Season 3 – epiBLOG 8:
“What’s love got to do, got to do with it…” Can’t you just hear the song playing now? I’ll never forget my attempt to lip sync the popular hit “What’s Love Got to Do With It“ back in the 80s for a fourth grade talent show. I was definitely pretty shy back then. I couldn’t even make it past the first round of the song in front of my class, let alone performing for the entire school.
Well, years have gone by. The stage fright that I experienced many years ago seems to be a stranger’s reality; not mine. Speaking in front of audiences or students is definitely not a fear any longer. It actually invigorates me — speaking and connecting with people, not the fear.
Today’s topic is in celebration of Black History Month 2017. I want to pay tribute to a wonderful singer and artist who we can all learn from. The one and only infamous icon known as Tina Turner!
Some of you millennials may have not heard of this great vocalist, but she is worth googling and finding out more about! It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, a painter, a chef, a sculptor, or a musician in another genre; we can all learn some lessons from Mrs. Tina Turner.
There are times when we often think that the challenges in our personal lives are too much to overcome when moving forward to pursue our love of our respective art. We let money (or the lack thereof), our insecurities, lack of knowledge, and sometimes a subconscious sense of entitlement stops us from living up to our fullest potential.
Sometimes we are waiting for someone to come and rescue us from our lives, and to deliver us to our desired destinations. However, the power lies within us. These are lessons that I thought I understood my entire adult life, but I’ve been having a series of epiphanies lately based on the books that I’ve been reading.
We have to peel away the layers of obstacles that are keeping us from seeing all that is in front of us right now. These layers are serving almost like blinds on our windows at home. They keep out the light that we actually need to use to thrive on. Can you imagine what it would be like to be a striving musician in the 1950s and 1960s like Tina had to be? Or any artist, for that matter. There wasn’t an iTunes, YouTube or Instagram to showcase to the entire world what you could do and what you were all about.
How fortunate are we to be living during a time when we have so many tools that can help us to move forward without the need to depend on others giving us permission to do so?
No matter what, persistence, tenacity, working smart and hard, and connecting with the right people are still part of the necessary ingredients to reach your personal and career goals. Now add the obstacles of being female and black in the 50s and 60s. I couldn’t imagine. I mean, I am Black and female, so that is easy to imagine. However, being Black and female in 1950s and 1960s America is another experience altogether.
Tina Turner was born to sharecroppers in 1939; her parents split up, and Tina and her sister were raised by her grandmother. After her grandmother passed away, Tina moved to St. Louis to live with her mother.
She “quickly immersed herself in St. Louis’s R&B scene, spending much of her time at Club Manhattan. It was there, in 1956, that she met rock-and-roll pioneer Ike Turner, who often played at the club with the Kings of Rhythm.” (Biography.com) As she moved forward doing what she loves, she got connected with others to help propel her career.
“In 1960, when another singer failed to show up for a Kings of Rhythm recording session, Turner sang the lead on a track titled “A Fool in Love.” The record was then sent to a radio station in New York, and was released under the moniker ‘Ike and Tina Turner.’” (Biography.com) Timing is everything, so you have to be prepared when opportunity is presented to you. Ike and Tina experienced a tremendous amount of success throughout the 1960s, releasing a hit song like “Proud Mary” and touring as the opening act for the Rolling Stones in 1969.
Things seemed to have been going great for the duo, so much so that they even got married during their rise to fame.
Although Ike and Tina performed well together, it wasn’t long before Tina would learn that Ike would become an abusive husband. Obviously another obstacle along her journey. See, obstacles we can’t always avoid, but what we can do is work towards choosing the life that we want for ourselves (much like Tina did when choosing to get a divorce), creating art, and appreciating the good that already exist within our lives; this gift that we have directly in front of us called “right now.”
There is always something that we can be grateful for, even under the most annoying and tough of circumstances. Tina’s obstacle might have been figuring out a way to be free from her abusive relationship, while another person’s challenge is not being able to make enough money. I always thought that I had a grateful spirit, but actually being able to focus on gratitude in the present, despite annoying obstacles and roadblocks has strengthened my character and is helping me to be at peace. No matter what your circumstances are, work hard towards focusing on the “good,” and to be grateful that you found some good that you can even acknowledge.
Tina got out of that marriage, worked, and raised four children. Tina’s divorce was finalized in 1978, and just a few years later, she made a huge comeback with her album “Private Dancer,” making a splash in 1984. (And, yes, this was the album that contained the song “What’s Love Got to Do With It” that I failed miserably at performing in front of my fourth grade class). This album not only sold 20 million copies worldwide, but it went on to win four Grammy Awards… all without her abusive husband.
I invite you to do some research on Tina Turner. She not only is a talented singer, but an inspiration to artists in every industry.
Today’s LESSON is to never accept defeat in the face of adversity.
FUN ASSIGNMENT: Research a well-established artist within your industry. Read at least one autobiography, biography, or valid online content about this person. This experience will give you a different perspective through their eyes, and will possibly give you some insight so that you can learn and grow in your respective field.