“Tina”: The HBO Documentary Of A Rock Legend

Think you know all there is to know about the incomparable Tina Turner? Well, think again. On March 27, HBO and HBO Max will premiere a new documentary entitled Tina, featuring audiotapes, personal photos, interviews, and never-before-seen footage spanning 60 years on the girl from Nutbush, Tennessee.

The trailer opens with the notoriously private 81-year-old legend, seated, dressed in a black pantsuit with her trademark chestnut brown tresses grazing across her shoulders, and recalling childhood memories of her mother Zelma, who abandoned the family when Turner was a child. Though the two would eventually reunite, Zelma Currie often sided with her daughter’s then-abusive husband Ike Turner. According to a very candidly speaking Turner, “My mother didn’t love me, it was as simple as that. Even when I was a little girl, I knew she didn’t love me.”

Even though she possesses a persona large enough to suck the oxygen out of any room, Turner is internationally known for her dancing with the energy of gale-force winds, her powerful vocals, and for having had a life far from being charmed.

A Swiss citizen since 2013, Turner suffered a stroke that same year and had to learn how to walk again. In 2016, she was diagnosed with intestinal cancer and received a kidney transplant in 2017. The following year, Turner received the most painful blow any mother could take when her eldest son, Craig, committed suicide at age 59.

In her 2018 memoir, My Love Story, the “Proud Mary” singer wrote: “Craig was a troubled soul. I can still see him as a little boy, no more than two or three, wanting so badly to sit with me when I came home from a tour, but being told by Ike to go to his room. I’m sure in his little mind he didn’t have any words to explain how much he wanted his mother…it wasn’t his choice.” Turner keeps some of her late son’s most beloved possessions in her home as a way to honor and remember him.

After separating from Ike Turner in 1976, she applied for food stamps while living with her four boys and has stated that Ike was in the habit of sending over his associates to intimidate her. Their divorce was finalized in 1978.

Turner temporarily came out of retirement in 2020 to release a Kygo-assisted remix of her 1984 megahit “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” She is also a nominee in this year’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Turner was inducted before in 1991 as a duet act with Ike. This time, she is on the ballot as a solo performer. As she should be.

Aside from Tina Turner, others seen interviewed in the new documentary include: Tina’s husband Erwin Bach, Oprah Winfrey, playwright Katori Hall, journalist Kurt Loder and Angela Bassett who played Turner in the 1993 movie What’s Love Got to Do With It. The documentary will prominently feature the era during the beloved artist’s solo career resurgence which also crossed over into film.

It’s a fitting tribute to an artist who blazed trails — in many more ways than one.

-Sharon Oliver

Photo: Tina Turner (Wikimedia Commons)

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