Tina Turner

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Birth Name: Anna Mae Bullock

Date of Birth: November 26, 1939

Place of Birth: Brownsville, Tennessee, U.S.

Date of Death: May 24, 2023

Place of Death: Küsnacht, Zürich, Switzerland

Ethnicity: African-American

Tina Turner was an American-Swiss singer, songwriter, dancer, actress, and author. In the late 1950s, she was part of Ike Turner’s music group Kings of Rhythm, later joining him in the duo Ike & Tina Turner Revue. Tina and Ike’s songs together included “Boxtop,” “A Fool in Love,” “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine,” “River Deep – Mountain High,” “Proud Mary,” and “Nutbush City Limits.” As a solo artist beginning in 1978, her songs included “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” “Better Be Good to Me”, “Private Dancer,” “We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome),” “Typical Male,” “The Best,” “I Don’t Wanna Fight,” and “GoldenEye.” In 1988, she set the Guinness World Record for the largest paying audience for a solo act, 180,000, and over her lifetime had sold over 100 million records worldwide. She appeared in the films Tommy, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and Last Action Hero. She was also known as Little Ann, and Martha Nell Turner, and was nicknamed the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

Tina was the daughter of Zelma Priscilla and Floyd Richard Bullock. Her parents were African-American. She was raised in Nutbush, Tennessee, a rural, unincorporated community. Her father oversaw sharecroppers on Poindexter Farm on Highway 180, and Tina picked cotton as a child. She was partly raised by her paternal grandparents, while her parents spent some time in Knoxville, where they worked at a defense facility. Her sister was songwriter Alline Bullock (Ruby Alline Bullock). Her first cousin, once removed, was blues and soul singer, songwriter, guitarist, and bandleader Eugene “Hideaway” Bridges.

Tina was married to German music executive Erwin Bach, until her death. She had a son with tenor and saxophonist Raymond Hill; and three children, including adopting two of his children, with her former husband Ike Turner, who was a musician, bandleader, and record producer. Having lived in Switzerland, mostly in Château Algonquin in Küsnacht, since 1994, she became a Swiss citizen in 2013.

Tina’s paternal grandfather was named Alex/Alexander Bullock. Alex was born in Tennessee, and was deacon at the Woodlawn Missionary Baptist Church.

Tina’s paternal grandmother was named Roxanna/Roxana Vaughns/Whitelaw/Whitlow. Roxanna was born in Tennessee, and was deaconess at Woodlawn.

Tina’s maternal grandfather was Joesephus Melvin “Joe” Currie (the son of Logan Currie and Mollie Walker). Joesephus was born in Tennessee. Logan was the son of Logan Currie and Elizabeth Anne Ford/Kimbrough.

Tina’s maternal grandmother was Georgianna Flag/Flagg (the daughter of George Washington Flag/Flagg and Mollie/Molline Mary Winborn/Winburn). Georgianna was born in Tennessee. George was the son of Samuel/Sam Flag and Fannie. Mollie was the daughter of Scott Winborn/Winbourne and Henretta/Henrietta.

A DNA test whose results were displayed on the show African American Lives 2 (2008) stated that Tina’s genetic ancestry was:

*66% Sub-Saharan African
*33% European
*1% Native American

Tina had previously thought that her mother had significant Native American heritage.

In his 2009 book about the show, In Search of Our Roots: How 19 Extraordinary African Americans Reclaimed Their Past, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. wrote that Tina’s African DNA matches the Mbenzele people of the Central African Republic, the Hausa people of Nigeria, the Tuareg people of Niger, the Bamileke people of Cameroon, and the Turkana people of Kenya.

Sources: Genealogy of Tina Turner – http://www.geni.com

Tina’s mother on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.org


Curious about ethnicity

47 Responses

  1. Thenabster says:

    She has a very interesting admixture to include EAST African. She also had a bit of Tuareg according to Finding Your Roots….

  2. Dolv says:

    Jonas here, she looks fully white to me. i don’t get it, she has typical northwestern european features, can anyone enlighten me on her non-white features? she could also pass as a typical white brazilian from rio grando de sul of german ancestry

  3. fuzzybear44 says:

    R.I.P Tina

  4. jonasbsjr says:

    a true legend has died my she rest in peace, she looks like she might have had some degree of white ancestry, but of course she was culturally a black woman and also she looked heavily sub-saa african

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