Editor’s Note: This page was originally supposed to be a preview of Broadway San Diego’s “Tina!” which is currently scheduled to come to San Diego next month. Unfortunately, with Tina’s passing last week, the ability to talk to the cast was put on hold. So I decided to reach out to members of the local LGBTQAI community about the famous star; the impact of her life, her passing, and any thoughts or feelings in between.
Mario Garcia – activist, mental health care advocate
I have always appreciated and enjoyed Tina Turner’s music since “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.” Watching the film, I remember thinking, wow, such a powerful personality. After my friend Kurt [Cunningham] passed away, I gained an increased respect for Tina. Kurt had long professed his love (obsession maybe?) of Tina. I didn’t get it until hearing the “Love Within” song\chant from Tina Turner’s “Beyond” album. My world changed as I sobbed silently listening to that song at his memorial. I listened to all of Tina’s albums after that, engrossed in the music videos, her two books, and news articles. When her documentary came out in 2021, I watched it twice in one night, sobbing like a baby both times. Appreciating that I was the last person to have a meal with and share a conversation with Kurt, I know that he welcomed Tina Turner into the beyond.
Lisa Sanders – musician & wood craftsman
Two weeks ago Tina Turner’s song “We Don’t Need Another Hero” [from the movie, “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome”] came into my mind, just as many songs do every day in my brain. This time was different. I turned to my wife, Karen, and said, “It feels like Tina Turner is going to cross over soon.” [Her death] hit me deep in my heart. It’s like losing someone who’s always been here with me. Though we’ve never met, it’s like she was a part of my world as I know it. She represents a time in my life when music first began for me. She was always there. Tina Turner was for me a tower of strength, resilience, and love. A powerhouse of a performer. A fierce force of nature. I’m choosing not to think of her as gone but a light that is still with us, shining on. It’s all I know to do in times like this. I will be forever grateful for the example of all those things worthy of praise and a good rest. May she rest in heavenly peace.
Robert Rodriguez – bartender & donut maker extraordinaire
When I first heard the news of the passing of Tina Turner, I was so surprised and saddened. I’ve been a fan of hers pretty much all my life growing up. Never knew of her struggles until her story was told by her movie “What’s Love Got To Do With It” and that’s when I fell in love with her even more. She was a strong, powerful woman and I admired her for that.
First thing I thought about when I first heard of her passing was how lucky I was to go to one of her concerts, in Houston Texas. I still remember till this day, she was performing at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion and Outdoor Theatre. I remember sitting on the lawn with my boyfriend at the time, and Chris Isaac was her opening act. I remember this because Chris Isaac would come walking on the lawn to greet the fans who didn’t have front row seats, so he’d go walking and say hi and thank the people in the nosebleed section.
He shook my hand and thanked me for being there. It was a great moment; but fast forward, I remember going down to the restroom and I ran into a friend of mine, standing there looking lost and disappointed. I asked him if he was ok. Come to find out, he was stood up by his date! I invited him to come sit with us on the lawn and his reply was, “No, why don’t you guys come sit with me, I have extra seats on the third row.”
I was so excited that I couldn’t believe it. I was about to see Tina Turner up close and personal. All I remember is after the concert, my neck was sore from looking up all night in amazement and I was able to see Tina’s panties under that famous silver short dress she used to dance around in hahaha. I know, I know, I shouldn’t be looking up a dress, but hey, when you get up that close to the stage, what do you think is gonna happen?
Anyways, that was the best concert I’ve ever been to! I lost my voice from screaming and singing all night long. I will never forget that night. I will forever love Tina Turner! May she rest in paradise!
Toni Robin – public relations professional
In 1984, I moved to San Diego sight unseen from Washington DC because a friend told me I would like the beach. I was 24, didn’t know a soul and didn’t have a job but I got a little apartment in PB as advised and started a new life alone. It was also the year Tina Turner’s Private Dancer album (yes, album) came out. I listened to it daily as her personal story and songs of strength, female power and fierce independence were a constant inspiration. And damn, she looked good. I still know all the words and know she is rocking it up in heaven!
