During her 2005 Kennedy Center Honors performance, megastar singer Beyoncé Knowles-Carter revealed there’s not one, but two important women named Tina who impacted her life: one being her mother, designer Tina Knowles, the other, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Tina Turner.
Three years later at the 50th annual Grammy Awards, Beyoncé and Turner surprised millions. The pair shared the stage that night for a crowd-rousing rendition of Turner’s internationally popular hit “Proud Mary.” After several years away from the stage in retirement, the leggy legend did not miss a beat, in full energetic step with her younger peer. And that’s when the comparisons started.
The similarities are evident. Both Beyoncé and Turner are fierce performers with an affinity for tight shimmery outfits and wind-blown blonde locks. Each of them seemingly morph into aggressive alternate personalities while entertaining sold-out arenas across the globe, Turner the best-selling live performer of all time.
Houston, TX native Beyoncé was introduced to the masses in 1998 as lead singer of Destiny’s Child, one of the top-selling all female groups in history. The tandems behind the scenes turmoil became much-discussed news and public knowledge. As a solo act, Beyoncé has sold an estimated 75 million albums worldwide, and counting. Maybe more staggering is the number of times she and husband Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter are mentioned in the news each week.
Tina Turner, born Anna Mae Bullock in Nutbush, TN, got started in the late 1950s fronting a band led by her late ex-husband, Ike Turner. Their rocky professional and person relationship included a number of musical, and sadly, physical hits. The darkest details of her private life uncovered. A vulnerable Turner found her edge as a solo act. Having endured the worst, she would go on to become “Simply the Best,” an inspirational, hit-making icon selling more than 100 million records.
Flamboyant, incredibly hard-working, and physically fit, Beyoncé exudes a familiar no nonsense moxie, one aptly associated with the age-defying Tuner. Like Tina, she’s an admired, revered standard bearer with a reputation for captivating.
Undoubtedly, there are noticeable similarities. In the same respect there’s strikingly obvious differences. So by comparison and for the sake of the argument, is Beyoncé the Tina Turner of this generation? SoulTrain.com posed this question to a few top names in the recording industry. Here is how they responded.
“I think Beyoncé is incredible and has worked her ass off to get where she is. I think every great artist is inspired by someone before them, and I can definitely see certain parallels, but again, Tina Turner ventured down a lane that no other African American female artist or, in some cases, any artist period, had traveled in that genre and in the landscape of music. That amount of success is historic. There are only a few who are in that club, and Tina turner is the original Queen of Rock!” –Malina Moye
“I think Beyoncé is definitely in the same mindset of strength. Not sure that there is anyone since this icon that represents the trials and tribulations, and then the victories of a Tina Turner though. She is one of a kind! And, yes, in her own words, simply the best!” –Cheryl Pepsii Riley
“Yes and no. Beyoncé parallels Tina in a few ways, such as popularity, stage performance and body image. I feel that Tina had better messages and was a better example for young women like me. Beyoncé was closer to a Tina Turner a few years ago. Recently, B’s songs and ratchetness have been a deal breaker for me. Tina didn’t have to go that route.” –Nik West
“There is only one Tina Turner. But I will say that Beyoncé has learned and emulated Tina Turner, from her stage presence, to movements, and presentation. I think that is the natural state of an evolving artist, is to emulate and learn from the “masters”—the ones that have come before. Tina Turner paved a way for many, and yes, Beyoncé is carrying the torch while marking her pathway of being an idol as well, if not already. Furthermore, we all stand on the shoulders of those that have come before, while allowing our individual voice to be heard and purpose in this life to be fulfilled. I thank Tina Turner for blazing the pathway for female entertainers and black women, depicting the idea of not being confined to the norm, but to step beyond the conventional into the beauty of unconventional of your authentic voice and self.” —Tia Fuller
“This depends if we’re talking musically or privately! Musically, I don’t believe Beyoncé is there yet. Tina crossed boundaries from R&B into rock and pop as an artist—and more specifically as a female artist—that Beyoncé hasn’t even started to approach. Beyoncé has seemed to dive deeper into the hip-hop and urban genre. Rather than branching out, she stays in her lane and doesn’t seem concerned about building fans across genres. This is a huge difference in my opinion. And as big as Beyoncé is, her legacy will only be counted in the pop/R&B genre. Now, if we’re talking about private lives, Beyoncé is unfortunately more closely aligned with Tina, only because we know so much about Beyoncé’s life via social and general media outlets. Tina’s tumultuous life wasn’t well known about until her story reached movie status, but nonetheless, there seem to be parallels in her and Beyoncé’s adult lives. Jay-Z even tastelessly references Tina’s relationship with Ike by rapping ‘eat the cake, Anna Mae’ in their duet ‘Drunk in Love.’ I think they probably believe they are the Ike and Tina of this generation, but I personally don’t buy it!” –Krystle Ramos
“I would say she definitely has a fire like Tina, and I would give her props in that way. Both ladies are beautiful, talented and iconic, but I don’t think it’s fair to compare the two as artists, as women, or especially as performers. Beyoncé and Tina come from two different places in life and time. A business woman is a business woman, but as it relates to the music industry, Tina has paved the way for many performers. She didn’t have stage presence, she was and still is stage presence. Still, there is no replacing Tina in any generation. She is raw talent, pure emotion and an experience all her own. There’s only one Tina Turner and no one can duplicate her.” —Cece Peniston
“Absolutely! They’re both fierce!” – Victoria Monet
Do you think Beyoncé is this generations Tina Turner? Join the discussion on Facebook or on Twitter @SoulTrain.
—Mr. Joe Walker
Known as “The Word Heavyweight Champion”, Mr. Joe Walker is a biographer, author, and columnist, currently a senior writer for SoulTrain.com, staff writer for Muskegon Tribune Newspaper, and writer of popular Concrete Magazine blog “Tinna: See”. Also co-creator of TheGrooveSpot.com, Walker’s acclaimed, award-winning work has been published thousands of times regionally, nationally, internationally, and online. Follow him on Twitter @mrjoewalker, connect with him on Facebook, and also visit his blog ByMrJoeWalker.blogspot.com.