it’s hard for me to even say these two words right now… whitney houston.
she has transcended.
i have to say, this hurt me almost as much as learning about the news of your transcendence. what hurt me more than anything was not necessarily who she was/is; the fact that there are so many people with light leaving this earth- people who have visions, people who utilize their art to counter dark energies is extremely troubling.
i must admit, when i learned of her transcendence i instantly thought of these words, spoken my ms. houston in 2010 in relation to her ‘nothing but love’ world tour. she was asked what she thought of the state of today’s music industry; she was also asked what she thought of the wardrobe she used to wear in the 1980s.
“music doesn’t change; people change the music. music is a gift from heaven, i believe…. they become characters instead of really displaying their gifts, and if you look behind a lot of the people that are out there… wearing these weird… kind of clothing… i’m not talking about anyone in particular but i’ve seen for myself; there are some extremely gifted and talented young women and young men out there, who don’t have to really put on halloween costumes. just be themselves… a little extravagance, a little flair, a little sexiness or sultriness is cool. but some of them are very dark. and days when we are going through so much… tragedies and earthquakes and things of… disasters and new orleans and the whole thing; it’s time to, i believe, to sing about love and what has been here since the beginning of time. and that’s been love.
i look at myself, i look at madonna, i look at prince, i look at michael; i look at all of us… we had costumes… they weren’t SCARY. it was that we were performers, performing… having artistry is one thing, but being dark and just, like, you know, different weird stuff is not becoming… to me, it’s just not becoming at all. “
when i first saw this interview, i showed it to a friend of mine. we both were of the opinion that ‘they’ were going to get her. it’s interesting that that specific interview was done in europe, or through a european media company.
the second thing i thought about was the interview she gave to oprah winfrey last year, speaking about your transcendence. i didn’t see the whole interview; however, i did see a bit of when she was speaking about you.
“i thought it can’t be true… no one have i ever met quite like that young man.”
in the interview she also reflected on her own addictions, saying that looking at you was like ‘looking into a mirror’. granted, there can be debate all day about whether you were addicted or dependant; i’m not going to get into that right now. because she apparently/reportedly was found, drowned in a bathtub; there are many options for investigation. the reports have stated that prescription pills were found in the hotel room she drowned in, and that there’s the likeliness that she drowned due to a mixture of xanax and alcohol.
i’m going to change the subject for a moment… the day before ms. houston transcended, i took lumbia to the doctor. she’s been having some issues, throwing up, not wanting to use her box, etc. i timed a lot of this with when she started interacting with the newer cats who moved in. those cats live upstairs but sometimes they do see each other.
lumbia used to go upstairs all the time, even with other cats there. she used to sneak and go to eat their food. now, she dreads going upstairs. i would take her up and she would groan, but now, she puts up a fight. sometimes one of the younger cats will come downstairs and interact with her, and they sniff; then about a minute later lumbia growls. she hasn’t stopped eating – in fact she scarfs down food the second i give it to her- she also runs around and wants to play, but she still seems depressed. whenever i get ready to leave she paces, sometimes thinking i’m not going to feed her before i go, even though i always do. and after her time of long rest, she sees me still up and paces, wondering when I’M gonna get to bed.
she is an older cat (she’s 9), so it’s possible she wants more attention these days. she also loves being around humans, but not other cats. when i took her to the doctor i described all of these situations; the doctor narrowed it down to something behavioural. with that, she wrote a prescription for prozac. i am not a big fan of pharmaceuticals, synthetic analgesics, benzos or anything like that. if i prefer not to use them for myself, would i want to use them on my cat companion? it’s bad enough she gets vaccinated, and is taking these crazy antibiotics. i am always reluctant to do that.
so when i see you being fed an excess of propofol, and seeing that whitney was ‘most likely’ on xanax, i am thankful, with my own history of depression, that i decided to never alter my chemistry with these drugs.
unfortunately, just like it was done with you, there will be a focus on ms. houston’s ‘struggle with addiction’…. even if the reasons why she left this earth have nothing to do with those struggles. a mixture of, say, antidepressants and alcohol is different from her drowning after a cocaine binge. neither one is good, but there is still a difference.
