Tempest Walker, Rankin Street Productions and Black Noise Media have joined forces to celebrate the life and legacy of one of the most iconic entertainers of this century, the incomparable Tina Turner. The musical stage production, “Be Tina: A Tina Turner Tribute” is an array of dance and live musical performances covering some of Tina Turner’s greatest hits including “What’s Love Got to Do With It”, “Proud Mary” and “When the Heart Ache is Over.” “Be Tina” features a diverse cast consisting of a five-piece band, three dancers and Tempest Walker, who will star as Tina Turner. I chatted with Tempest recently and she gave me the scoop on everything that is “BE Tina”. Check out our chat below.
Keyauna: When did you recognize your passion for singing/acting/performing?
Tempest: I’ve always felt I had a passion for performing. Growing up I played every sport ever..lol..so I have always been familiar with the pressures of performing. But I always lip sang a little harder than everyone else.. so I’ve always known something was there.
Keyauna: How did the production of “Be Tina” come to be?
Tempest: “Be Tina” was birthed through a series of purposeful events. One too many coincidences led me to the vision of Be Tina. From there I just followed what God initiated.
Keyauna: What aspect of Tina Turner’s life inspires you the most?
Tempest: Tina’s life as a whole is all inspiring. But mostly I am inspired by the woman behind the image. I can’t tell you how many times I envisioned myself going through the circumstances she braved..and I can tell you..her fearlessness and ability to endure is truly like no other. The ability to maintain your confidence and smile in the midst of the type of criticism and abuse she’s encountered is honorable.
Keyauna: What has been the hardest part about portraying an icon like Tina Turner?
Tempest: I would say the hardest part about portraying Tina Turner is making sure I am executing her gestures, her postures, her moves correctly. Not so much for my show, but for the Tina fans. I want to capture the essence of Tina for those that love her the most.
Keyauna: We all go into our line of work to be successful, but a nice perk of success is the ability to inspire others. How important is that to you?
Tempest: It is highly important to me to ensure I am inspiring others. I have young sisters and a brother that look up to me. They watch my every move in hopes they can do the same. I hope I am inspiring them and anyone that sees this show to believe in their dreams.
Keyauna: A huge issue right in the entertainment world is positive images of people of color. Is that something that contributes to your passion for performing?
Tempest: Absolutely. Maintaining a positive image is definitely a contributing factor in my passions, because as I mention I have younger siblings that watch what I do. I hope that I am showing them that they can achieve greatness through their own positive initiatives. That they don’t have to follow the crowd.
Keyauna: Name three women in the entertainment industry, past or present, other than Tina Turner, that you draw inspiration from?
Tempest: Other than Tina..!..I don’t know lol But really, I draw a lot of inspiration from Taraji P Henson. Aside from being obsessed with her as an actress, I am motivated by her climb to success. I remember when I was younger and people would ask me who my favorite actress was. I would ALWAYS say her and 9 times out of 10 people would say, ‘who?’. Now, of course, that would never happen! But seeing her determination to go from ‘who?’ to an Oscar nominee definitely inspires me. Oprah inspires me as well, just because lol. I mean, what black woman is not inspired by Oprah Winfrey! I have to say Tina Turner, I know you said not too, but I just have too! 🙂
Keyauna: Tell me something that no one would ever guess about you.
Tempest: No one would ever guess I was in the military! I served for 6 years.
Keyauna: The first performance of “Be Tina” will be this Saturday, but will there be other shows?
Tempest: Yes, Definitely! There will certainly be more shows and we are trying to tour. So hopefully you can see it in a city near you!
Keyauna: What is the most important lesson you want people to take away from “Be Tina”?
Tempest: The most important lesson I want people to take away from Be Tina is to be inspired…inspired to not be afraid to follow your dreams whole heartedly. I want people to BE fearless, BE confident, BE courageous…like Tina. We can all BE Tina 🙂
Keyauna: How can people find you on the internet, social media, etc.?
Tempest: People can find me, as well as the tribute on all the social media platforms. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all @BeTinaTribute. You can find me @TempestWalker on Twitter and Facebook. We also encourage you to email us directly at [email protected]. We want to hear from you! Send us pictures, video from the show or simply share your thoughts and opinions.
BE Tina premieres at NYC’s Adam Clayton Powell Jr Plaza on August 15th, 3-6pm.