Life and career[ edit ] — Early life and career beginnings[ edit ] Mary Christine Brockert was born on March 5, , in Santa Monica, California , the daughter   of construction worker Thomas Leslie Brockert and home renovator Mary Anne. She spent her early childhood in Mission Hills , California. She also developed a fondness for singing Motown songs, and her self-professed "gift from God"[ citation needed ] would become fine-tuned as the years progressed. When she was eight years old, her parents began sending Teena on auditions which, among other things, netted her an acting role on The Beverly Hillbillies , credited as Tina Marie Brockert. She later taught herself the guitar, bass, and congas. In the early s, after the family moved to Venice, Los Angeles , Brockert spent her adolescent years in the historically black Venice enclave of Oakwood, nicknamed "Venice Harlem".