and of course, there is a part of me which processes the circumstances- she was found alone, drowned in a bathtub in a hotel room… i instantly think of jimi hendrix here. of course there is STILL speculation as to how he left. james ‘tappy’ wright claims in a book he wrote that hendrix’ manager admitted to being his murderer due to hendrix wanting to end his contract. john bannister, the autopsy surgeon, stated: “not only was (red wine) saturated right through his hair and shirt, but his lungs and stomach were absolutely full of wine. I have never seen so much wine. We had a sucker that you put down into his trachea, the entrance to his lungs and to the back of his throat. We kept sucking him out and it kept surging and surging. He had already vomited up masses of red wine and I would have thought there was half a bottle of wine in his hair. He had really drowned in a massive amount of red wine.”
and of course, like you, hendrix was a known insomniac; so he popped some vesperax – it was reported there were nine of them in his system. if indeed mr. hendrix was murdered, his story would match your story in a way, as there are still speculations on whether or not sony and/or AEG were involved in your murder. if hendrix’ ‘death’ was an accident, it would match the (for now) reasoning for ms. houston’s ‘death’.
but all of this is seemingly miniscule in comparison to how i am feeling about this whole thing. at the same time, it’s related. yes, i am getting ready to make a declarative statement- all the people running this industry feed off of the light energy and naivete and youth of so many people. these people just want to get in the business and have no knowledge about how the industry works. they see the end result and are not yet concerned about what earnings are going to be stolen from them, or what media situation they are going to be put through. some of these people don’t know how much they steal your soul.
individuals such as yourself, luther vandross, anita baker, ms. houston, donny hathaway, patti labelle, aretha franklin, diana ross, mariah carey and some others were familiar with the industry in one form or another, before being thrust into international stardom. however, once you are thrust into that life, very few people survive, without suffering from any sort of ‘breakdown’. like you, luther vandross was hounded about his sexual preferences, since he chose not to be open about it every two seconds. donny hathaway was diagnosed with schizophrenia and jumped out of a 5th storey window. mariah carey experienced a VERY public mental breakdown, following (and perhaps during) her marriage to tommy mottola. he was, for all intents and purposes, her handler.
besides ms. carey, you see others in this field, who have clearly had handlers. watching someone like britney spears do an interview is very sad. when STEVIE WONDER speaks of disco music as “preparing us for war” i think he was onto something. i again go back to ms. houston’s statement about the music of today presenting a horrific image.
surely, disco was around to keep us dancing amongst the destruction; however, today’s music is produced along the same lines. the deadened, hypnotic rhythms; the autotuned voices and the apocalyptic lyrics deaden us to the light we could otherwise be encountering with each other, and the world. it’s the “false prophets cry(ing) of doom”. the more access we have to technology, the more we are encouraged to worship celebrities, politicians and preachers as idols- and these figures speak nothing of self-reflection, community, self-determination or autonomy.
back to britney spears- there was an interview i saw where she was speaking to multiple people. the thing is, there was only one other person in the room with her. i do not know if she is diagnosed with a ‘multiple personality dis-order’ or schizophrenia; what i DID see in the interview was that she seemed under control by some sort of handler. it’s well-known that she came out of the ‘mickey mouse club’ era that differed greatly from the original era… or did it? there are people in ‘conspiracy theory’ circles who speak of those coming out of the ‘disney culture’ being victims of MKULTRA-type torture sessions; this could indeed be true for someone like ms. spears, who does look at times as if she suffers from PTSD. there were times she would also flash the paparazzi (either willingly or not); and of course there was the infamous ‘head shaving’ incident. it’s clear to me that she was not doing these things merely to get attention- it may have even been a cry for help. but because there’s no true conversation about mental health in this nation, nor is there a conversation about how celebrity culture IS about a culture of control- on both the figure of idolatry AND the consumer’s behalf- we just take ms. carey and ms. spears’ actions to be crazy.
and even the time when you had little blanket over the balcony- i am amazed no one speaks about the role the fans played in this. fans contribute to the idol worship as well. your claim was that you wanted to please the fans when they asked to see your son. my response to that would be that sometimes, the fans need to respect privacy. people will certainly be angry with this particular view, but it is a view i strongly hold. your attempt to please the fans backfired, causing a media backlash. i am not saying you would have dropped your kid- i did not see evidence of that- but you can’t always try to make people happy, when it affects how your private life is going to be. there has to be a line. because of celebrity worship culture, all eyes are going to be observing YOUR parental skills. it doesn’t matter if parents all over the world throw their kids in the air, knowing there will be a risk of them missing; it only matters if YOU did that, because you are already perceived as crazy.
