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Tina Turner was a wigless and weaveless Anna Mae Bullock when she was born November 26, 1939. But when she grew up, hooked up with Ike and hit the road as Tina Turner, sightings of her real hair was history. A few years back I wrote about Tina’s relationship with her hair that appears in my book, “Nappyisms: Affirmations for Nappy-Headed People and Wannabes.” I’d like to share those musings with you:

I have always admired Tina Turner.

I admire Tina for her uninhibited stage presence and for having the sexiest set of legs on the planet.

I admire her for finally finding the courage to leave Ike.

But what I have found most intriguing about Tina was the special bond she had with her wigs.
No matter what wild gyrations my favorite rock diva executed during her high-octane performances, her wigs always held tight.

Tina Turner

Tina was one of those sisters who wasn’t about to let anyone see what was really going on with her roots. I often wondered whether she used some sort of special adhesive to keep her chosen hair in place.

During television interviews, she was always fond of flipping and tossing her false tresses. I was a teenager when I watched those interviews and worried that she would accidentally hit a snag and expose what she didn’t want anyone to see.

Back in those days, one of the most mortifying things that could happen to black women who wore a wig was to have it fall off accidentally or be snatched off during a fight. Back then, we wore wigs not only to make a fashion statement but to cover up our naps. We were crazy like that.

I am convinced that fear of “wig shift” and nap exposure is what kept the Supremes, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Aretha Franklin and other soul divas of those days from moving around too much when they performed.

But Tina never worried about wig shift. Her wig had such a grip that it even withstood the Proud Mary test.

For those too young to remember, “Proud Mary” is the rock-and-roll tune that Tina began by singing the words, “nice and easy.” Toward the end of the song, she would lead her backup singers in a wild, rough and frenzied dance. But through all of Tina’s wailing, flailing and strutting all over the stage, her hair remained firmly anchored.

A reporter for the Swiss News interviewed Tina, who lives in Europe, about her hair. According to the article, Tina described her wigs as being a part of her. She said that she purchases her hair from Spain and has it cut, colored and shaped to her specifications.

Tina is so attached to her wigs that she even wears them when she is puttering around her homes in Zurich, Switzerland and the south of France.

But Tina doesn’t put her hair through the grueling workout that she used to when she was on the road.

She is now in her 60s, and after doing countless concert tours and selling more than 180 million records, she is taking it “nice and easy.”

To mark her retirement, Tina made some changes in her lifestyle. Instead of “rolling on the river,” she spends more time relaxing by the Riviera. She has given up the flashy attire that suited her rock queen stage persona and replaced it with a wardrobe that is more low-keyed and comfortable.

But Tina hasn’t let retirement go to her head. She still hasn’t let go of her wigs.

That is certainly her choice.

But even though the former Anna Mae Bullock of Nutbush, Tenn. would rather flaunt her mane from Spain, the Swiss News revealed something that suggests that she has not strayed too far away from her roots.

According to the article, the real hair underneath Tina’s wig is styled into a bunch of little baby locks!

That’s right. Tina is a closet dread head!

Maybe we can convince her to come out of retirement long enough to perform Proud Mary one more time and rock her natural locks.

That may never happen. But we can only hope that one day she'll let the poor babies come out long enough to get some air!

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