil Smith (@Jamil Smith) 1590625500.0
Y'all, we have every right to be angry. So, for all of the folks who are using the ever-so-popular, gloss-over-the-problem phrases like, "don't hate, love", please remember that even God Himself got angry, at times. The Bible says, "Be angry and do not sin" (Psalm 4:4, Ephesians 4:26-27). The Bible also says, "SEEK JUSTICE" and "REBUKE THE OPPRESSOR" (yes, I am yelling those phrases—Isaiah 1:17).
By the way, while we're here, one definition of hate is "unwilling". It is not "unloving" to be unwilling to put up with injustice. Please let's stop it with any narrative that presumes otherwise.
Yet what gave me the extra internal push to pen this piece was when I saw videos like the one from this absolutely beautiful young Black man, Keedron Bryant, singing about being "a young Black man, doing all that I can":
And a video that was posted by the Emmy-nominated actor Asante Blackk (who played the younger Kevin Richardson inWhen They See Us), as he shared how his parents' anniversary had a bit of a dim light on it due to how "traumatizing it is, growing up as a young Black man in this country":
Both of these are a very vivid reminder that, every time a life is taken, senselessly so, it has a domino effect. And, just like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes that same village to acknowledge, to mourn, to comfort, to speak up, to defend, to rally—to do what needs to be done to bring about real and lasting change. To do so, yes, as Malcolm X once said, "By any means necessary."
I won't pretend to act like I have even an inkling of all the answers. But as so many of us are sitting in our homes, staring at our computer monitors (or smartphone screens), still in utter disbelief of what this week has brought about, I did want to share a few gentle nudges about what we all can do to keep from being stagnant in our shock, fear, confusion—or all three.
5 Ways to Get Through This Time of Injustice
1. Speak Out
God gave us all gifts and platforms. One of mine is the gift of writing. That's a part of the reason why I thought it would be a slap in the face of my Creator to not use it to say something about this horrific loss. My godchildren's mother wrote a song entitled "We Are Seeds" with a visual that addresses police brutality (and ICE). Maybe you've got a T-shirt line. Maybe you have a podcast or YouTube channel. Even if it's just your social media account, it's not enough to just talk amongst your family members, friends and co-workers.
Author Germany Kent once said, "To say nothing is saying something. You must denounce things you are against or one might believe that you support things you really do not."
Your gifts and platform aren't just for yourself or your own personal gain. You are more powerful than you know. Find a way to speak out about what has transpired—what has been transpiring among our people. Not later. As soon as you possibly can. You never know who you'll motivate and inspire to do the same.
2. Be a “Professional Student” When It Comes to Social Injustice
Something that a friend of mine and I were talking about this week is how there needs to be more leaders when it comes to social injustice and that we ALL need to be willing to become constant students of the issues that affect our community as well. I don't know about y'all, but when I was growing up, I was made to watch the Eyes on the Prize series and march on MLK Day. Ignorance about social justice and injustice was not an option. I didn't have access to the world wide web until college, but now, all sorts of information are at our constant disposal. You can immediately read articles like "Number of people shot to death by the police in the United States from 2017 to 2020, by race", "Risk of being killed by police use of force in the United States by age, race–ethnicity, and sex" and "Addressing Police Misconduct Laws Enforced by the Department of Justice", "Fighting Police Abuse: A Community Action Manual" and "Having 'The Talk': Expert Guidance On Preparing Kids For Police Interactions".
Speak with any lawyers you might know. Read about the laws in your own state. If you personally know a cop, get their insights and perspectives. Soak up as much information as you can. Then pass what you know down to your children. Knowledge will never stop being powerful. Let it fuel you.
3. Encourage Non-Blacks to Be ANTI-RACIST
You don't need me to tell you what it's like to be Black in America or what the headlines have been saying, especially as of late (RIP to you as well, Sir Ahmaud Arbery). As someone who went to a racist "Christian" high school, please believe that this has brought back all kinds of feelings of what it's like to be around people who aren't Black who think they aren't racist when…they actually very much so are. It can be very tempting to want to see all people who don't look like us as an enemy. Yet I must say that I have seen many people who aren't my ethnicity show up and show out during this time. No, it's not because they don't see color (maybe one day, I'll get into how that phrase makes me cringe); it's because they know that all hues deserve honor, respect and dignity. It's because they aren't just "not racist"; they are, as biologist Corina Newsome so powerfully, eloquently and concisely stated in a tweet a few days ago, anti-racist. They don't just think it's OK to not pre (or mis) judge someone based on their ethnicity, they encourage those around them to not be that way too.
