That Beyonce’ duet on the Grammys. That iconic cameo in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. That iconic film where we know ALL the lines and forever have Angela Bassett’s image cemented in our minds with those arms and legs are all associated with non other than the legendary Tina Turner.
For many years, my Mom would tell me stories about going to Sumner High School with Anna Mae Bullock, and how they often spoke about trying out for the majorette team. It was a minute before I realized Anna Mae Bullock was the infamous Tina from Ike and Tina Turner, a duo title she would spend a lifetime attempting to break away from.
Produced by HBO and directed by T.J. Martin and Dan Lindsay, TINA! is a love letter to fans, from this rock n’ roll icon, where she puts to rest rumors, trauma, questions media have been pressing her about for decades and that infamous story behind What’s Love Got To Do With It – the song and film.
Going from cotton fields to superstardom, playing showrooms at the Fairmont Hotel to selling out stadiums all over the world to having a hit Broadway musical bearing her name. There is no doubt, when you eerily listen to Tina and her late son Craig recount details of those numerous physical and mental abuses with coat hangers or a shoe stretcher, before Ike forced her into sex and appearing onstage with black eyes over footage of a deserted family house, algae filled pool seemingly frozen in an L.A. Seventies-décor, you know this a woman built for survival. A woman whose survival was awakened through her spiritual base of Buddhism. A woman who survived in an industry that often discards women as artists. A woman hell bent on being seen through a lens of self-determination and NOT self-destruction.
Self-admittedly, rehashing separation and constant approval from her Mom as a child, attempted suicide and those much talked about tumultuous years with Ike are no doubt a form of trauma porn that the icon can’t seem to escape. After all, one can’t escape the past for it is that past that ultimately defines who you become as a human being navigating this thing we call life. However, the insatiable thirst for personal details around celebrities lives – good, bad and ugly seem to permeate and saturate through an obsessed online culture who refuses to let the past die and stary buried.
Well, by the end of this beautifully, crafted journey through ghosts and memories of days gone by, you realize that Tina Turner has indeed come to grips with a life well lived, but look at the peace price tag she had to pay. As a woman who has also survived some horrific chapters in life, I applaud her for taking one last time to inspire, awaken and give hope to others by simply being the best she could be for herself and those she loved throughout this merry-go-round we call…life. Saying thank you for her bravery, her honesty and reliving such awkward, painful memories in order to help others feels so small and trite. Nevertheless, it is heartfelt from the depths of my soul. A soul that will breath a little easier knowing that my mother’s old schoolmate can now live the remainder of her days in peace, love and light.
TINA! is now streaming on HBO Max.