Chris Barone – bar manager, event planner
Back when I lived in upstate NY, I would work backstage for a lot of the touring Broadway productions and concerts that would come through town. The most memorable was when I got the last minute call for Tina Turner. I was getting ready to go to a friend’s wedding and quickly made my apologies why I wasn’t coming. I mean, it was TINA!!! Long story short; she was an incredible person and I was so lucky to have spent a short time in her presence. She was very kind and sweet; especially to this 20-something gay boy who was trying his best to not lose it in her presence. She even had her wardrobe person cut the small leather bows off a pair of her signature, black pumps and give them to me. I still have one to this day along with the memory of an experience and an incredible human that I will never forget. She really was “simply the best.”
Patti Tienken-Bowman – PFLAG activist
Sadness because she was such a force of nature and survived her horrible relationship with Ike and came out of it better and stronger. A real inspiration for all women. And she gave us so many great songs like “River Deep, Mountain High,” and of course “Proud Mary” and “Private Dancer.” Loved her signature style. My youngest son was in his school’s show choir and they used to do many of her songs and that was the first memory that came to mind; watching the show choir (Music Machine) perform “River Deep, Mountain High.”
Sister Ida Know – Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
When a celebrity passes, I always think about how they impacted life for others and myself. It is sad to hear of Tina Turner’s passing. The instant reflection upon hearing it in the news was on the many images of Tina in the media, on stage and on the big screen. Her voice rings in my ears as I write this, “We don’t need another hero.” Her iconic voice sings to the soul and mentored so many with her style of music. Another person I would have loved to meet lives sweetly where she sang herself into; the hearts of the world. Be sure to find her music and love it.
Michael Magee – long time community resident
Her music became anthems for my youth and onstage she was a force of nature who epitomized everything a rock star should be. Tina Turner was also an example to us all of what it means to not just survive adversity, but to literally kick its ass. She showed us how to pick up the pieces, move forward and never look back. She was, to the core of her being, Simply The Best. Rest in peace, Tina. You’ve earned it.
Jerry Troyer – minister, homeless youth advocate
I was always inspired by and touched by her story, as she recognized that her past need not determine her future. My late husband and I attended her concert more than 20 years ago. Truly, “simply the best”!
Sue Palmer – musician
I became majorly aware of Ike and Tina Turner in the late 60s, while I was in college. I saw them at an underage venue in La Mesa once (Cinnamon Cinder) and once at the Point Loma College gym, with the Ikettes. I thought it was the most soulful and sexy performance I had ever seen, up to that point. However, I did notice that Tina and the Ikettes did not look very happy. Having toured myself, I know that it can be a grueling experience. Our country is huge and sometimes, by the time you get to California, you’ve been on the road forever and are exhausted. To have somewhat of a little nothing gig, for a few of us Point Lomans, was probably not a high point for them. Knowing what we know now about Ike, it could have been even more horrible. Tina’s story, as most women can attest, is all too common. The fact that she survived Ike’s abuse and went on to her own wonderful success, was perhaps the most inspiring part of her story. I saw her also, without Ike, at a big stadium gig here. She had so much energy, and did four encores!! She was amazing and we were lucky to have her. RIP Tina xoxoxox
RD Riccoboni – visual artist, therapist
I’m old enough to remember Tina Turner on black and white tv back in the 60s. On Hullabaloo and of course the Ed Sullivan show. As a little boy, I was completely mesmerized and a lifelong fan. Like true icons do, she instantly stood out, even to a little boy. When she embarked on her solo career I couldn’t get enough. What an amazing talent and role model, as she stood up for herself, reinvented herself and showed us her humanness, she became a hero to all of us mesmerized by her. That’s what legends do.
Garrison Bailey – musician
I grew up listening to Tina Turner. Her music and her moves are intertwined in my musical soul. She’s only been gone a few days but I feel her void. I have sadness and gratitude in spades. I did not know what to do to honor her memory [she figured it out, see below]. I know people die but I’m still so shocked when it happens. Tina’s passing hurt. I cried more than I expected I would. I used to be driving or daydreaming or whatever and I’d literally wonder about how Tina Turner was doing. Such a bright light of inspiration and immense talent. She definitely left a beauty mark on this world.
(Editor’s Note: Garrison wrote a heartfelt song and created an amazing video to honor Tina. To watch/listen, visit youtu.be/HIWN4idAZhc.)