There are articles like "Black People Need Stronger White Allies — Here's How You Can Be One", "'Unarmed Black Man' Doesn't Mean What You Think It Means" and "If You're a White Woman and You're Uncomfortable Right Now, That's a Good Thing" out in cyberspace that are sounding the alarm that racism is a human issue, not just a "non-white problem". Listen, I know that some people are intentionally ridiculous, I won't fight you on that. But others need to be educated. They need to hear our thoughts, our perspective—our history (because Lord knows that schools aren't boiling over with Black history and education). Share it.
4. Treat EACH ONE Like They’re the First One
There was absolutely no way that I was going to write without asking us all to take a moment of silence out for Ms. Breonna Taylor. A certified EMT who was killed as officers were in the midst of issuing a no-knock search warrant in a narcotics investigation. After firing 20 shots, with eight hitting Breonna, the officers "realized" they were looking for someone who was already apprehended. This happened on March 13. A lot of us didn't know about it until well into April and even May.
There has been a lot of anger surrounding the fact that, not only did it take so long for her story to become national—and even international—news, but it seems like her name is not being spoken as loudly as George and Ahmad's. I just want to take a moment to say that as a Black woman, her loss literally hits differently. She matters in a very unique and significant way. We will seek her justice, just as much, as well. Because we should never get so used to this kind of recklessness and brutality that everyone just…runs in together. Breonna, you also did not die in vain. We honor you and your legacy. We will not rest until justice is sought out on your behalf too. Rest in peace and power, sis. And Kenneth Walker—Breonna's boyfriend who fought to protect his and Breonna's life and then was unjustly arrested because of it—we appreciate you standing up for the woman you loved. That is manhood infinity. We see you. You are in our prayers.
5. Be Unapologetic About Being Revolutionary
Marc Lamont Hill recently shared his thoughts about George Floyd and the protests surrounding his death on Facebook. His message was entitled, "These Are Not Riots". I won't lie, as I was listening to some of what he said, Public Enemy's "Fight the Power" started to get louder and louder in my head.
As I watched the video, I thought to myself, "George is not a victim so much as he's a martyr." What I mean by that is a martyr is someone who endures great suffering, sometimes to the point of death, oftentimes for a greater cause than they would ever know. What happened this past Memorial Day has clearly lit a fire in so many of us that revolutions— a radical and pervasive change in society and the social structure—are needed sometimes. This, fam, is one of those times.
Regardless of what your personal thoughts and feelings of Cuban revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara may be, one thing that he said is spot-on: "If you tremble with indignation at every injustice then you are a comrade of mine." Just like each church-goer has their own way of praising the Lord, each of us have our own way of seeking justice on behalf of George Floyd and oh so many others. Let's be smart. Let's be safe. But yes, let's be radical too. Because as someone once said, "Nothing changes…if nothing changes."
George, as you cried out for your mother who passed last year in the very last moments of life, I truly believe that angels came to comfort you. I don't know one person, personally, who is not grieving along with your family that remains. Although it's not enough to say, we are so very sorry. Yet please know that this is not a passing news story for the Black community. This has raised a righteous anger and awareness in us that will not leave us any time soon. A change is gonna come. A revolution is in motion. You did not die in vain. From the depths of my heart, I can promise you that. Rest now. We've got you—and Ahmad, Breonna, Tamir, Alton, Sean, Atatiana, Philando, Korryn, Mike, Trayvon and…
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
Amber Riley Is In Her Element
Amber Riley has the type of laugh that sticks with you long after the raspy, rhythmic sounds have ceased. It punctuates her sentences sometimes, whether she’s giving a chuckle to denote the serious nature of something she just said or throwing her head back in rip-roarious laughter after a joke. She laughs as if she understands the fragility of each minute. She chooses laughter often with the understanding that future joy is not guaranteed.
Credit: Ally Green
The sound of her laughter is rivaled only by her singing voice, an emblem of the past and the future resilience of Black women stretched over a few octaves. On Fox’s Glee, her character Mercedes Jones was portrayed, perhaps unfairly, as the vocal duel to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), offering rough, full-throated belts behind her co-star’s smooth, pristine vocals. Riley’s always been more than the singer who could deliver a finishing note, though.
