The death of Whitney Houston was sudden and shocking. It was shocking because I don’t think anyone was sitting around leisurely assuming Whitney Houston was going to die in February of 2012. It was saddening,as every death is saddening. I have considered not blogging about Whitney’s death,because nothing can be said that has not already been said,be it negative or positive. Personally I think that if someone dies people should just keep their negative lashing to themselves,out of decency and respect. I said this often in the aftermath of Michael Jacksons’ passing.
I idolized Whitney Houston as a little girl. Literal idolization. There was no one with more power at that time,it was expected that Mariah Carey would fade out,Mary J. Blige would fizzle and Whitney would reign forever-like Aretha. Time has passed and we have watched Mariah survive a nervous breakdown and come out on top. We have watched Mary J move to the forefront of all that represents sensible and strong women in music. It is sad about Whitney,but in truth it has been sad for a long time.
I don’t take issue with people mourning their heroes. Some celebrities state that they draw strength from their fans support. Some feel that their fans are their family or friends. Stars share their lives and in return we should pay homage when they die,so people crying or being sad that she died is not an issue for me. I met hundreds of MJ mourners after June 2009,and we all became a cyber family.
I also did not take up verbal arms against Governor Christie for his decision to lower the flags in her honer. Did she do anything to deserve the gesture? No. Do I support the gesture? No. However I agreed with Christie’s statement “Many thinks she does not deserve it,but I do and it’s my executive order”. As someone who supports states rights,then I can’t attempt to force the governor of New Jerseys hand,the decision had no effect on my life whatsoever.
What I do take issue with is the practiced selectively blind,as well as selectively judgmental. While there are a few scathing comments popping up under youtube videos,they are just trolling for arguments. I have heard so many in shopping isles and on facebook comments talking about the “industry” chewing up and spitting out its own. Talks about how all of it could have been avoided…yes it could have been avoided,but not by anyone’s hand but Whitney herself. I even saw a short article stating how the death of Whitney Houston has “brought up concerns about mixing alcohol and prescription drugs”….really?
When Michael Jackson died I mourned for months,much to my own chagrin;however,the difference in Michael Jackson’s death and Whitney’s are like the difference in a desert and the amazonian rain forest. One has so many factors and variables it has to be studied,while the other is so barren that to see anything but the obvious is to see a mirage. What we want to see.
The death of Michael Jackson brought on a reflection of a whole lifetimes worth of art,a study of that art and what it tried to convey. It also caused a reflection on ourselves and the perception that we impress on others. It provoked an investigation into a private and deeply thoughtful mind,and yes,it shone a light on an industry and its inadequacy in protecting its own. While there were stone throwing critics who said Michael was a cross dressing perverted drug addict,deeper inspection still was able to raise questions,especially when nothing surrounding the death/crime scene,the autopsy or the burial ha ever made sense.
The same year that Michael Jackson died,Whitney attempted a “come back”. People were enthralled and I for one was happy about it. We all know how it really turned out,and that in itself was sad. However,she could have pushed the release of the album and the tour off until her voice recovered. She didn’t have to “soldier on”. She didn’t have to compare her soberness with Michael’s supposed addiction. In truth,she didn’t have to comeback. The story was that she was happily being a mom and Clive Davis begged her to comeback.
It is okay to say that Whitney Houston was a drug addict. It is okay to say that she,by her own hand,lived recklessly. She didn’t hide it. It is okay to say that she was very much a diva-she did not hide that either (watch the episodes of her and Bobby Browns reality show). She is not the first to have both those attributes. Etta James was a heroin addict. Billie Holiday was an addict. Diana Ross is a diva. I have read comments on Whitney Houston’s class…Whitney has not exemplified class in a long while. Jennifer Lopez has exemplified class better than Whitney has. Whitney had a strong and perfect voice and could nail a ballad but classy she was not. It is a sad loss yes,but every loss is sad. I think it is hypocritical that last year a very young talent died,and nine out of ten comments said “drug trash what do you expect to happen”. Amy Winehouse went through detox from hard drugs which weakens the body to a dangerous degree,and was sent out to soon after rehab. She died of alcohol poisoning,and before Adele came on the scene Amy was THE new throw back songstress/songwriter. Her death was a blip on the screen of eulogies at the Grammy Awards.
We want our artists to sing songs we relate to. We want them to sing of heartache so we can get through our own. We don’t want them to have their own heartaches and we don’t want them to be on drugs or alcohol or be unkind. So when a “crack whore” like Winehouse dies we will make fun,and when a privileged singer like Houston dies we ignore reality,or start arguments on how to honor her. The truth is in all classes of society there is addiction of some kind. I don’t judge it anymore because I have had my own,but if I die of lung cancer one day no one should say it was because of the failures or the pressures of anyone else.
I did not watch the funeral except for Kevin Costner’s speech,which was very honorable,funny and dignified as only Costner can be. It was a speech from a friend and probably the fan favorite as it dealt with the movie the Body Guard. I will say,that no matter the circumstances we should show respect,there are living friends and relatives who still live in the public eye when one of them falls.