CultureHead Magazine

Tina
Image courtesy of Getty Images
Tina
Image courtesy of Getty Images

By the time I was growing up in the late 90s and early 2000s, the world had known a different Tina Turner than who she was when her musical career was starting. I grew up knowing the strong, independent Turner, the rockstar. To me, she always was just that, no Ike Turner in the picture. 

Granted, I never really acquainted myself with her art close enough to discover her backstory. It took me until watching the latest HBO documentary Tina to find out who exactly Tina Turner is and what she had to overcome to get there. It is a testament to the incredible amount of work she has put in to have rebuilt herself as a survivor and a musician to the point where her history of abuse became but an anecdote of her public persona. 

Tina puts the music icon front and center of its two-hour story, which swiftly gets to the abuse and trauma. The film outlines Turner’s life from her childhood, including the time when she and her siblings were abandoned by their parents and her relationship with Ike, who was Turner’s husband and band partner and who abused her for years. 

The full context of how harrowing Turner’s creative and romantic relationship with Ike was is needed to make us understand and appreciate Turner’s subsequent path to healing and rise to world fame and success. 

The documentary does not downplay the trauma by coming to a full circle by its end and demonstrating how Turner’s past did have its grip on her even as she became the icon that she is today. The film complicates what could have been a simple domestic abuse survivor narrative by also including Turner’s childhood trauma and her relationship with her mother as an adult in the equation. 

With this more intricate picture of Turner’s hardships, it makes it even more satisfying to see her succeed and be outspoken about her newfound expectations for her life and determination to not settle for anything else. 

Image courtesy of HBO

The narrative that perhaps could have been more complicated is the process of sharing Turner’s story of abuse with the world, which is glided over in the film. Turner undoubtedly has a strong spirit, strong enough to get out of her marriage to Ike with next to no outside help. However, I wonder if her journey to telling the world the truth was perhaps more convoluted than how the documentary charts it.

Telling the story of abuse without the movement behind you must have been a very different experience compared to what we are seeing today with the Me Too era. Turner told her story not as a part of a collective effort to take down a powerful man but in hopes that the world would finally leave the topic alone. In this effort, it seems she did not even realize how powerful her story would be to other survivors. 

In the end, the documentary is revealed to be Turner’s farewell, her final say in her career. So, it does make sense that certain issues the star has faced throughout her career (for example, ageism) are kept on the narrative’s fringe. This does not make the film any less delightful to watch, and it accomplishes its mission of telling us who Tina Turner is on her own terms. 

As previously mentioned, I was never a fan of Turner. Still, I did find myself singing along to “What’s Love Got to Do with It” and smiling when watching the last minutes of Turner’s interview. She may have said her goodbye, but, as it is said in the film, “Tina Turner belongs to the world.” And I’m thrilled I finally got to meet her.

More From CultureHead

The Green Knight: A Review

David Lowery’s The Green Knight (2021) deviates significantly from the medieval romance it is based upon. Along with the lush cinematography, Dev Patel

Click Here to read more

7 Best Moments in Marvel’s Loki (2021)

The Loki series may have changed the MCU forever. The Timeline is now free, leaving the stage open for multiverses to interact and

Click Here to read more

What Loki (2021) Means For the Future of the MCU

Marvel’s Loki was a pretty ambitious show, giving the God of Mischief a chance to be a hero and simultaneously rewriting the history

Click Here to read more

6 Easter Eggs in Marvel’s Loki (2021)

The Loki series is littered with Easter Eggs and references to past Marvel movies, Norse myths, and random nods to pop culture. Episode

Click Here to read more

Our Favorite Characters From Sweet Tooth, Ranked

The new fantasy drama series Sweet Tooth (now streaming on Netflix) is a refreshing take on the apocalypse genre, filled with anthropomorphic characters,

Click Here to read more

The Activision-Blizzard Lawsuit is an Industry Issue

Activision- Blizzard, The developers of world-renowned games like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch are involved in another disaster. A lawsuit

Click Here to read more

5 Shows Similar To The Fantasy Drama Series Sweet Tooth

The new fantasy drama series Sweet Tooth (now streaming on Netflix) is a mix of many different things: viral pandemics, surviving in the

Click Here to read more

5 Reasons to Watch Sweet Tooth

Sweet Tooth (now streaming on Netflix) is a lovely fantasy drama series that features a viral pandemic, very adorable half-human and half-animal children,

Click Here to read more

What’s Florence Pugh’s Future in the Marvel Universe?

The much-awaited Black Widow (2021) movie features our favorite Avenger (played by Scarlett Johannsson) retracing her family roots and facing her past tormentors.

Click Here to read more

Shiva Baby (2021): A Review

Written and directed by Emma Seligman, Shiva Baby focuses on Danielle (Rachel Sennot), a young Jewish bisexual woman who attends a “shiva” (the Jewish morning

Click Here to read more