Portraying Effie White, she displayed the dynamic emotions of a song such as “And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going” in Dreamgirls on London’s West End without buckling under the historic weight of her predecessors. With her instrument, John Mayer’s “Gravity” became a religious experience, a belted hymnal full of growls and churchy riffs. In her voice, Nicole Scherzinger once said she heard “the power of God.”
Credit: Ally Green
Riley’s voice has been a staple throughout pop culture for nearly 15 years now. Her tone has become so distinguishable that most viewers of Fox’s The Masked Singer recognized the multihyphenate even before it was revealed that she was Harp, the competition-winning, gold-masked figure with an actual harp strapped to her back.
Still, it wasn’t until recently that Riley began to feel like she’d found her voice. This sounds unbelievable. But she’s not referring to the one she uses on stage. She’s referencing the voice that speaks to who she is at her core. “Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind,” the 37-year-old says. “It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women. I got so comfortable in [doing so], and I really want other people, especially Black women, to get more comfortable in that space.”
“Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind. It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women."
If you ask Riley’s manager, Myisha Brooks, she’ll tell you the foundation of who the multihyphenate is hasn’t changed much since she was a kid growing up in Compton. “She is who she is from when I met her back when she was singing in the front of the church to back when she landed major roles in film and TV,” Brooks says. Time has allowed Riley to grow more comfortable, giving fans a more intimate glimpse into her life, including her mental health journey and the ins and outs of show business.
The actress/singer has been in therapy since 2019, although she suffered from depression and anxiety way before that. In a recent interview with Jason Lee, she recalls having suicidal ideation as a kid. By the time she started seeing a psychologist and taking antidepressants in her thirties, her body had become jittery, a physical reminder of the trauma stacked high inside her. “I was shaking in [my therapist’s] office,” she tells xoNecole. “My fight or flight was on such a high level. I was constantly in survival mode. My heart was beating fast all the time. All I did was sweat.”
There wasn’t just childhood trauma to account for. After auditioning for American Idol and being turned away by producers, Riley began working for Ikea and nearly missed her Glee audition because her car broke down on the highway while en route. Thankfully, Riley had been cast to play Mercedes Jones. American Idol had temporarily convinced her she wasn’t cut out for the entertainment industry, but this was validation that she was right where she belonged. Glee launched in 2009 with the promise of becoming Riley’s big break.
In some ways, it was. The show introduced Riley to millions of fans and catapulted her into major Hollywood circles. But in other ways, it became a reminder of the types of roles Black women, especially those who are plus-sized, are relegated to. Behind the scenes, Riley says she fought for her character "to have a voice" but eventually realized her efforts were useless. "It finally got to a point where I was like, this is not my moment. I'm not who they're choosing, and this is just going to have to be a job for me for now," she says. "And, that's okay because it pays my bills, I still get to be on television, I'm doing more than any other Black plus-sized women that I'm seeing right now on screen."
The actress can recognize now that she was navigating issues associated with trauma and low self-esteem at the time. She now knows that she's long had anxiety and depression and can recognize the ways in which she was triggered by how the cult-like following of the show conflicted with her individual, isolated experiences behind the scenes. But she was in her early '20s back then. She didn't yet have the language or the tools to process how she was feeling.
Riley says she eventually sought out medical intervention. "When you're in Hollywood, and you go to a doctor, they give you pills," she says, sharing a part of her story that she'd never revealed publicly before now. "[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that's not fixing my problem. If anything, it's making it worse."
“[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that’s not fixing my problem. If anything it’s making it worse.”
Credit: Ally Green
At one point, while in her dressing room on set, she rested her arm on a curling iron without realizing it. It wasn't until her makeup artist alerted her that she even realized her skin was burning. Once she noticed, she says she was "so zonked out on pills" that she barely reacted. Speaking today, she holds up her arm and motions towards a scar that remains from the incident. She sought help for her reliance on the pills, but it would still be years before she finally attended therapy.
This stress was only compounded by the trauma of growing up in poverty and the realities of being a "contract worker." "Imagine going from literally one week having to borrow a car to get to set to the next week being on a private jet to New York City," she says. After Glee ended, so did the rides on private planes. The fury of opportunities she expected to follow her appearance on the show failed to materialize. She wasn't even 30 yet, and she was already forced to consider if she'd hit her career peak.
