With Ike Turner dying yesterday, most of the obituaries felt obliged to lead with the wife-beater stuff and then sort of follow up with the 'helped invent rock n' roll' part.' Some papers are also making a lot of hay over the fact that Tina Turner released a statement last night that more or less pissed on Ike's grave, saying that, yeah, she heard he was dead and she has nothing to say about it. In other words, the guy was fated to go down like a monster. He probably realized that more than anyone in his final years. And who knows, maybe he deserves the scorn he's receiving in death as well as what he got in life -- I know almost nothing about his personal history except what I saw in What's Love Got to Do With It? but that's the whole point. Did one performance actually change the tide of public opinion against a musical pioneer?
Laurence Fishburne's performance in the film garnered an Oscar nod, and deservedly so -- he paints a portrait of a very scary guy with practically no formal education and no way to control his erratic and violent impulses. In particular, the cake scene in the restaurant -- Eat that cake, Anna Mae! -- is now considered one of the classic scenes of the 90s. It's the kind of out-there scene with dynamic, gut-wrenching acting that sticks with you for years after you've seen it. But what if it didn't happen that way? What's Love Got to Do With It? admittedly fictionalized a large number of things, and I can't imagine Tina Turner was so concerned about giving Ike the benefit of the doubt when it came down to the details of their fights. Again, I'm approaching this as a curious devil's advocate -- maybe Ike deserved it all.