LOS ANGELES, February 10, 2011—Troubled pop star Whitney Houston has died at age 48. Her untimely death was predictable, but still tragic.
She died at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, three blocks from my home. Had any of us known that any person was three blocks away and dying, we would try to save them, celebrity or not. Sadly, we usually get the news after it is too late.
Miss Houston was the epitome of a troubled star. At her best, she was one of the most talented, elegant, graceful, and classy women in the entertainment industry. Her songs ranged from danceable hits to powerful love ballads. Her acting skills in movies such as “Waiting to Exhale” and “The Bodyguard” were solid. She was a rare combination of ability, talent, and powerful beauty.
Her singing of the National Anthem at the Super Bowl a couple of decades ago was one of the greatest renditions of the song in American history. While this was lip-synched, it does not take away that she still sang it. Her voice was angelic, and as uncertainty about the first Gulf War raged, she was a welcome respite.
At her worst, she was a tabloid cliché. She had a stormy marriage to and divorce from bad boy Bobby Brown. She was a heavy drug user who battled multiple addictions. She destroyed her body, her mind, and even her precious voice.
The woman who sang, “Love will save the day” found out in the end that it did not.
The woman who crooned, “How will I know (if he really loves me)?” will now never know.
The woman who asked, “Where do broken hearts go?”” hopefully now has hers in Heaven.
She was not evil. She was just self-destructive. We all have inner demons, and sadly hers consumed her.
She was not just pop fluff. While others wrote many of the lyrics, she sang them with power. One particular song about a woman confronting an adulterous boyfriend became a powerful ballad and then was remade as a great dance song.
“Packed your bags so you can leave town for a week…
The phone rings, then you look at me…
Said it was one of your friends…down on (5)4th street…
So why did 213…show up on your caller ID?
It’s not right…but it’s ok…
I’m going to make it anyway…
Pack your bags…up and leave…
Don’t you dare come running back to me…
It’s not right…but it’s ok…
I’m going to make it anyway…
Close the door behind you, leave your key…
I’d rather be alone than unhappy.”
While her lyrics portrayed a strong, independent woman, her inner strength when it came to illegal and deadly substances did not match her outward demeanor.
While her death was expected, it is still very sad.
This woman had incredible potential, and she reached stratospheric heights.
She did not coast on beauty. She had real, powerful talent.
She was not a wannabe. She was. Other young women wanted to be her.
While her death has nothing to do with race, there is a racial aspect that cannot be ignored. While she was a model for many young girls, at the height of her influence she was a source of pride among black women everywhere. She was a strong black woman who could maintain her toughness, yet still keep her femininity. She succeeded in a man’s world while remaining “every woman.” She was sensual, but did not use her sexuality in place of actual skill. Her death is a harsh blow to the black female community. To hold her up as a role model given her ending may not be possible.
Yes, she did this to herself. Yet that is not the same thing as saying she deserved to die.
Her death was completely avoidable, but that does not make it less tragic.
She was a human being, and the voice that made people laugh, smile, and cry, should trump the shattered voice at the end unable or unwilling to effectively cry for help.
Over the last few decades, so many people have died due to alcohol and drug addiction. From Janis Joplin to Jim Morrison to Jimmy Hendrix to Amy Winehouse, this is not new. The world of sports has let time forget that 25 years ago, only eight days apart, we lost Len Bias and Don Rogers needlessly.
Winehouse before her death sang that she would not go to rehab.
One can only hope that if Whitney Houston could come back to life, she would beg people to avoid drugs.
The coming days will feature another round in the endless debate over whether or not to legalize drugs (I am vociferously against this). Some will say that now is not the time for this, but if not now, then when? When it is too late and another person has needlessly died?
Drugs are a scourge. They are evil. They are pure poison. They take people like Whitney Houston and destroy them. Yes, personal responsibility plays a major role. Miss Houston did this to herself.
Yet she was still a human being. She was part of the American family. She was not out robbing banks, abusing children, hurting animals or the elderly, or engaging in any other terrible activities.
She brought happiness to millions of people, particularly young people.
This is why her death is particularly tragic. During her brief time on Earth, she was a walking contradiction. She brought so much pain and heartbreak to herself.
She also brought so much happiness to millions of others, most of whom she would never know. She positively impacted people everywhere across the globe by the sheer positive presence she exuded during the good days.
Her ending will not be forgotten, but hopefully time will allow the good to shine through. That good will be around forever, long after we are all gone.
It is too late to tell her this. She will never know if people really loved her.
They absolutely did.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, blogger, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian.
Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.” Eric is 100% alcohol, tobacco, drug, and liberalism free. After years of dating liberals, he has finally seen the light and now only dates Republican Jewish women. His family is pleased over this. Republican, Jewish women, you may contact Eric above.
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Eric Golub is an independent writer for the Communities. Read more from Eric at his TYGRRRR EXPRESS blog.
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