Angela Bassett Reflects On One of Her Most Iconic Roles: 'Nothing Has Been as Difficult as Tina Turner'

Illustration for article titled Angela Bassett Reflects On One of Her Most Iconic Roles: 'Nothing Has Been as Difficult as Tina Turner'
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I don’t think I’ve gone a month of my life without hearing somebody yell or text, “Eat the cake, Annie Mae!


That quote, of course, comes from the 1993 cult classic, What’s Love Got to Do With It, in which a courageous Angela Bassett embodies the legendary songstress Tina Turner. She would win a Golden Globe and receive her first and only Oscar award nomination for her performance.

Considering how impactful that role has been on her career, you would think her friends and family would have that entire movie memorized—or at least have a strong familiarity with it. But as she revealed on the latest episode of PEOPLE Every Day, hosted by Janine Rubenstein, her 15-year-old twins, Bronwyn and Slater, somehow have yet to see the film.

“Definitely nothing has been as difficult as Tina Turner,” she said. “Nothing as difficult physically, emotionally, spiritually, vocally. Nothing, absolutely nothing.”

She recalled that after an endless succession of auditions that spanned over the course of five years, auditioning for this particular role would make-or-break her career.

“I thought that if I were to get [the part], it would be one of those movies that would [...] cement my face with my name, because I was always that actor that was struggling going to auditions or doing guest spots on weekend television shows,” she said. She told herself, “Whatever happens, whether it works or whether it doesn’t, you’ve got to be memorable.”

Of course, she would land the role and doesn’t seem to mind that her kids have yet to witness her seminal performance on screen.


“Let them discover it,” she said. “Let their friends discover it [...] maybe [then] I’d get some more respect around here! [...] I tell them, you don’t know what I got up my sleeve.”

Thankfully, they’re fans of some of her more recent work, such as her portrayal of saxophonist Dorothea Williams in Pixar’s hit Soul.


“They really enjoyed [Soul],” she said.

The rest of her PEOPLE Every Day interview is equally as interesting and is currently available on whatever platform you get your podcast fix.

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for y'all to stop putting sugar in grits.