Tina Turner: The Queen of Rock ‘n Roll ‘n Resilience

The power of a name.

Published in
6 min readMay 27


The world mourns and celebrates the life of Tina Turner, the Queen of Rock n Roll. In raw form, every time Tina hit the stage, she pushed the envelopes of rock ‘n roll and resiliency.

Her Name
Research claims that Tina Turner was born Martha Nell Bullock and was nicknamed Anna Mae. She was going by Anna Mae at the time she began her music career. I believe that at some point during her complicated adolescence, Tina received or gave herself the name Anna Mae as a fresh start.

Her Adolescence
In her autobiography, Tina claims that her mother planned to leave her father but then became pregnant. Tina claims that she was not wanted or loved by her parents.

As a young child, Tina’s parents sent her and her two older sisters to live with her grandparents while they went to work for the defense industry during World War II. After the war, the family reunited. However, at age 11, her mother unexpectedly left the family to flee from Tina’s abusive father. At age 13, her father remarried. He moved to Detroit and sent his daughters to live with their maternal grandmother. At age 16, her maternal grandmother passed, and she and her sister (one was now deceased) went to live with their mother in St. Louis.

By age 16, Tina had been tossed around to different homes like yesterday’s laundry. She experienced her mother’s abusive relationship with her father, the abandonment of her mother, the abandonment of her father (after he remarried), the death of an older sister, and her grandmother’s death.

One can only imagine the psychological and emotional effects this would have on a teenager. Again, Anna Mae, or simply Ann, was likely a way for her to remove herself from some of that past.

Courtesy: Sumner High School

Her Adulthood
Resilience Act I.
Despite her complicated childhood, Tina pushed through, graduated from high school, and began frequenting nightclubs with her sister.



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