Mayor rejects Ike Turner Day

July 19, 2007 at 7:12 PM
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ST. LOUIS, July 19 (UPI) -- St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay rejected a request to honor Ike Turner, the iconic musician who admitted to hitting his ex-wife, entertainer Tina Turner.

Slay was asked to designate Sept. 2 "Ike Turner Day" by the Big Muddy Blues Festival, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Thursday. The award-winning Turner is scheduled to perform that day.

Dawne Massey, the music festival director who made the request, said the mayor's office granted a similar honor each year for the event's headline act.

"(Turner) helped put St. Louis rhythm and blues on the map," Massey said. "We were only looking to celebrate his contributions to the music industry. Many entertainers have checkered pasts."

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer got his start in nightclubs and blues bars in the St. Louis area.

In 2001, when he was named to the St. Louis Walk of Fame, Turner published a biography in which he admitted hitting his ex-wife.

Massey says a mayor's aide told her Slay would issue the proclamation. But the aide, Cathy Smentkowski, said the mayor changed his mind.

"When it (Turner's past) was brought to the mayor's attention, he did not feel comfortable issuing it," Smentkowksi said.

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