DALLAS (Associated Press) — When Tina Turner died at age 83, I found myself going back to fourth grade, the day I really discovered her voice.
During the Thanksgiving holiday, I was bored and decided to dig through my parents’ old cassette tapes for some entertainment.
What I found was amazing. It was an album called “Private Dancer”.
“I look up at the stars with a perfect memory. Looking back on everything, my future is no shock to me.”
“Who is this amazing woman?” I thought, as the lyrics to the song “I Might Have Been Queen (Soul Survivor)” streamed through my Walkman headphones. “What was she going through?”
I immediately consulted an expert on this matter. Her mother had been listening to Tina since she was a teenager in her ’60s, when she made her first hit with her then-husband Ike.
Like Tina, her mother never surfaced her superstar history. Offstage, Ike was hitting her. When she and her father first went to see her live in the ’70s, she, and most others, didn’t know it.
It was shocking and unpleasant to hear. But Mama also spoke about Tina’s triumph, how she continued to captivate and captivate fans despite the hell she endured. She said that Tina and her backing vocalist and dancer Iketes were so hard on stage that the ribbon on Tina’s sandals, which started near her calves, ended up around her ankles. I remembered when I saw the The concert was wild. Crazed dance.
I wanted to experience this. Five years later, I did.
In 1997, my father and mother drove me and my brother in a 1987 Chevrolet Suburban from our home in Doyline, Louisiana to Woodlands, Texas for the five-hour drive to accompany Tina on her “Wild Dreams” World Tour. bottom.
I was hypnotized. Shining silver sequins scatter on the stage. Its voice varies from the deepest grunt to a gentle meow. The contagious smiles and air kisses towards the audience seemed to make us all really happy to be there. kick. the shimmies. She took staccato steps throughout the stage. My uncle, who stood in line for hours to buy tickets for our lawn seats, said after the show.
That night was also a personal awakening moment. It wasn’t just a great performance by the Grammy Award winner and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was a crowd of thousands of fans of all ages, larger and more diverse than any young teen in a small Southern town had ever seen. The fans were black, white, and even Hapa (mixed race) Hawaiians like us. There were also homosexuals. Some were straightforward. There must have been some Republicans and some Democrats, singing and twirling “Proud Mary” together, enjoying the harmonies.
I realized years later that this experience was part of my parents’ plan to expand my worldview. Tina helped me with that.
In 2008, I was able to repay the gifts my parents gave me. I got tickets for Tina’s farewell tour with a stop in San Jose, CA. Tina was approaching 70 at that point, but she still had movement and energy. Earlier this year, I took her mom and dad to see “Tina: The Musical” in New Orleans, which is now on post-Broadway nationwide.
As a huge fan obsessed with artist Tina, I also had to face the shocking reality of a woman named Tina. She is a flesh and blood human being who was raised violently in a home with her quarreling parents and then endured physical violence. abuse of her own husband.
I was in awe of the story of this woman who had the courage to speak out about domestic violence with grace long before the rest of society did. One night in the late 70s, while Ike Turner was asleep, she slipped out of her Dallas hotel room, scurried across a nearby freeway, and checked into a Ramada Inn with her Mobil credit card. She had 36 cents in her own name.
While watching the 2021 documentary in which Tina publicly said goodbye, the interviewer was asked multiple times to explain how she got away from Ike while overlooking the detached career feat. It also made me understand how traumatized she had been over the decades. from her ex-husband. And that was on top of the racism and sexism she faced in the music industry.
Angela Bassett, who played the “Queen of Rock and Roll” in her Oscar-nominated role in Because of Love, said in the documentary: Inspiration. “
Bassett is right, but it’s complicated.
i live in dallas So after hearing of Tina’s death, it felt not only right, but necessary, to go to the old Ramada Inn, where she heroically reclaimed her life.
I strolled through the lobby of what is now a boutique hotel, the Lorenzo Hotel, greeted a few other fans who passed by, and approached a giant, eye-catching photo of Tina hanging there. Her confidence she won and her attitude oozed out. It’s fishnet tights. Stockings, big hair, and a “don’t try me” look.
I have been reminded of many moments in my life that were inspired by Tina. That included running a marathon and ringing “Proud Mary” on her cell phone when she was exhausted with three miles to go.
I have an orange and yellow rose (a shade famously named after Tina by one of Queen Elizabeth’s rose growers) that a caring friend bought for me when Tina passed away. It was picked from a bouquet of flowers.
I smiled and pushed the flower into the gap between the portrait’s ornate frames.
At 40, I finally answered the burning question my 10-year-old self asked and my mother was trying to answer. I knew who that wonderful woman was and what she had been through. And I knew that the lyrics to “I Might Have Been Queen” spoke not only of her perseverance, but also of her belief in reincarnation.
Beautiful, Tina. For me, you will live on.
Twitter: Follow Adam Kealoha Cozy at @akcausey.