Tina Turner’s legacy as a Triple Threat Icon


Today, an icon in music and film passed away. Tina Turner, known as the Queen of Rock and Roll, is more than a singer and dancer. She is an actress and storyteller. On screen, she is a force to be reckoned with in roles big and small. Behind the scenes, she tells her story, which led to a career-making role Angela Basset in a film that shows the struggle he had to endure to become the legend that he was and always will be. From his legendary villain role in Mad Max Outside the Thunderdome for her lesser-known role as the Sour Queen in TommyTina Turner set the standard for being both a musician and an actor.

The name Tina Turner evokes a sense of awe and empowerment. When one hears his name, the first thought that comes to mind is music. People of earlier generations probably thought of “River Deep, Mountain High” or “Rollin on the River.” Xennials and Millennials may think of the song “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” as well as a film of the same name starring Bassett. Regardless of the specific things that come to mind, there is a feeling that goes with it. Strength, courage and power—these are the words that embody the name Tina Turner. The name she fought so hard for is one that will go down in history as one of the greatest female artists of all time. The key word is player, of course. She is an amazing actress apart from being a singer, songwriter, and dancer. She is a woman who can do it all, and she does, especially in this post-apocalyptic 1980s classic, Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome.


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Tina Turner Breaks Barriers as Entity Aunt in ‘Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome’

Tina Turner as Entity Aunt in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
Image via Warner Bros.

When Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome’ Released in 1985, it was rare to see a black woman in the lead role in a sci-fi/action blockbuster film. That in and of itself makes the role of The Aunt Entity memorable, but it’s Tina Turner’s performance that cements it. Written as a gray villain, Aunt Entity’s role in the film was meant to be more than just “bad woman”. There’s depth and consideration that went into writing the characters.

In a 1985 interview with Ann Billson of Time Out magazine, director George Miller stating, “We don’t want to fall into the pretty clichéd kind of bad guy. And we have a saying that today’s tyrants are yesterday’s heroes. And if you really look at the rhythm of things, that’s what a lot of times is.” the way they decided to cast Tina Turner in the role. Her star power and natural energy brought the rich duality to the character that the creative team was looking for. Her portrayal of the Aunt Entity is easily the best part of the film, which would suffer in Turner’s absence. His performance goes hand in hand with other outstanding aspects of the film: the soundtrack songs, “We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)” and “One of the Living”, were both hits soon after their release.

Tina Turner Paved the Way for the Stardom Crossover

Tina Turner as the Acid Queen holds the syringe at Tommy
Image via Columbia Pictures

Tina Turner’s strength as a performer crosses the boundaries fans expect from most singers. In fact, before his appearance in Outside the Thunderdome, there are not many black female singers who participate in films that do not focus on music or music. Even his own previous roles were in musicals, first in Lonely Hearts Club Sergeant Pepper as a musical guest, then in her lesser known (but still iconic) role as the Sour Queen in Tommy. Her performance as the Aunt Entity was extraordinary, though no one noticed at the time.

Thanks to Turner, a new generation of Black sci-fi lovers can see themselves on screen in major roles. Thanks to him, musical artists can see themselves in film roles that go beyond music. He is a true pioneer who is so much more than his dark past. He was, and will always be, an inspiration to millions, and his name will stand forever in music and film history.


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