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Writer Katori Hall remembers the legendary Tina Turner

The playwright responsible for the book of “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” shares her memory of the Queen of Rock ’n‘ Roll.

(L-R) Katori Hall and Tina Turner (Credit: Courtesy of Polk & Co.)

That voice — cured in southern soil fertilized by the blood of a people well acquainted with the wails of loss. That story — a whisper turned into a roar. That hair — always one of one. And them legs, oh them legs, so long they could run their way into tomorrow. There is the musical genius we call the Queen of Rock and Roll Tina Turner, and there is the little Black girl born Anna Mae Bullock. I count myself blessed to have danced with both.

“You must be pregnant.” I don’t know if that was Tina Turner or Anna Mae talking to me. Methinks it was the latter, as I felt totally at home chatting with this sister-girl from the South. No subject matter was off limits during our interview-turned-kiki at her home in Switzerland. As a book-writer I had been tasked with the impossible — to help retell her triumphant comeback story in musical theater form while weaving in over 20 iconic songs. You see, five hours in, nausea was rising with the setting of the sun, but I promptly waved away the pregnancy possibility as jetlag and pressed on as we talked about it all. The music. The pain. The questions left unanswered. The prayers, too.

It was her candidness and fierce transparency that allowed us to work together with such ease.  The countless hours I spent talking to her reshaped “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” into an emotional juggernaut of tears and triumph. There is something magical when our heroes are as relatable as they are untouchable, as human as they are immortal.

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