ESSAY: A mega-fan's appreciation for Tina Turner's limitless energy and lessons of survival

Streaming HUBMay 26, 2023

DALLAS (AP) – When Tina Turner died at age 83, I found myself going back to fourth grade, to the day I truly discovered her voice.

I was over Thanksgiving break – bored – when I decided to rummage through my parents’ old cassette tapes in search of entertainment.

What I found was surprising: an album called “Private Dancer”.

“I look up to the stars with all my memory. I see it all and my future is no shock to me.

“Who was this wonderful lady?” I thought the lyrics of “I Might Have Been Queen (Soul Survivor)” streamed through my Walkman’s headphones. “What was she doing?”

I quickly consulted an expert on the matter: My mom, who as a teenager in the ’60s, had been listening to Tina since she first made her hits with her then-husband Ike.

Mom, like Tina, didn’t sugarcoat the superstar’s history: Off-stage, Ike was killing him. It was something she herself – and most others – didn’t know when she and Dad first went to see her in the ’70s.

It was shocking and sickening to hear. But Mom also spoke about Tina’s triumph, how she continues to mesmerize and dazzle her fans despite all the hardships she’s endured. He recalled Tina and her backing singers and dancers, the Ikettes, going across the stage so hard that the ribbons of Tina’s sandals, starting near her calves, ended around her ankles. The concert was wild. Enthusiastic.

I wanted to experience it. Five years later, I did.

In 1997, Mom and Dad loaded my siblings and I into our 1987 Chevy Suburban and made the five-hour drive from our home in Doyle, Louisiana, to The Woodlands, Texas, to catch Tina on her “Wildest Dreams” world tour. Drive key.

I was mesmerized. Sparkling silver sequins sparkled on the stage. A voice that could range from a deep growl to a soft coo. Infectious smiles and air kisses for onlookers that made it seem like she was genuinely glad we were all there. The kicks. Shammi. staccato steps as he worked the entire stage. As my uncle, who stood in line for hours to buy tickets for our lawn seats, used to say after the show: “Kids, you are in the presence of greatness tonight.”

That night was also a moment of personal awakening. It wasn’t just an incredible performance from the Grammy winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member; It was a crowd of thousands of fans of all ages, bigger and more diverse than any young teen in a small Southern town. The fans were black, white, and even hapa (mixed-race) Hawaiians like us. Some were gay. Some were straight. I’m sure both Republicans and Democrats were there too, singing and swaying along to “Proud Mary”.

The experience, I realized years later, was part of my parents’ design to broaden my worldview. Tina helped him in this.

In 2008, I was able to repay my parents for the gift they had given me: I got us tickets to San Jose, California, a stop on Tina’s farewell tour. Tina was nearing 70 at the time, but she still had the moves and the energy. Earlier this year, I took Mom and Dad to see “Tina: The Musical” in New Orleans when it aired off-Broadway across America.

As a mega-fan influenced by the artist Tina, I too have had to deal with the shocking reality of a woman named Tina – a real flesh and blood human who had a violent upbringing in a home with fighting parents – He was nourished and later he had to suffer physical pain. Exploitation of her own husband.

I was stunned by the story of this woman who was brave enough to speak out about domestic violence, long before the rest of society. How she sneaked out of a Dallas hotel room one night in the late ’70s while Ike Turner was asleep, hurried to a nearby highway and checked herself into a Ramada Inn with a Mobil credit card. He had 36 cents to his name.

Watching the 2021 documentary that marked Tina’s goodbye to the public, I also understood how she was re-traumatized decades later by interviewers who asked her, over and over again, to describe how she became Ike. shunned, while major career achievements were overlooked. from her ex-husband. And that was on top of racism and sexism in the music industry.

As Angela Bassett, who played the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll” in her Oscar-nominated turn in “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” said in the documentary, “It’s tough when the worst parts of your life An inspiration.”

Bassett is right, and it is complicated.

I live in Dallas. So, upon hearing of Tina’s death, it seemed to me not only right, but necessary, to visit the old Ramada Inn where she famously and heroically recovered her life.

I strolled into the lobby of what is now the boutique Lorenzo Hotel, said hi to the handful of other fans passing by, and approached Vishal, appalled by the picture of Tina that hangs there, showing all the confidence and confidence she’s earned. Evokes Attitude: Fishnet stockings, big hair and a look that says, “Don’t judge me.”

I reflected on the many moments in my life when Tina inspired me, including this year when I ran a marathon and cranked up “Proud Mary” on my phone as my energy waned during the last 2 miles. Was staying

In my hand was an orange and yellow rose—the shade that one of Queen Elizabeth II’s rose growers had famously named Tina—that I had plucked from a bouquet that a thoughtful friend had when Tina died. bought me

I smiled and pushed the flower into a crack in the picture’s ornate frame.

At 40, I finally answered the burning question that my 10-year-old self asked and that mother tried to answer: I knew who that wonderful woman was, and what she Was getting it done. And I knew that the lyrics to “I Might Have Been Queen” spoke not only of her ability to endure, but of her belief in reincarnation.

Beautiful, Tina. You will always be alive for me.


Follow Adam Kealoha Causey on Twitter: @akcausey.


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