Clay Cane is a New York City-based writer who is recognized for his contributions in journalism. Clay is a regular contributor for various print and online publications such as The Advocate and BET.com. He is the author of the highly anticipated novel Ball-Shaped World, which is a fictionalized account of the black and Latino ballroom scene. Also, he is the Entertainment Editor at BET.com and a member of New York Film Critics Online. He can be reached at claycane@gmail.com.


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    Thursday, December 13, 2007

    Before we begin -- did Janet Jackson really say in her new song "Feedback": "Make a nigga wanna test drive"...? Huh? Maybe I’m wrong…maybe David Duke accidentally possessed my computer. No, seriously, someone please tell me I did not hear Janet say "nigga". What exactly does Janet say at 2:30?

    Legendary musician, Ike Turner, died in his sleep at the age of 76 on Wednesday, December 12th. Yes, I know Ike was a drug addict, womanizer and wife beater, but let's give one of the originators of rock 'n roll his respect.

    Ike's chaotic marriage to Tina Turner has overshadowed his over 50 year career in the music industry. Turner is credited (with some debate) as making the first rock n' roll song with 1951's "Rocket 88". He was the mastermind behind early soul anthems like “A Fool In Love" and "I Idolize You". In addition, Ike created one of the most powerful figures in rock, soul, blues, R&B and pop music -- Miss Tina Turner. Tina Turner herself has repeatedly said without Ike there would be no Tina Turner.

    It's despicable the way Ike terrorized Tina, but I also think it's important to respect the man's legacy. Keep in mind, Ike Wister Turner was born in a 1931 Mississippi during the Jim Crow South. For a black man to make it from the trappings of racism and poverty to become an iconic figure in contemporary music is phenomenal.

    Being a student of African-American Studies one of the things I learned about the struggle of black men during the Jim Crow South was the hatred they received from whites would often be taken out on black women. Black women endured ungodly abuse by the hands of black men, which was a residual of white supremacy. When Ike was raised it was probably normal to hit a woman, therefore, he treated other women as he thought they should be treated. It’s not like Ike was a pedophile like R. Kelly and black folks call Pissy a genius!

    Ike Turner's history has suffered the same way as Joan Crawford (don't you love how I can compare Joan and Ike!). Joan was one of few actresses who survived the transition from silent films to sound motion pictures. She was an Oscar-winning actress and single-handedly built MGM with her blockbuster movies. Still, when dearest Christina Crawford released Mommie Dearest, Joan's legacy was forever tarnished. Now she is a wire hanger screaming, drag queen favorite. Same with Ike, when Tina got the last word on her life with Ike, all remains of a great musician was lost in the abuse.

    Miles Davis, one of the most beloved jazz musicians of our time was a heroine using, wife beating catastrophe. Imagine if Betty Davis, Miles' ex-wife, released a book detailing her life with Miles and it became a major blockbuster film with Oscar nominations. Miles legacy would be demolished – most people know of Miles' violence, but no one disregards his genius.

    So let's give the man his respect -- rest in peace Ikie!

    Check out a riveting performance of Ike and Tina reverberating through “I Smell Trouble”.


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    Posted by Clay :: 1:16 AM :: 29 comments

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