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As we grow and evolve, we are able to reflect on the things we have contributed to the world. Our stories become less about imagination and “what ifs?,” and more about the concrete details that have shaped our path and who we are. While so many people have allowed us to benefit from their talents, there comes a time when they sit down and recall how the moments not only impacted the world, but also themselves. Tina Turner has given us a glimpse of her feelings through literature and dramatic cinema, but now she steps in front of the camera in the new documentary TINA on HBO and HBO Max to bring us in even closer.
The two hour long documentary opens with an energetic and heartfelt performance of “Ask Me How I Feel” (1989). The song posed a question that fans across the world have wondered for years but never had the right words to ask. How does someone with that much life behind them feel? For a moment it seemed that this film would consist of her pouring her heart out but instead viewers were taught a lesson: No matter how public their life is, people have the right to gauge how much they are willing to share.
The first part of the documentary is titled “Ike & Tina”, an unfortunate dynamic many of us have heard about over and over again. There have been stories, jokes, songs, and more written about the couple but we never understood the depth. Even as Tina recalls these moments in her life, she keeps it to the point. Although she highlights details of her gruesome marriage, her straightforward and almost monotone voice wasn’t inviting to pity. “It wasn’t a good life,” she says very plainly. “It was in some areas. But the goodness did not balance the bad.” The documentary emphasized her words through pictures and recordings from previous interviews. She glided through questions about her parents abandoning her and her siblings at a young age and the physical abuse from her husband, but when it came to one specific moment, she allowed us to stand in her shoes. The day Tina Turner decided enough was enough, seemed to be a monumental turning point for her. Bystanders often assume that there is an unthinkable event that causes people to walk away but for Tina, it was similar to nearly every day of her marriage. She detailed what she had on, where the couple were headed, running through traffic, and her thoughts as she fended for her life. It was the first time we could understand exactly how she felt and it almost felt intentional that she started to open up when discussing the beginning of her freedom.
The latter half of the documentary highlighted something that it often looked over, her rebrand and rebirth. As interview clips flashed across the screen, it became extremely evident that Tina was expected to change the narrative placed on her. Instead of receiving support, she was punished for the things she had been through. Interviewers wouldn’t stop asking about Ike and people in the music industry didn’t want to touch her “tainted image.” Angela Bassett, who played her in the biopic What’s Love Got To Do With It, explained that “it is hard to wrap your mind around, that the worst parts of your life are an inspiration” and that became extremely evident. Tina wanted to move on, although the world insisted her to dwell and explain. Despite the constant hurt, the star remained in control of her story. As the details of her solo career were explained, it was clear that she is solely responsible for the version of her that we fell in love with. Most people believed she broke away from Ike and kept going with the things he instilled in her but, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The shaggy hair, shorter dresses, belting sound, and strong confidence was a result of her finding and solidifying who she is.
The documentary described her solo success with a montage of clips with brief statements by producers and executives who played a part in it. Before discussing her current marriage, there is a brief segment explaining the relationship Tina has with her mother. The reserved tone resurfaced while she eloquently summed up her relationship that lacked love. You could see her pulling back as she talked about the lack of affection, support, belief, and want from her mother. She didn’t expound more than she had too and never mentioned how that relationship molded her as a mother to her sons. There wasn’t a discussion detailing the bond she shared with her children except a brief moment of her admitting she wanted to spend more time with them while she worked. Her body language made it clear that the hurt was still present but in that same moment, it was clear that it also wasn’t our business to dissect her pain.
The documentary ends with her attending the 2019 Broadway show Tina– The Tina Turner Musical. As we saw the cameras flashing and her walking on stage to join the cast, the star discussed bowing out gracefully. While it was suggested that she was saying it to her fans, it almost felt like she was saying it for herself. So much of the documentary highlighted how she was able to learn and evolve after detaching from a situation that no longer served her. Maybe, Tina’s last chapter isn’t what we’ve seen up until now, but rather the inner work she is able to achieve when we let her go.
If you are a fan of Tina Turner (I mean how could you not be?), share this article with a friend. Tune in daily to AfterBuzz TV for articles on all the latest news on the world of entertainment.
Toree Weaver is an AfterBuzz TV host with a passion for glamour and kingdoms. When she isn’t modeling or dancing, she can be found binge watching shows from Gossip Girl to Game of Thrones.
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