My Love Story By Tina Turner - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Sunday, May 3, 2020

My Love Story By Tina Turner


                          

                             •Tina


MY LOVE STORY -Tina Turner 
(A Review by Nnedinso Ogaziechi)

“ …when you come to America, I want you to make love to me”. 

That was Tina Turner braving the odds, shattering stereotypes, surprising herself and shocking her husband Erwin at what seemed like a fairytale start of their relationship. However, her New York Times bestseller autobiography, My Love Story is not just about the interesting encounter with her German husband, it is a story of her life, of rejection and abuse, of strength and defiance and courage and the viable impact of hope and resilience of the human spirit! A story of sadness and joy and universality of love and kindness. A story of extraordinary love...

According to her, she was born Anna Mae Bullock but later adopted the stage name Tina Turner, Turner being her first husband, Ike’s name she retained after they divorced in 1978 after a sixteen year marriage. They played together as a group before and after their marriage. They were largely a successful group of the famous Ike &Tina Turner Revue. She contributed hugely to the success and fame of the group but unfortunately, Ike was too brutally chauvinistic to credit her with any impactful contribution to the group. He was as physically, emotionally and sexually abusive to her as he was very profligate and nauseously unfaithful as a husband.

To retain her loyalty as a band member and escape from financial liabilities from his numerous ex-wives, he dragged Tina to Mexico to perform a seeming marriage that he did little or nothing to maintain or keep. Ike Turner turned out a metaphor for domestic abuse, drugs and self-hate of the most repugnant hue. In Tina’s book, she narrates how she is unable to remember when she did not have a black eye due to the physical abuses from Ike. A man who took her to a Whorehouse on their supposed wedding night that she described as awful and nasty and nothing like a wedding  should be in the real sense, no ceremonies, no kiss the bride, no real family, just an event to get a transactional paper.

The last straw was the beating she received from Ike on their way to a hotel after one of their shows. She summoned courage, cuddled him to sleep despite her rage and took to her heels to no where in particular but to escape from his abuse for good! She had only 36 cents with her, but she left him without looking back, not for money, not for materials, she was fulfilled to be free. She went on to start a solo career and has been a success for over five decades. She is the poster woman for Rock’n’Roll, she acted too. She gives a vivid narrative about her music career, her stage antics, her fashion, her managers and dancers, her relationship with her audience, her American and European audiences and fans that she  tried to truly entertain. How she comes off sexy without being sexual in ways that her female audiences do not feel intimidated and the males don’t get carried away either.

From a hell-hole that marriage to Ike was, Tina liberated herself, pushed and pulled herself to phenomenal success in the music world. She shook off the rejection and lack of support from the mother, divorced Ike and took hold of her life and with that, her doors to success flung open…she never looked back.

From the nightmare with Ike, an older Blackman, she started a relationship with Erwin, a German music executive with EMI, a relationship that was love at first sight for the two. In Tina’s words, “ I wanted affection, I wanted romance, Sex with Ike in the sixteen years that they were together was  an expression of hostility, a kind of rape, especially when it began and ended with beating”.

The book presents a vividly honest account of her childhood, her struggles with growing up in Nutbush Tennessee, her first love and her first baby with Raymond. Her extended family relationships and bond with her sister and grandma. How she raised four boys. Her love and admiration for former First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis for her elegance, strength and serenity.

To be with an abusive husband who always threatened you with poverty if you left and spent all your earnings on other women and drugs was a tough life. So when Tina decided to run, she said, “I wasn’t just running from Ike, I was running towards a new life, Better to be someone else’s maid than Ike Turner’s wife” The new life came full cycle with success, fame and fortune and the love she had never experienced.

So when Tina met Erwin, a European, their sixteen years age difference was not an issue because there she was with an older black man that had the heart of a brute. In contrast, Erwin was loving and mature in ways that amazed her. In her words, “After Erwin came into my life, my sad story became my love story”

Erwin had proposed marriage three years after they started dating but Tina neither rejected no accepted. They were friends for more than thirty years but in 2013 when they wanted to get married, people still assumed he wanted her for her fame and fortune. Nothing could be further from the truth. Erwin was not in want. In fact they first lived in his house in Cologne for years before moving to Switzerland where again, Tina decided that after living with him for more than fifteen years, it made sense to take the citizenship and drop her American passport. 

Then Tina narrated her string of illnesses, from stroke, Cancer, High Blood Pressure to renal failure. A journey she has been through with a very supportive Erwin who has been her support like she has never had.
Erwin was a great anchor as Tina turner The Musical birthed, her life story performed in a song which she describes as,”Capturing my authentic spirit through good times and bad times – celebrating my lifelong relationship with music and my audience”.

Tina’s two kidneys were affected by her high blood pressure and she was undergoing dialysis for long but when she needed a transplant she was not sure given the strict Swiss laws about organ transplant that she might make it. She had prepared for the worst including elective euthanasia as it was legal in Switzerland.  Erwin her husband offered to be her donor, even when she objected and told him she was old and he had his life to live, he said, “…My future is our future” and with that, the donor and recipient went into the theatre for the surgeries. Then he nursed her through her recovery. 

Tina says of her phenomenal book, “My biography is the life of a woman who started as a little girl in Nutbush,...had strong winds against her yet stepped out into the big world with nothing but her voice, her optimism and her will to survive. 
“My story is my legacy”
“I had entered the world unloved, but I went on”
“I lived through hellish marriage but I went on”.
“I faced disappointment and failure because of my gender, age, color and all other obstacles that fate placed on my path but I went on”
“I found happiness with Erwin but as you know, I lost everything…until love saved me and still I go on, it is possible to turn poison to medicine, good came out of the bad, joy came out of pain and I have never been as completely happy as I am today”.

Tina Turner is one of the best selling artists of all time, has sold more than 200 million records, won many awards including 12 Grammies. Her autobiography is a well written narrative with flashbacks with an authenticity that is grippingly honest and genuine. 
The language is crispy and lucid laced with everyday humour and regular every day live details. It is a story told without any superstar airs. She takes the reader through all the stages of her life unedited and without any puritanic pretendes.

It is a book written as an unveiling of humanity. Stars are stars on stage but like every one of us, they have ordinary and sometimes very hard lives. Her strength and resilience is a lesson for every human male or female, adult or child. In this era of increased domestic violence, her story is very instructive. Again her story breaks all stereotypes about human beings. Race, age and status are often stereotyped in ways that push people over the age. How is it that a Tina literally broke all social rules but came out triumphant at the end? Good for thought.

This brilliant and elegant woman standing on two of the hottest legs in showbiz history has an electrifying stage presence that stamps her image on every soul that watches her performance.
Her autobiography is as compelling a story as her riveting stage performances in a career spanning six long decades…Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll like no other. Remarried at 73 and turns 81 on November 26!

My Love Story is an autobiographical paradox well written and full of lessons about race, love, family, career, citizenships, hope, marriage, misogyny, drugs, relationships and above all human possibilities. A riveting narrative!

For a legend that her iconic record, “What’s Love Got to do With It” catapulted to global fame, My Love Story truly shows that love’s got everything to do with her life  and indeed our lives too.

- Mad Writers/Provokers

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