BY KAREN REMPEL | With the passing of Tina Turner on May 24 to a place that surely awaits the world’s most beloved entertainers, July’s column is brimming with celebration and sadness.
Tina has always been there, an inspirational woman that shows you can beat a bad situation by using your talent, energy and perseverance to overcome the immense forces that make it hard for a woman to get ahead on her own. I saw Tina portray kick-ass, powerful women in movie roles, like the post-apocalyptic, tougher-than-a-rocket-launcher ruler in “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.”
But her own story is even more remarkable, as we all know: her early success with Ike, the abuse, her breaking away, and the incredible struggle it took for her to reemerge as the Queen of Rock ’n’ Roll in the early years of MTV with her killer multiplatinum 1984 album, “Private Dancer.” Her music videos “What’s Love Got to Do With It” (filmed by the Brooklyn Bridge) and “You Better Be Good to Me” created an indelible impression of how a woman can be both tough and sexy, call her own shots, and have fun with life.
The New York Times obituary said Tina Turner held the world record in 2000 for the most tickets ever sold by a solo performer! She achieved many firsts, awards and tremendous accomplishments, and her energy was beyond compare. She performed with an aliveness and joy that ignited these feelings in other people. An electrifying dancer and singer, Tina had a talent for choosing songs that people would relate to and like to sing along with. But I think it was her incredible triumph over so many challenges that made people love her so much. Knowing her personal story made people feel they knew her and she knew them too. In concert in Amsterdam in 1996 she asked the audience, “Do you love me?” The roar was “YES!” and she said, “I love you, too.” She had the remarkable ability to connect so that people felt the shine of her glory in themselves and the whole audience rode on a wave of collective love.
But how to celebrate the incomparable Ms. Tina Turner? The first thing I thought was, “I’m going to wear my Tina Turner wig!” Since Tina wasn’t known to hang out in our ’hood, I thought the best place to go to celebrate her spirit would be Wigs and Plus, at 37 W. 14th St., where I purchased said wig.
Maybe you’ve walked by Wigs and Plus (WAP) a zillion times and never gone in, but you like to make sure it’s still there — it’s reassuring that the 32-year-old business is still available to provide all manner of women’s beauty aids. As they say on their Web site, “We’ve succeeded in meeting our clients’ beauty and fashion needs for over 30 years, including those who are going through chemotherapy and experiencing hair loss. We are THE one-stop shop for fashionable hair pieces, extensions and accessories during Fashion Week, Wigstock and Halloween!”
I’ve worn nine wigs in my columns. Plus colored my own hair every shade you can think of. So let’s just say, I’m a fan of WAP. They really do have the Plus — specialty hair products, makeup, nail polish. If you live in the ’hood and you’ve never been in, consider it your personal duty to go in there and buy something. But first, head to the back and be gob-smacked by the wigs!
I had the motivation, the wig, the venue. But when we arrived at WAP on a hot June Saturday afternoon, I had nothin’. After all the prep, I couldn’t feel Tina in my soul. I felt like a stick. Amy bought some shampoo and Phil and I tried a few shots to check the lighting, but I just couldn’t feel the power of Tina. Then Phil pulled up a song on his phone, Tina’s “You’re Simply the Best.” I held his phone to my ear, and started dancing and singing along on the sidewalk, and there she was, shaking my fringes and bringing bliss into my heart. Blessings, Tina. I know you’re feeling bliss out there somewhere.
Tina Turner wig, Lacey Costume Wig of New York Collection; Wigs and Plus, 37 W. 14th St.
Moflora black, fringed, backless minidress with spaghetti straps; Amazon.
Electric-blue Pleaser Adore sparkly 7-inch platform booties; Hustler Hollywood, 41 W. Eighth St.