The HBO Tina Turner documentary blew my head off. That’s it. I’m not even going to try and find a more articulate way of starting today’s newsletter. I just watched a Black woman in her mid 40s launch herself into stardom and now I’m on fire.
Look, I already knew Tina’s story. I was a kid when she made her big breakthrough in the 80s, so that Tina was the only Tina I had known until my 20s or so, when I learned about her history with Ike. But I hadn’t really put it together before, what it meant for her to sing in this band through her youth, get out of a toxic marriage, heal from that, and then build something of her own from scratch. When she was at the beginning stages of her reinvention, a producer asked her what her vision was. And it was so fucking grand! Not “oh, record an album that’s close to my heart” or “collaborate with so-and-so” or “make enough doing this so I can maintain my lifestyle.”
Tina said she wants to fill stadiums.
And so she does. She doesn’t do it entirely alone; she enlists the help of people who believe in her. And it’s not overnight. She makes a few attempts before she finds the right team, the right songs, the right environment. She keeps believing in her power, and she drives the thing until she makes it happen.
She was 44 when she released “Private Dancer.” At 45 she was doing a world tour to promote the album. Then she played a role and recorded a song for Mad Max Thunderdome. Then she released “Break Every Rule.” Live Aid. More touring. A memoir. Multiple Grammys. Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1988, when she was 49 (I think?) she was on another world tour and she broke the Guinness World Record for largest paying audience for her concert in Rio de Janeiro, 180,000 attendees. More albums, more #1s, more Grammys. I think she was probably 50 when she released “The Best.”
So don’t tell me we can’t be exciting and sexy and relevant and ambitious at this age.
Anyway, I want to do my 5-questions interview with Tina. For now, we will have to leave the answers open, and imagine how she might answer.
I was amazed at your enduring vitality, which seemed to thrive no matter what was going on in your life. What’s your relationship with that vitality? Is it something you actively cultivate, or is it simply a gift?
There’s this moment in the documentary when someone asks you about Ike (again!) and you have a hot flash. Those of us who know, we really know how a stressful moment can trigger hot flashes. Tell us more about your perimenopause/menopause. Tell us everything: how it felt, what you did, who you told?
What artists have you been listening to lately — what’s good?
Looking back at when you expressed that vision of being the first Black woman to fill stadiums for your concerts, what does that level of ambition feel like, in your body? How do you sustain it? How do you feed it?
What brings you joy nowadays?
Thank you, Tina!
This Week’s News
What it’s like going through fibromyalgia and perimenopause. Fibromyalgia is a chronic illness that has some overlapping symptoms with perimenopause. This story from The Mighty explains the similarities and differences.
Feeling clumsy? This small study is a bit technical, but it found a link between declining levels of estrogen (in perimenopause) with declining neuromuscular control.
Reframe healthy eating. Usually when a magazine talks about influencers in the health/wellness space it’s a lineup of skinny, mostly white women touting individual fitness and nutrition programs. But not Self. This year, their 16 People Redefining Healthy Eating are largely focused on cultivating healthy communities and/or changing food culture, and I am so here for it.
Your new superpower is creating personal temperature zones. Entrepreneur Markea Dickinson talks about how she witnessed her mom, Debbie’s “personal infernos” (hot flashes); together they created Thermaband, a cooling wristband. Launching soon!
Caire Beauty. Katie Couric interviews Celeste Lee and Lorrie King, founders of Caire, a menopausal skin care line.
Netflix and chill your hot flashes. The new series, Bombay Begums, features a lead character going through perimenopause—or maybe she’s post? I’ll have to watch it to find out!
Menopause and work
I’m seeing a lot of stories about the challenges of working while perimenopausal, mostly from UK media:
Microactivism of the week
Georgia on my mind. The new voting laws are very, very concerning.
Here is a very succinct synopsis.
What’s scary is that Georgia’s state legislature has created a template for other states to do the same. Here’s where this foolishness could go next.
HR1 For the People Act is a bill could counteract some of these measures. It passed the House earlier in March and is not in the Senate. Here’s the Washington Post’s explainer. Right now it’s in committee and faces an uncertain fate. Now would be a good time to tell your senators to support what is now S.1.