L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres is a medal of France, established in 1957 to recognise artists who are considered to have contributed hugely towards popular culture in France. There are three different grades, from which Tina received the 'Chevalier‘ in 1996 during a glittering ceremony in Paris, joining a select group of foreign born artists including Bob Dylan, Sharon Stone, B.B. King, Jerry Lewis, Clint Eastwood and Jane Birkin. The medallion is worn on a ribbon on the left breast and is presented up to 200 recipients a year.
Tina was also in France for a series of interviews and promotional events relating to the latest James Bond movie GoldenEye and her forthcoming Wildest Dreams Tour, connected to the release of the new album Wildest Dreams.
Date: February 12, 1996
Location: Palais de Congres, Paris (France)
Host: Philippe Douste-Blazy (French minister of culture)
Award: Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres
It's a very special honour for me because France is very special for me. I can honestly say as a first memory that I received my first encore right here in Paris and so it has become a place for me that I have a home here in France and I want to thank all the French people for this great honour. I feel that I am accepted. I feel that I stand with the people who have received such an honour and talent such as what is needed in this business. I feel proud of myself tonight.
I think Tina Turner is someone extraordinary because all her life she has managed to overcome adversity. To begin with, she was the first black artist to sing where blacks didn't sing, she fought against this relegation, she fought against violence - the violence of her own life, the violence of the lives of others close to her.