Op Ed: Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston.  Okay I haven’t spoken much about her except when she passed away.  The public has certainly weighed in on their opinions and judgments as predicted.  Now that its the day of her funeral it just reminded me of the day of my Father’s funeral.  The place that the services are being held today even looked like the same place my father’s was.  Same set up.  Same packed house.  Some in tears unable to speak.  Others joyous in celebration of a life lived.

When I found out about Whitney’s death I just happened to be a couple blocks away from the Beverly Hilton.  I heard the sirens and helicopters.  I felt a sense of dread and annoyance with the noise.  The irony was I experienced the exact same feelings when Michael Jackson died.  I also just happened to be minutes away from one of his homes in the Westwood area where he died.  I was roaming through the village and was severely annoyed by all the helicopters and sirens going off.  I decided to walk back to the office and ran into a colleague as we criss-crossed across the intersection going in opposite directions.  He goes, “Michael Jackson just died.”  I kind of giggled uneasily with a bit of desperation, “What?  Yeah right.”

I raced to my computer to go online and low and behold.  I was shocked in the same way I was about Whitney Houston and not because oh it was expected.  I was taken back to the 80’s and growing up with them all over MTV and the radio and where I was at that time.  It was nostalgic and I felt like I knew them.  They were in my house when I was a kid.  I was never a Whitney Houston fan, but I didn’t hate her.  I was perfectly aware of how talented she was.  She just didn’t make music I was into, but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t fond of her abilities or praising of what an incredible voice she had.  I was.

Now for the dirt that not many know about the real Whitney Houston.  One of my friends had worked her with on set on many gigs in the late 90’s and in the 2000’s.  Whitney Houston herself was a total sweetheart.  One of the nicest people.  Kept to herself and was almost shy, but if you started speaking to her she slowly came out of her shell and warmed up.  She was a lovely person.  However unfortunately she surrounded herself with those that were not so lovely.  Bobby Brown.  Whitney had a huge entourage around her, but they weren’t her people.  They were ALL Bobby Browns.  He and his people were demanding and rude.  A huge trailer would always be brought in parked wherever it wanted just for Bobby.  Lists of demands that were from Bobby and his camp.  Mind you, he’s not even on the gig.  They would just park it on set of whatever Whitney was working on.  He wasn’t even on the movie or had anything to do with it, but he shoved his way in there and rode on her coattails.  He was a user and she was the sole financial breadwinner.  Your team and who you surround yourself with makes ‘you’.  So if you’re a nice person, but you’re team is not, then it looks like you’re this obnoxious star, when in truth you’re not.  That was Whitney.

My friend who worked with her and Angela Bassett many times – we discussed this whole thing as I pressed for answers. I remember when she was working with her.  We were saying that Whitney had to have something that was missing inside her growing up that made her seek out and glob onto such a person as Bobby Brown.  I know we’re all adults and responsible for the path we go down.  No one was putting a gun to her head to go down that path.  She seemed to feel secure under the wings of this guy and she could’ve done better.  I was with someone very similar to Bobby Brown when I was 22/23, but I make a pact a couple years in that it was time for me to get out.  I didn’t need someone like that to feel safe and secure as I can do that on my own.  I was growing up very quickly, but I know the feeling at that time when I was attracted to that way of life.  I could see initially how Whitney might’ve felt, but unfortunately she just couldn’t find the strength to find it on her own and do it without him.

Even by the time they divorced and she did, she was already still fragile and vulnerable and someone around her should’ve offered her a better path.  Because its Whitney Houston and we put stars on a little bit of a pedestal often times those around don’t necessarily tell you what you need to know.  It is tragic and sad not just because of her death, but some of the public’s reaction’s that she’s a druggie, crack-ho or whatever else they’ve been spewing.  A well rounded person knows what’s it like to walk in someone else’s shoes.  You have to tune in to others and what’s really going on inside.  Some reach for substances to shield that hole or low feeling.  It’s not the answer, but I know what its like.

When I heard of her death, I was saddened and not entirely shocked, but a little.  I thought “oh she might’ve taken too much of something” like Heath Ledger and not realizing that that was the final straw.  Her body just couldn’t take it anymore.  Then after I got over that quickly, I reminisced back and what a profound talent she was and would’ve loved to see her really come back strong.  Now we’ll never know.

Rest in Peace Whitney Houston

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