Within hours of the death of music icon Tina Turner, actress Angela Bassett paid tribute, which just felt right, since Bassett introduced many people to Turner’s story when she portrayed her in the 1993 movie What’s Love Got to Do With It.
“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?” asked Bassett, who was nominated for the 1994 Oscar for Best Actress for the role. “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.”
Bassett’s biopic featured memorable scenes of the physical abuse she endured from her then husband and sometimes partner in music, Ike Turner, who died in 2007. They couldn’t have been easy to watch.
“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,'” Bassett said. “I shall hold these words close to my heart for the rest of my days. 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.”
While Bassett excelled at playing the part of Tina Turner, it took a toll on her.
“It was so demanding, emotionally, every day,” Bassett told Yahoo Entertainment in March 2016. “[There was no] easy day or easy week or easy setup. Every day, every scene, emotionally grueling.”
Sheryl Lee Ralph, Forest Whitaker, Mick Jagger, Viola Davis and more also reacted to the extraordinary loss.