TINA – An Intimate Portrait Of The Legendary Tina Turner
HBO’s TINA, a feature documentary is a revealing and intimate look at the life and career of musical icon Tina Turner, charting her improbable rise to early fame, her personal and professional struggles throughout her life and her even more improbable resurgence as a global phenomenon in the 1980s.
This unvarnished, dynamic account features insightful interviews with Tina herself, conducted in her hometown of Zurich, Switzerland, and with those closest to her. It also features a wealth of never-before-seen footage, audio tapes and personal photos, telling a deep and absorbing story about the queen of rock ‘n’ roll in all its complexity.
In the fall of 1981, struggling to gain meaningful momentum in her career, Tina Turner sat for an interview with Carl Arrington, the music editor of People Magazine. Five years earlier, she had filed for divorce from Ike Turner, her husband and musical partner for over 16 years. Together they had climbed the charts and made musical history with their hits “A Fool in Love”, “River Deep – Mountain High” and “Proud Mary”. Off stage, they appeared to have a healthy marriage and family life.
The story she would tell Carl was an honest and harrowing account of the abuse and torture she had suffered through during her marriage, and the brave escape she made after years of trauma. The article would be the first of many profiles that would cement Tina’s image as a survivor, helping to fuel the story of her extraordinary yet improbable career comeback.
Having lost everything but her name in the divorce, Tina spent several years in Las Vegas, performing in cabaret clubs and appearing on television variety shows. In 1983, at the age of forty-four, she recorded the album “Private Dancer” in just two weeks and it quickly became a commercial and critical sensation. Her single “What’s Love Got To Do With It” became her first and only number one hit on the Billboard 100 charts.
Tina 2.0 had arrived. “Private Dancer” sold over 12 million copies worldwide and cemented Tina as a bona fide superstar. She performed with Mick Jagger at LiveAid, won a slew of Grammys and wrote a best-selling autobiography, “I, Tina.” In 1988, Tina performed to a record-breaking crowd of 180,000 people in Brazil. By 1993, a feature film was made about her life, starring Angela Bassett as Tina herself. As her fame grew, so did her identity as a cultural symbol, becoming a representation of strength and resilience to her fans. Privately, she wrestled with the survivor narrative that shaped her later life and career and struggled to be released from her past.
In addition to a stunning amount of archival footage spanning 60 years, the documentary includes interviews with Angela Bassett; Oprah Winfrey; journalist Kurt Loder who co-authored “I, Tina,” which inspired the feature film; playwright Katori Hall, who scribed “Tina – The Tina Turner Musical”; and husband and former record executive Erwin Bach, among many others.
TINA draws to an emotional conclusion with Tina Turner taking a bow at the opening night of the Broadway musical about her life, a fitting swan song for an immensely talented performer who courageously spoke her truth about domestic abuse, and refused to let age, gender or a difficult past stand in her way. TINA is a celebration of Tina Turner’s immense talent, improbable journey to global stardom and her own embrace of her status as a beloved and respected survivor.
TINA debuts Saturday, March 27 (8:00 PM ET) on HBO and will stream on HBO Max.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.