‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’ star Angela Bassett pays tribute to Tina Turner, remembers last words to her

The late great Tina Turner leaves behind an incredible legacy — she inspired countless women and performers who followed her. One star who was directly impacted by Turner was actress Angela Bassett, who portrayed the singer in the 1993 biopic What’s Love Got to Do With It.

After Turner’s passing yesterday, Bassett shared her own tribute to the iconic musician — and revealed the “final words” she shared with her.

American Singer Tina Turner (Photo by DENIZE alain/Sygma via Getty Images)

What’s Love Got to Do With It, adapted from Turner’s autobiography, is a film about Tina Turner’s life, her escape from her abusive marriage to music partner Ike Turner and her journey to self-worth and independence as a solo artist.

The movie was a critical and commercial hit: both Bassett and Laurence Fishburne received Oscar nominations for their performances as Tina and Ike Turner. It is still regarded as one of Bassett’s best performances.


The initial reaction from the real-life Turners was mixed: they both praised the performances but cited inaccuracies, and at the time Tina Turner disliked that the film portrayed her as a “victim.” However, the film brought the iconic artist’s inspiring life story to a wide audience.

When Bassett, now 64, was listed as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2023, Turner praised Bassett’s performance.

Writing that she was “skeptical” about someone portraying her in a movie, she had a feeling Bassett would be a good match: “I looked up, saw Angela, and immediately started to smile,” Turner recalled.

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“Angela, the first time we met, you didn’t look, sound, or move like me—that came later after you worked so hard to make it happen. But even then, I could see that the young woman standing before me had strength, determination, and big, big dreams, just like me,” Turner wrote in TIME.

“You never mimicked me. Instead, you reached deep into your soul, found your inner Tina, and showed her to the world… You honor all the women you play, just as you honored me. And you’re still perfect.”

After Turner died yesterday at the age of 83, Bassett shared a touching tribute to the “What’s Love Got To Do With It” singer on Instagram.

“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?” Bassett wrote. “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 also revealed the artist’s “last words” to her: “You never mimicked me. Instead, you reached deep into your soul, found your inner Tina, and showed her to the world,” Bassett recalled Turner telling her of her performance.

“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.”

CLEVELAND, OHIO – OCTOBER 30: Angela Bassett inducts Tina Turner onstage during the 36th Annual Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on October 30, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Kevin Kane/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame )

Tina Turner was an incredible singer who will be missed by so many, and Bassett’s performance in What’s Love Got To Do With It helped bring her inspiring story to the world — a touching tribute from one great artist to another.

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