Being Tina Turner

My Times review of Tina Turner’s autobiography, a sequel of sorts to her 1980s bestseller, “I Tina”. Once again, her stage partner Ike  – wife-beater, drug addict and musical pioneer – looms large:

As awful as Ike was, there remains the nagging thought that the R’n’B he made with Tina had more fire and energy than the anthems that brought her a huge following from the 1980s onwards. Tina takes a dim view of her early work in her first autobiography. Who can blame her for feeling jaundiced about it? But will posterity come to the same conclusion?

It’s ironic too that a singer who has become a rock goddess is so self-effacing about her looks. Beneath the exotic wigs and leather minis lurks a much quieter creature: “I was — and I am still — amused by the constant attention paid to my legs. I truly don’t get the fuss. Did you ever see a pony’s legs when it’s just born? Long and spindly? That’s what my legs always looked like to me. When I was young, I used to think, Why do I look like a little pony? My short torso is hooked onto these two little dangling legs, but I’ve learned how to wear clothes to flatter them. In Nutbush, no one would have looked twice at my legs. Black women who were full and curvy were considered beautiful, but my body, which was just skinny and straight, never turned any heads.”

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