. . .
We’re only four minutes into our Zoom call before Riley delivers her new adage to me. “My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway,” she says.
On this Thursday afternoon in April, the LA-based entertainer is seated inside her closet/dressing room wearing a cerulean blue tank top with matching shorts and eating hot wings. This current phase of healing hinges on balance. It’s about having discipline and consistency, but not at the risk of inflexibility. She was planning to head to the gym, for instance, but she’s still tired from the “exhausting” day before. Instead, she’s spent her day receiving a massage, eating some chicken wings, and planning to spend quality time with friends. “I’m not going to beat myself up for it. I’m not going to talk down to myself. I’m going to eat my chicken wings, and then tomorrow I’m [back] in the gym,” she says.
“My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway."
This is the balance with which she's been approaching much of her life these days. It's why she's worried less about whether or not people see her as someone who is humble. She'd rather be respected. "I think you should be a person that's easy to work with, but in the moments where I have to ruffle feathers and make waves, I'm not shying away from that anymore. You can do it in love, you don't have to be nasty about it, but I had to finally be comfortable with the fact that setting boundaries around my life – in whatever aspect, whether that's personal or business – people are not going to like it. Some people are not going to have nice things to say about you, and you gotta be okay with it," she says.
When Amber talks about the constant humbling of Black women in Hollywood, I think of the entertainers before her who have suffered from this. The brilliant, consistent, overqualified Black women who have spoken of having to fight for opportunities and fair pay. Aretha Franklin. Viola Davis. Tracee Ellis Ross. There's a long list of stars whose success hasn't mirrored their experiences behind the scenes.
Credit: Ally Green
If Black women outside of Hollywood are struggling to decrease the pay gap, so, too, are their wealthier, more famous peers.
Riley says there’s been progress in recent years, but only in small ways and for a limited group of people. “This business is exhausting. The goalpost is constantly moving, and sometimes it’s unfair,” she says. But, I have to say it’s the love that keeps you going.”
“There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman,” she continues. “We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
"There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman. We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
Last year, Riley starred alongside Raven Goodwin in the Lifetime thriller Single Black Female (a modern, diversified take on 1992’s Single White Female). It was more than a leading role for the actress, it also served as proof that someone who looks like her can front a successful project without it hinging on her identity. It showcased that the characters she portrays don’t “have to be about being a big girl. It can just be a regular story.”
Riley sees her work in music as an extension of her efforts to push past the rigid stereotypes in entertainment. Take her appearance on The Masked Singer, for instance. Riley said she decided to perform Mayer’s “Gravity” after being told she couldn’t sing it years earlier. “I wanted to do ‘Gravity’ on Glee. [I] was told no, because that’s not a song that Mercedes would do,” she says. “That was a full circle moment for me, doing that on that show and to hear what it is they had to say.”
As Scherzinger praised the “anointed” performance, a masked Riley began to cry, her chest heaving as she stood on stage, her eyes shielded from view. “You have to understand, I have really big names – casting directors, producers, show creators – that constantly tell me ‘I’m such a big fan. Your talent is unmatched.’ Hire me, then,” she says, reflecting on the moment.
Recently, she’s been in the studio working on original music, the follow-up to her independently-released debut EP, 2020’s Riley. The sequel to songs such as the anthemic “Big Girl Energy” and the reflective ballad “A Moment” on Riley, this new project hones in on the singer’s R&B roots with sensual grooves such as the tentatively titled “All Night.” “You said I wasn’t shit, turns out that I’m the shit. Then you called me a bitch, turns out that I’m that bitch. You said no one would want me, well you should call your homies,” she sings on the tentatively titled “Lately,” a cut about reflecting on a past relationship. From the forthcoming project, xoNecole received five potential tracks. Fans likely already know the strengths and contours of Riley’s vocals, but these new songs are her strongest, most confident offerings as an artist.
“I am so much more comfortable as a writer, and I know who I am as an artist now. I’m evolving as a human being, in general, so I’m way more vulnerable in my music. I’m way more willing to talk about whatever is on my mind. I don’t stop myself from saying what it is I want to say,” she says.
