Ruth Carter Details The Moment She Caught Tina Turner Braiding Angela Bassett’s Hair & We’re In Our Feelings
On the latest episode of Netflix’s new podcast Strong Black Legends, trailblazing costume designer, now Oscar winner, Ruth Carter shared a tender moment she witnessed while filming the 1993 film, What’s Love Got To Do With It.
The celebrated costume designer sat down with host Tracy Clayton to describe how influential Turner was during the making of the film. Turner definitely took a centered approach as the story evolved around her storied career, love and pain.
“You know it was thrilling to see the real Tina Turner pieces and see the magic,” Carter began. “She was very much involved with her costumes if not designing some personally.”
But the endearing moment between Turner and Bassett transpired over the deeply personal and African tradition of hair-braiding, Carter revealed.
“So she showed up on set the next day with her wig. I got the dress and I went to Angela’s trailer and I opened the door and Angela was sitting on the floor cross-legged like little sister. Tina was sitting on the couch over her plaiting her hair to put the wig on,” Carter continued.
“I just love the idea of one Black legend braiding another Black legend’s hair and just being regular-ass Black,” Clayton said as she was visibly struck by the imagery and meaning.
Not only was the movie one of Carter’s earliest gigs as a costume designer, but it added to her steel resume filled with the creativity and skill for what it requires to literally dress someone for the part. From School Daze, to Malcolm X, to Baby Boy and Amistad, Carter has been a crucial force behind some of the most iconic Black movies of all time.
She also told Clayton that she treats each movie with the same level of grit in creating the character’s looks. “I took a lot of pride in dressing Baby Boy because I felt (just) like Malcolm X or any other film, that it was part of the culture,” she said.
On Sunday Carter snagged her first Oscar for her costume design on the Marvel blockbuster Black Panther. The evening was a full circle moment for Carter as she was in the crowd with Angela Bassett and Spike Lee, one of the people who gave her her first opportunity. Lee also snagged his first Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay on BlacKkKlansman. While it was Carter’s third nomination, she lived in the glory of receiving the recognition for over 30 years of hard work.
How fitting that her episode of Strong Black Legends premiered during Oscar weekend. We salute you Ruth!