Oprah Winfrey kicked off her Grammy tribute to the late, great Tina Turner, who died in May 2023, with a tip passed along from award-winning singer and songwriter, from icon to icon. “She used to say to me, ‘Oprah, you should dress up for dinner, even if no one else is there. Just so you feel beautiful to you. For yourself.’”
After several stirring Grammy in-memoriam segments, including Stevie Wonder covering songs from Tony Bennett and Jon Batiste leading a choir through a heartfelt rendition of “Lean on Me,” Winfrey took the stage standing in front of a smiling image of Turner.
“Tina Turner was always a towering figure,” Winfrey said as a guitarist started playing the iconic guitar riff for “Proud Mary” to back her. “She is our forever goddess of rock & roll, who inspired millions, a moving symbol of grace and grit, soul and power. Our love and respect for Tina grew as we witnessed her bravely reclaim her freedom. From the moment I met Tina, first as a fan, then later blessed to become her friend, she was a special kind of role model… And as those big wheels of time keep on turning, Tina’s voice continues to speak to all of us.”
She then introduced the “Color of Purple” star and singer Fantasia Barrino, a woman with her own “empowering voice” who was joined by Adam Blackstone and a bevy of backup dancers.
Dressed head-to-toe in gold sequins, Barrino commanded the room, “Grammys, get up on your feet, you know what time it is.”
“Y’all might not know me,” the former Grammy winner continued. “So now I’m going to introduce myself.” Suddenly the band cut out Barrino belted out the first lyrics for Turner’s beloved “Proud Mary” solo, with no backing. Slowly, more and more dancers joined Barrino on stage and the band crescendoed into a joyful Turner-inspired dance-off.
Barrino then danced out into the crowd, saying she needed to find a “pretty lady” who “doesn’t mind moving.” She paused briefly to dance with Grammy nominee Dua Lipa and danced next to a cowboy-hat-wearing Beyonce standing and clapping next to Jay-Z.
She ended the night riffing loud and singing, “Tina we love you” into the rafters, and to thunderous applause from the crowd.
First appeared on variety.com