Credit: Ally Green
“Every era and alliteration of Amber, the baseline is ‘Big Girl Energy.’ That’s the name of her company,” her manager Brooks says, referencing the imprint through which Riley releases her music after getting out of a label deal several years ago. “It’s just what she stands for. She’s not just talking about size, it’s in all things. Whether it’s putting your big girl pants on and having to face a boardroom full of executives or sell yourself in front of a casting agent. It’s her trying to achieve the things she wants to do in life.”
Riley says she has big dreams beyond releasing this new music, too. She’d love to star in a rom-com with Winston Duke. She hasn't starred in a biopic yet, but she’d revel in the opportunity to portray Rosetta Tharpe on screen. She’s determined that her previous setbacks won’t stop her from dreaming big.
“I think one of my superpowers is resilience because, at the end of the day, I’m going to kick, scream, cry, cuss, be mad and disappointed, but I’m going to get up and risk having to deal with it all again. It’s worth it for the happy moments,” she says.
If Riley seems more comfortable and confident professionally, it’s because of the work she’s been doing in her personal life.
She’d previously spoken to xoNecole about becoming engaged to a man she discovered in a post on the site, but she called things off last year. For Valentine’s Day, she revealed her new boyfriend publicly. “I decided to post him on Valentine’s Day, partially because I was in the dog house. I got in trouble with him,” she says, half-joking before turning serious. “The breakup was never going to stop me from finding love. Or at least trying. I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness, and you enjoy it and work through it.”
Credit: Ally Green
"I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness and you enjoy it and work through it.”
With her ex, Riley was pretty outspoken about her relationship, even appearing in content for Netflix with him. This time around is different. She’s not hiding her boyfriend of eight months, but she’s more protective of him, especially because he’s a father and isn’t interested in becoming a public figure.
She’s traveling more, too. It’s a deliberate effort on her part to enjoy her money and reject the trauma she’s developed after experiencing poverty in her childhood. “I live in constant fear of being broke. I don’t think you ever don’t remember that trauma or move past that. Now I travel and I’m like, listen, if it goes, it goes. I’m not saying [to] be reckless, but I deserve to enjoy my hard work.”
After everything she’s been through, she certainly deserves to finally let loose a bit. “I have to have a life to live,” she says. “I’ve got to have a life worth fighting for.”
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The 7 Best Tina Turner Quotes About Love, Life, And Legacy
The world has become a little less brighter following the loss of the indomitable force known as Tina Turner.
The legendary singer --who was crowned the Queen of Rock 'N' Roll after captivating many hearts for six decades with her electrifying raspy voice, explosive dance moves, empowering life story, and much more-- died on May 24 at the age of 83 after battling a long illness. Turner's passing was confirmed in a statement released by the star's publicist Bernard Doherty.
In a statement to People magazine, Doherty revealed that Turner had "died peacefully" in her home in Switzerland, which she shared with her husband, music producer Erwin Bach. Doherty also announced that a private funeral service would be held at an undisclosed date for Turner's close family and friends.
"Tina Turner, the 'Queen of Rock'n' Roll,' has died peacefully today at the age of 83 after a long illness in her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland. With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model. There will be a private funeral ceremony attended by close friends and family. Please respect the privacy of her family at this difficult time," the statement read.
Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images
In addition to the public statement, Turner's passing was also confirmed on her social media accounts. Although, at the time, details surrounding Turner's cause of death were limited, it was ultimately revealed that the "River Deep Mountain High" songstress passed away from natural causes. This comes years after Turner underwent a kidney transplant, which her husband donated, and suffering from various health issues. The list included high blood pressure, stroke, and intestinal cancer.
As the news circulated online, many of Turner's close friends and fans paid homage to the icon by expressing how much she meant to them. The list included Angela Bassett --who played Turner in the 1993 film What's Love Got To Do With It-- Beyoncé, Dionne Warwick, Mariah Carey, Ciara, and longtime friend Oprah Winfrey.
In an Instagram post, Winfrey recounted how her friendship with Turner started. The 69-year-old explained that she was a massive fan of the "Proud Mary" vocalist, and upon meeting, the pair's bond would blossom into a decades-long sisterhood.
During that time, Winfrey shared that she was in awe of Turner's resilience from her past childhood traumas and being abandoned by both her parents to how she overcame her violent relationship with ex-husband Ike Turner. The former television host added that Turner's ability to preserve through life's hardships inspired an entire nation.
