Angela Bassett mourns Tina Turner, whose life she embodied: ‘Gave us her whole self’

Black and white photos of Tina Turner dancing on stage and Angela Bassett portraying Turner on film
Angela Bassett, right, portrayed Tina Turner in the 1993 biopic “What’s Love Got to Do With It.”
(Phil Ramey / Associated Press, left; Touchstone Pictures, right)
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Angela Bassett bid an emotional farewell Wednesday to music icon Tina Turner, who helped the actor land her first Oscar nomination in 1994.

Hours after news broke that Turner had died after a long illness at age 83, Bassett paid tribute on social media to the “Proud Mary” and “It’s Only Love” hitmaker.

“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?” Bassett wrote on Instagram. “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.”


Grammy-winning Tina Turner was a rock ’n’ roll original with her high-octane, powerful yet soulful voice and iconic hairstyles.

May 24, 2023

The heartfelt caption accompanied a photo of Bassett and Turner laughing together.

In 1993, Bassett starred as Turner in the Brian Gibson-directed biopic “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” Through her portrayal of Turner’s life and career, Bassett earned her first Oscar nomination.

When Bassett received a Titan honor from Time magazine earlier this year, Turner wrote a tribute to the actor, recalling when they met for the film.

“‘She’s perfect,’ I said, and I was right. You never mimicked me,” Turner wrote. “Instead, you reached deep into your soul, found your inner Tina, and showed her to the world.”

Tributes for Tina Turner poured in Wednesday shortly after news of the singer’s death broke. Among those remembering the icon were Mick Jagger, Ciara and Roxane Gay.

May 24, 2023

The singer 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.”

Bassett said the Time tribute was Turner’s final words to her and that she “shall hold these words close to my heart for the rest of my days.”

Bassett, who said she was “humbled to have helped show [Turner] to the world,” added that the singer gave more than music to her fans.


“She gave us her whole self,” she continued. “And Tina Turner is a gift that will always be ‘simply the best.’ Angels sing thee to thy rest...Queen.”

Here are a few of the photos illustrating Tina Turner’s long stint in the spotlight.

May 24, 2023

Bassett was among the numerous Hollywood stars and celebrities paying tribute to Turner on Wednesday. In a statement shared with The Times Wednesday, Bassett’s husband Courtney B. Vance honored Turner as a “Hero. Shero. Revolutionary. Trailblazer. Icon. Mother. Wife.”

Turner’s fellow musicians, including the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood, remembered the singer on Twitter.

“I’m so saddened by the passing of my wonderful friend Tina Turner. She was truly an enormously talented performer and singer,” Jagger tweeted. “She was inspiring, warm, funny and generous. She helped me so much when I was young and I will never forget her.”

Ciara tweeted, “Heaven has gained an angel.”

Also paying tribute on social media were Forest Whitaker, Holly Robinson Peete, Martha Stewart, John Cusack, Mia Farrow, Don Lemon, Diana Ross and Rosario Dawson.