Jenifer Lewis is the latest celebrity to pay tribute to the late Tina Turner. The actress teared up while remembering the legendary singer who passed away on Wednesday.
Lewis expressed her emotions after learning the news of Turner’s death. “I feel like a mother, a sister, a friend, a teacher has passed this plane, and I’m grateful to Tina for being who she was,” she told People. The 12-time Grammy Award-winner died in Switzerland at age 83 after battling a long illness.
Lewis said she initially tried to hold back her tears as Turner’s death put her in touch with her own mortality.
“I tried not to cry because I’m 66, and at some point, we all have to learn how to mourn and not fall apart,” she explained. “But I had to allow myself to cry because she was one of the greatest entertainers that ever lived.”
Lewis recalled meeting Turner backstage after one of her concerts in the 1980s. The actress was on a national tour with “Eubie” the musical, when she met the singer briefly. She said she bowed down to her and expressed her adoration.
“I think I said something like, ‘I want to be just like you,’ and she said, ‘I can see it in you,’” said Lewis. “It was powerful to just have that moment in the dressing room with her.”
The actress played Tina Turner’s mother Zelma Bullock in the 1993 Turner biopic, “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” While she didn’t get to meet with Turner again during the filming, she did, by chance, meet Bullock and her daughter Alline at “a vitamin store,” after the movie premiered.
Bullock and Lewis eventually developed a bond before Bullock’s passing. Lewis had the honor of singing at Bullock’s funeral.
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