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Anna Mae Bullock AKA Tina Turner

Harvard Business Review January-February 2021 pp140 |Life’s Work| “Tina Turner” “I never considered giving up on my dreams. You could say I had an invincible optimism.” Interview by Alison Beard.


Read the full interview for all detail.

Summary of the Inteview

Born Anna Mae Bullock and growing up in Tennessee Tina Turner started her career with her abusive husband Ike Turner at age 20 but her career really took off as a solo artist “a female black singer in my forties with few prospects.” She resides in Switzerland and has a new book Happiness Becomes You

Q: “You’ve had so many ups and downs in your life and career. What have you learned?”

A: [All answers paraphrased] “I used to be baffled about why I had to endure so much abuse, because I hadn’t done anything to deserve it. After I began practicing Buddhism, I realized that my hardships could give me a mission-a purpose.” …”I could see that everything that came my way, both the highs and lows, as an opportunity for self-improvement and for sparking hope in others.”

Q: “How else has your spirituality-your Baptist upbringing and your Buddhist practice-driven you?”

A: …”Buddhist teachings of compassion and kindness…[are similar] to “Love they neighbor” and “Do unto others that I learned from the Baptist influences in my childhood.” “I used to get angry first and ask questions later…[but now after Buddhism] it flipped. I could easily stay calm and figure out the details instead of jumping conclusions…achievement stems from inner change.”

Q: “When you confronted discrimination as a Black woman, how did you respond?”

A: “Though hard work, I showed all the naysayers that maybe their preconceived doubts were wrong. The force of my positivity pushed all the discriminatory ‘isms’ standing in my way right out the window.”

Q: “When you were touring, how did you prep to take the stage?”

A: “I would chant for an hour before each show…I visualized my audience…[and hoped] I could inspire their dreams and help them recharge their souls.”

Q: “In recent years you overcame a stroke and cancer. Did that require a new resilience?”

A: “Sometimes our problems seem like they will never end…[a] favorite Buddhist saying goes ‘Winter always turns to spring.”

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