"I started out as a fan of Tina Turner, then a full-on groupie, following her from show to show around the country, and then, eventually, we became real friends. She is our forever goddess of rock 'n' roll who contained a magnitude of inner strength that grew throughout her life. She was a role model not only for me but for the world. She encouraged a part of me I didn't know existed," Winfrey wrote while honoring her longtime friend.
Photo by Rob Verhorst/Redferns
"Once she claimed her freedom from years of domestic abuse, her life became a clarion call for triumph. I'm grateful for her courage, for showing us what victory looks like wearing Manolo's and a leather miniskirt."
Winfrey wrapped up her words by recalling her conversation with Turner regarding death. The Oprah Winfrey Show host revealed that Turner embraced it because "she had learned how to live surrounded by her beloved husband, Erwin, and friends."
"She once shared with me that when her time came to leave this earth, she would not be afraid, but excited and curious. Because she had learned how to LIVE surrounded by her beloved husband, Erwin, and friends. I am a better woman, a better human, because her life touched mine. She was indeed simply the best," Winfrey stated.
With Turner's untimely death, the "What's Love Got To Do With It" singer leaves behind an immaculate career spanning over 60 years. Alongside her countless hit songs, Turner's past accolades consist of eight Grammy Awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and a Grammy Hall of Fame for three of her songs.
"The Best" songstress' other achievements included Turner earning her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, becoming a double inductee in the Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame once in 1991 with Ike Turner, and again in 2021 as a solo artist, etc.
Turner is survived by her husband, Erwin Bach, many friends, and fans. Turner had four sons, two of whom she adopted while married to Ike. Her biological sons, Craig and Ronnie, both sadly passed away in recent years. To date, it is unclear if Turner has mended her relationship with her two adopted sons, who belonged to her ex-husband Ike Turner.
Turner’s music has impacted many people thanks to the beautiful storytelling and powerful words. In honor of Turner's legacy, xoNecole is looking back at her most memorable quotes on life, love, aging, and beauty over the years.
Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Tina On Life
"If you are unhappy with anything…Whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you'll find that when you're free, your true creativity, your true self, comes out."
-via 1986 interview with Ebony magazine.
Tina On Love
"He [Erwin] shows me that true love doesn't require the dimming of my light so that he can shine. On the contrary, we are the light of each other's lives, and we want to shine as bright as we can, together."
via Turner's book, Happiness Becomes You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good.
Tina On Her Greatest Beauty Secret
"My greatest beauty secret is being happy with myself. It's a mistake to think you are what you put on yourself. I believe that a lot of how you look has to do with how you feel about yourself and your life."
-via 2016 interview with Woman & Homemagazine.
Tina Turner - What's Love Got To Do With It (Official Music Video)
Tina On Aging
"Fifty is the new 30. Seventy is the new 50. There are no rules that say you have to dress a certain way, or be a certain way. We are living in exciting times for women. Keep up with fashion, keep up with your figure and the clothes you wear. If you look good and you can still do it, then go and do it. I have never worried about age."
-via 2009 interview with the Daily Express.
Tina On Death
"Even when it's time to go and leave to another planet, I'm excited about that because I'm curious to know what it is about. Nobody can tell you because nobody has come back. I'm not excited to die, but I don't regret it when it's time for me. I've done what I came here to do. Now is [time for] pleasure. I've got great friends. I have a great man in my life now. I have a great husband, and I'm happy."
-via 2013 interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Tina On The Legacy She's Leaving Behind
"My legacy is that I stayed on course from the beginning to the end because I believed in something inside of me that told me that it can get better…So my legacy is a person that strived for wanting it better and got it."
-via 2013 Oprah interview.
Tina On How She Would Want To Be Remembered
"As the Queen of Rock 'N' Roll. As a woman who showed other women that it is OK to strive for success on their own terms."
via April 2023 interview with The Guardian.
Although xoNecole and the world are mourning the loss of the incredible Tina Turner, it is humbling to know that she accomplished so many things, personally and professionally, during her time here and continues to show why she was, in fact, "simply the best," even after death.
We will miss you, Queen. Rest in Power!
Tina Turner - The Best (Official Music Video)
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Feature image by Paul Natkin/Getty Images