I am dumfounded by the news that the legendary songstress Whitney Houston has died at 48 years of age. For me, and so many others she provided the soundtrack for our teen aged years. I was saving all of my love, I wanted to dance with some one… However during her struggles with addiction, a tumultuous marriage to Bobby Brown and the reality series that gave us the inside skinny on her life “Booobbbiiiie” there is something within me that is saddened and pissed off that through most of those hard times and even when she seemed to pull through them she was public butt of a joke, as was Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse.
Too often we as a society use the plights and illnesses of famous people as fodder for our entertainment. Photos of disheveled and strung out stars sell, they make for great blog posts and magazine covers. We forget that this is a human being in crisis, in need of help, support and compassion. Just 2 nights before her passing there were numerous blog posts of Houston leaving parties looking like, either she had had a good time or a “Great” time (if you know what I mean) with text that alluded to the idea that she had fallen off the wagon. Now whether that be the case or not, and whether her death was from drugs or of natural causes (i.e. a heart attack- that might have been as a result of years of drug use) or not, this is not, in my opinion the way we should be treating these people.
We can all recall the field day gossip outlets had with Amy Winehouse when she was truly in crisis. Monikers like Amy “Crackhouse” and the like were assigned to her. I would read and think that this was just mean spirited and insensitive, and damaging. Up until the day he died Michael Jackson was hounded, taunted, teased and talked about, be it for his appearance, his lifestyle, the accusations of child molestation. Does this not amount to bullying? and aren’t we vehemently against bullying these days? Yet the moment he passed it was like all of that fell away and what he contributed to the world, his efforts of humanitarianism, his artistry and brilliance were the only things that people could speak of.THAT was WHO and WHAT he was, not his nose or the masks or the eccentric behavior. Of course it is in bad form to speak ill of the dead, but it only takes a month or so for comics or writers of television shows to start up with the jokes. I know, I know it’s what they do, and we laugh and in a way it’s funny, and in a way healing but I still think that some how we are missing something, we are missing an opportunity to, as a society show up for people like this a different way.
I feel like we as a society fail them in a way. We fail to see them, to support them. Where they are with us through their art, creating the soundtracks of our lives: bolstering us up, giving us the strength to soldier on, to persevere, or the permission to cry, rage, and even to love or survive loss, and yet when they need our true love — our true support as fans…we fall short. When they need to feel our admiration, when they need a stadium sized intervention with people chanting “We love you, don’t die!” Were are we? Are we scrolling blogs keekeeing about what a hot mess they are?
My heart truly went out to Amy Winehoues’s father because he truly fought for his mother’s life with ever breath in his body. Even when the world, while loving her music and being entertained by it, were almost more entertained watching her demise. I wonder about the people in their camps who might have a vested interest in their staying sick and dependent. I think about the parents, lovers, “friends” managers and agents… I just wonder. I think of the Lindsey Lohans, and the Peter Dohertys and I wonder, could it be different for them, could we be different for them?
I don’t know but I Will Always Love Her!!!
Rest sweet angel in peace…