by Kayla Jarrett
“Go straight to hell, Ike!” These are the words of Ike Turner’s ex-wife, Tina. Her feelings toward him are the same as mostly all other individuals. Ike Turner was a vicious, lying, and abusive man. He abused drugs, and he abused his wife Tina. He was a successful musician, however he used his power and money to buy crack, as well as to reign over Tina. He deserves to be blamed for the terrible decisions that he made throughout his lifetime.
There are many controversies surrounding Ike Turner. The most popular one is the problems he had with his marriage to Tina Turner. Ike was reported as being mentally, physically, and emotionally abusive throughout the duration of their marriage. Their marriage was consumed with some of the evils that often accompany fame: drugs, money, lies, and unfaithfulness. The general public was made aware of these issues as a result of a few different events. The first was when Tina left Ike and went to stay with a friend. The second was when Tina filed for divorce and decided it was better to gain absolutely nothing from the settlement than to stay married to Ike. The final time was when Tina wrote I, Tina: My Life Story, which was later turned into the famous movie “What’s Love Got to do With it?”.
Ike Turner was a sick man who should be blamed for his habitual lies, irresponsibility, and abusiveness. In this invective, I will blame Ike Turner for the trauma that he caused Tina throughout their marriage and musical careers together. I will have the reader yelling for Ike to “go straight to hell” just as Tina did.
Ike was born on November 5, 1931 in Mississippi. He came from an unstable household and a bad community. When Ike was a child, his father was beaten by a white mob, then later died due to the injuries. His mother remarried, however his new stepfather was an abusive alcoholic. He and Ike often got into physical fights. In one instance, Ike beat up his stepfather, and then ran away from home for a few days. Along with being in a physically abusive environment, Ike was also sexually abused at the age of six by an older woman. This abuse continued on for years, however Ike claimed to not be traumatized by it; instead, he described it as fun. He was also raped by two other women by the age of twelve. From a young age he was exposed to enough tragedies and unfortunate events to cause him to grow into the bad person that he became.
When faced with conflict, Ike made several bad decisions, as well as immoral choices. He decided to drop out of school to pursue hanging out in night clubs and hotels. Instead of continuing to further his education, Ike found it more fulfilling to be around musicians whom were much older than he and who influenced him negatively. A second conflict that Ike faced in which he made a bad moral decision involved the music industry. He was under a lot of pressure to perform, to write lyrics, and to sound good. Underneath this pressure is when Ike decided to start snorting cocaine. Instead of handling this common conflict that accompanied the life of every successful musician in a productive and safe manner, he made the decision to become involved in drugs. A third conflict that resulted in a bad decision involved his wife, Tina. Ike chose to approach their conflicts in an abusive way. He would abuse Tina both physically and verbally whenever she did not do what he asked. In an interview with Spin Magazine Ike admitted to repeatedly hitting Tina after any show in which she would go on stage sad.
After doing extensive research, I have discovered that there were several occurrences throughout the marriage of Ike and Tina in which Ike should be blamed. Ike protested that the way he was portrayed in “What’s Love Got to do With it” was false. However, the testimonies from Tina, third parties, and even Ike himself prove otherwise. Ike was a liar from birth until death. In interviews he would often contradict himself. In an interview with The Daily Beast regarding his initial reaction to Tina’s movie, Ike disagreed that he ever cheated on Tina, as the movie portrayed. However, in a later interview with Spin Magazine, Ike admitted that “Tina’s said I always messed around with other women, and that’s true, I won’t deny it” (Spin). Along with being a liar, Ike was also known for abusing Tina. One of Ike and Tina’s former band members, Clifford Solomon, recounted times that Ike would abuse Tina in front of them.
The band members didn’t like the way Ike treated Tina. He’d hit her, terribly. Her eyes were often blackened. Once, he bought her a dress with bird feathers that he wanted her to wear on TV. She wore it before the show, so Ike was enraged. The next day she was wearing sunglasses. (Spin)
Lastly, Ike never took responsibility for his actions in their marriage. He argued that Tina deserved to be hit or cheated on because of her disobedience. He tried shifting the blame from himself to others by saying that he “did not beat her more than the average guy beats his wife” (Spin).
Some may argue against blaming Ike. He was an extremely accomplished and exceptionally talented musician. Ike Turner was a legend. There are his two Grammy Awards spanning 35 years apart, and his Rock & Rock Hall of Fame induction in 1991 alongside Tina Turner. And unbeknownst to many nowadays, he is credited as one of the founding fathers of Rock and R&B. However, all of this success is lost in the shadow of his history of domestic violence and drug addiction to coke and crack cocaine. His success as a musician means nothing since it was accompanied by such dark and immoral habits. Despite his talent and musical abilities, Ike Turner’s name will live on in infamy because of the choices that he made.
Just like Ike, Bobby Brown was a successful musician and forerunner for the genre of R&B. However, he too was involved in domestic violence with his wife, Whitney Houston, and he too had a drug addiction to crack cocaine, as well as heroin and marijuana. His success was overshadowed by his battle with drugs and his abuse toward Whitney. Many people blame Bobby for the death of Whitney because he was the one who introduced her to drugs, which lead to her addiction. As a result, Whitney eventually lost her life due to her battle with drugs. The relationship that Brown had with his wife cast a shadow over his entire musical career. Like Ike, he is infamous for the trauma that he caused his wife. Both were introduced to the same fame and attention, and both made the same immoral choices when faced with conflicts.
Ike Turner is not someone to be praised. Instead, he should be blamed for the bad decisions he has made, and for the trauma that he caused Tina. There were many conflicts throughout his early life, such as the violent death of his father, the abusive relationship with his stepfather, and the sexual relations with older women. However, Ike was the one to make the decision to handle them immorally and foolishly. Whatever the primary inspiration, an elixir of demons spawned Ike into the alleged monster he is immortalized as today.
“Ike’s Story: SPIN’s 1985 Feature on Ike Turner.” Interview by Edward Kiersh. Spin
Magazine 11 June 2015: 1-5. Print.