My Unforgettable Encounters with Tina Turner

I think the wind tossed Tina like a helpless bird, until the answers and lessons she sought were in plain sight.Endless thoughts devoured my mind over the past months. They tossed me into uncharted and familiar territory.  I think a SPIRIT’S power tells when there’s a need to step back, listen, watch, and learn something new or revisit something old. Lessons are hidden everywhere, often in plain sight.

Friends and strangers found their way to me. Often, I’m not sure why they’ve come into my life or how long they’ll stay. I believe a clock is set on each relationship, and when the time is up, you and the relationship changes (sometimes for the best and sometimes for the worst). If we hold each encounter up to the light, there might be a clearer reason for where we are at that moment.

Several months ago, from extended health problems, Tina Turner died. She never used the word problem, because she maneuvered through obstacles. Her survival, she knew, was a greater good bestowed her. I know this because as a teenager living in Los Angeles, I befriended Tina while she and Ike lived in Baldwin Hills (the house was reproduced in the film What’s Love Got To Do With It?). This chance meeting happened because a close classmate’s grandparents owned a house a few doors from Ike and Tina, and their sons were friends of my classmate’s cousins. I remember Tina’s house was a mixture of fresh flowers, a recording studio built into the living room, and the longest white sofa I’d ever seen taking up an entire wall.

When Ike wasn’t home, my schoolmate and I visited Tina. A petite woman whose smile and hug masked verbal and physical abuse, a well-known neighborhood fact.  One thing she shared is that Ike insisted on her wearing new high heels for each performance. She learned to ignore foot pain and not miss a step in her dance routine or suffer his consequences.When Ike wasn’t home, my schoolmate and I visited Tina. A petite woman whose smile and hug masked verbal and physical abuse, a well-known neighborhood fact.  One thing she shared is that Ike insisted on her wearing new high heels for each performance. She learned to ignore foot pain and not miss a step in her dance routine or suffer his consequences. Tina was generous and kind, soft spoken, an excellent soul-food cook, and welcomed the opportunity to impart wisdom onto two admiring teenagers. She said we brought light into her life. We didn’t understand her meaning, because she was famous, and we had nothing to offer. But Tina told us that one day, as women, we’d know what light meant—to illuminate not just ourselves—but others as well. I saw Tina many times those couple of years before she left Ike, and he was forced to sell their Baldwin Hills home.

Why did I meet Tina Turner? It was the chance meeting of a classmate, whom I sat next to during lunch.

Tina’s advice of who she was inside armored her tears and pain. “You must love and care for yourself, because that’s when the best comes out.”

I think the wind tossed Tina like a helpless bird, until the answers and lessons she sought were in plain sight. With each storm, she stepped back and listened. I’m grateful for Tina Turner, who taught me to wait until there is something more powerful before moving on to another path.

After these silent months emerges a concentrated effort to write more meaningful sentences and live within a different culture outside of this one, bringing a new creation of who I am.

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Phillip Lott
Phillip Lott
8 months ago

I really liked your story and insights of Tina Turner Cheryl!

Zoe Robinson
Zoe Robinson
8 months ago

Cheryl, was fascinated to read of your encounter with Tina Turner. A soul who suffered much but who gave much of herself to us all. May you rest in peace dear Tina.
Your writing enrichs my day. Thanks Cheryl.
Love and Bon Voyage wishes.

Donna Pizzi
Donna Pizzi
8 months ago

Oh, dearest Cheryl!!! I sobbed while reading your poignant recollection of being befriended by Tina Turner amidst her tumultous relationship with Ike… This one sentence was what brought me to tears…”But Tina told us that one day, as women, we’d know what light meant—to illuminate not just ourselves—but others as well!” I added the exclamation point because this very statement is at the core of all that I’ve strived to do… helping others… You came into our lives first without knowing one another through magazine articles and photos and then, miraculously, in person in Portland, Oregon, of all places. Our lives have intertwined and words are always deeply enmeshed in our friendship. This piece and your vow to write more meaningful sentences brings me such JOY… Let your voice and your visions and your words, nay sentences soar… You are on a well-lit path. Tina is still watching over you, smiling with recognition that her words were sown deep in your soul. Amen, Sister. Amen!!!