and it doesn’t matter if parents all over the world drink themselves into a stupor, or if they allow their kids to sit in front of the TV 18 hours a day; it only matters if WHITNEY HOUSTON does that. it doesn’t matter if her daughter, bobbi kristina, loved her mother intensely, and that ms. houston showed an extreme pride in motherhood. people will claim she failed as a mother because she struggled with addiction, or that you failed as a father because of one incident in berlin.
what SHOULD matter is that a young lady lost her mother. a mother who was the world to her. just as your children were the world to you, and you to them. my heart goes out tremendously to bobbi kristina, and to cissy, whitney’s mother; who tried so hard to help her daughter overcome her addictions. i have a terrible feeling ms. houston was aware that her daughter was going to be eaten alive by this culture, and that her worst fear has come true. i can’t even imagine the pain she is experiencing right now.
in many ways i feel for diana ross, and STEVIE as well; they both are losing a lot of their friends and loved ones lately. in recent times, STEVIE/mr. morris lost his mother, brother, you, don cornelius, ms. houston… i haven’t heard ms. ross say too much on her feelings regarding your transcendence- i believe she left a statement to read for the ‘memorial’; i do know she loved and cared for you. hearing her speak on whitney’s transcendence broke my heart. she was set to win a lifetime achievement award for the grammys, and there were people set to do performances in her honour.
i wasn’t even aware of diana ross receiving a lifetime achievement award- the interesting thing is, i was at the library yesterday and ALMOST picked up a book documenting the photographs in her life. before the news of ms. houston’s transcendence broke, ms. ross had this to say in response to receiving a lifetime achievement awards from the organization: “to me, my lifetime achievement, ladies and gentlemen and the rest of the world, are my children.” that’s not unlike something either you said or what was said about you, about how your greatest accomplishment was fatherhood. i was really interested for a while in studying ms. ross’ life, and it amazed me how serious she took motherhood. it’s not something you always hear about. she spoke in 1978 (i think) about how she took some time off in her career to take care of her children. clearly, she was financially able to; but hearing how sure she was of herself and how smart she was about planning her career gave a me a new-found respect for her. it made sense to me that you would choose her to be the second choice to be guardian of your children in your will. yes, people focus on her cut-throat business/career tactics, and that’s fine if people choose to do that; i enjoy the music she releases, and ultimately i just have admiration for her particularly in respect to how she raised her children. i think they are some extremely well-adjusted children.
upon news of ms. houston’s transition, these were the words from ms. ross, regarding the celebration of her life’s achievements:
“i just think that, i wasn’t sure whether i should be here or not… well, it’s supposed to be the day of my celebration and it’s just hard to celebrate when there’s a loss like this… i think i won’t be able to enjoy it, really. i’ll probably, maybe think about it a week, a month, a year from now or maybe… but right now i probably won’t be able to enjoy it really… we’ve lost a lot of really close people this year, just recently… it’s just a lot of loss… valerie simpson’s husband, nick ashford… we have to think maybe they’re in a better place? i don’t know…? we have to kind of think… this transition is maybe in a better place for them all.”
looking at her eyes broke my heart. i also thought of her upon your transition, not only because you requested her as second choice to take care of your children; but also because it was as if she lost not just a friend, but a son. i also feel for all the people who were moved by ms. houston’s art in any way.
in order to survive in that business, you not only need savvy and an awareness of the industry before you delve in; but you also need a strong resolve. artists like diana ross, patti labelle, STEVIE or prince (and NO i do not include madonna here, because i think she carries around some extremely dark energy which maintains her status in the industry) are extremely strong people to maintain in that environment. as strong and powerful as you two were in the industry as artists, i think both you and ms. houston were incredibly sensitive individuals, to the point where it was inevitable that you would be eaten alive. sadly, i see the same sensitivity in mariah carey- and in many ways, mike tyson. perhaps motherhood has changed ms. carey; i cannot say. and of course, mr. tyson suffered great grief due to the loss of his daughter. i just hope that they both get the help they need if they are in need of it, before it’s too late.
we have lost so many creative people this year- and the year has essentially just begun… etta james, don cornelius, johnny otis, david peaston, jimmy castor, whitney… most to all of these people you actually did personally know, or did meet; not to mention the people who AREN’T celebrities, who have transcended. it’s been a year and 9 days since barry transcended, and i think about him all the time. i still let him know that i love him. and as my teacher, i still want to thank you and let you know that every word i write here is with love.
perhaps you will see ms. houston again, wherever you are. if you do, i hope you both have great times. you certainly are in a better place. please say hello to her for us.