Tina Turner will remain as one of the most iconic personalities in music. The latest documentary produced by HBO called “Tina” is possibly the artist’s farewell to the public sphere while preparing to enjoy the rest of her life by herself.
Tina Turner’s Story As A Performance
The documentary’s opening scene is a tremendous greeting by Tina Turner. It is a clip that is almost three decades old. The clip had Tina, who was 50 then, addressing a packed stadium and demanding that the audience ask the singer about her feelings at that moment. The singer was dressed in her trademark silver-sequined dress and flaunting her long legs. She had then gone on to give an extraordinary performance of the song “Ask Me How I Feel” which still blows away anyone who watches it.
This is not the first chronicle of the singer’s life. She has an autobiography named “I, Tina”. There is also a biopic featuring Angela Bassett called “What’s Love Got To Do With It.” A more recent example would be a Broadway Musical called “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical.” All of the titles and performances offer intricate explanations and dedicates themselves to all the abuse, trauma, hardships, and nuances in the life of Tina Turner. The singer is now 81 years of age.
This film, however, is reportedly different from all the past chronicles.
A Chronicle Of The Woman That Is Tina
The film starts with the moment when Tina Turner arrived on the musical stage. It was the beginning of a new era with an innovative style and genre that was exclusive to the 80s. However, it also includes one of her life’s most obvious and ignored truths. 1981 marked five years from when she had filed for a divorce with Ike Turner. It was also the year she spoke out about all the atrocities she had experienced at the hands of her former husband.
The interview conducted by People magazine was expected to silence the constant stream of questions that the world had about her failed marriage with Ike and the divorce. She had revealed the complete story of her life which included all the abuse she had seen when she was a child, her life’s financial struggles, and a lot of other hardships. She had admitted she had done so to avoid never having to bring it up again.
However, it was not to be. Tina Turner’s painful life became one of the most influential and inspirational lives ever. As such, she was compelled to keep revisiting it and retelling it. This has admittedly also meant that the artist had to relive and rehash the most traumatic moments. Reportedly, the world could not stop asking her for more.
The documentary, according to critics, also reminds the audience that women of color are seldom given soft spaces in which they can thrive and expand. “Tina” is admittedly the last time the artist is allowing entry into her life. Tina Turner directly narrates her life story in five parts. It was filmed in 2019 while she was comfortably seated in her estate in Switzerland. The film is the work of T. J. Martin and Dan Lindsay which covered the artist’s younger years, her opinion on being a mother, and her infallible will to succeed.
The film consists of archives and Turner’s personal memories to enact an immersive past for the audience to experience. Critics have positively marveled at the film’s ability to put a viewer alongside Tina and Ike Turner.
Tina’s dazzling public personality had a special focus. However, at the same time, away from the public, the film looks at the sufferings she had to withstand silently in her marriage of 16 years. The stories of sexual, mental, and physical abuse from her ex-husband that she had to endure were given the same amount of spotlight. As such, both the “highs” as well as the “lows” are in the ride for the audience.
The film is set across sixty years. Audiences get to hear Tina Turner’s voice in 2019 as well as the one from archived footage. The accounts of dominance, violence, exhaustion, and terror in Turner’s life are unimaginably detailed. Reportedly, it is a miracle that Tina Turner has survived so long.
HBO’s film emphasizes how black women are expected to be complacent and thankful for whatever success they may achieve. Furthermore, they are expected to hide all the injustices that are going on in one’s personal life, smiling all the while the world of men try to take credit for their genius, work, and bodies.
Tina Turner decided to reveal all these four decades ago, adamantly refusing to leave any gruesome detail out. By doing so, she laid bare herself but the world kept poking at her injuries and prodding them without rest.
Tina’s Difference From The Rest Of The World
However, the film then chronicles how she had broken free of all the suffering. Tina had acted according to her Buddhist beliefs and had carved out her own path. She had run across a highway in Texas, beaten and bloodied, and then left her marriage retaining only the name. In the film, Oprah Winfrey, Angela Bassett, and Katori Hall make an appearance to admit how Tina’s life shed light on another possibility for black women for generations.
The film makes more examples of it by juxtaposing excellently remastered archives with her contemporary performers such as Dian Ross. The film makes it a point to show how different Tina Turner always was in whatever she did. Throughout the ages, Tina is shown doing it over and over again, making a space for herself exclusively by denying the shame that society covers Black women with. The film shows her continuing to do so through her performances laden with sexuality even after she reached 50.
Turner had achieved an extraordinary feat by carving out space for herself when she had reached the late 40s. She did so to deny the influence of Ike in her art and completely disengage herself from her former husband’s spotlight.
The HBO documentary on Tina Turner is another story in the recent trend that depicts the life of Black women musicians who persevered despite all that the world has thrown at them and tried to pull them down. The other films in the series are “The Clark Sisters: First Ladies Of Gospel”, “Genius: Aretha”, and “The United States vs. Billie Holiday”.
However, in conclusion, the documentary is not just about the contempt that Black women have historically faced. Critics have perceived it as an introspection by Tina Turner into her life. Her career had begun in 1957, and the singer is reportedly claiming a life without disturbances for whatever time remains through the film.