February 14th, 2012 13:24 EST
Whitney Recaptures Stardom With Pre-Grammy Death
Self-abusive, self-destructive and suicidal risk, Whitney Houston picked the perfect time to die. With her chronic drug abuse coupled with her faded stardom, humiliation from booing fans and tragically destroyed voice, as well as her difficult relationships and reportedly troubled daughter, it was only a matter of time that Houston would die.
In my view, she chose the perfect night: pre-Grammy, where she could once again be the "star" of the music world. Her death on the eve of the music industry`s biggest event of the year turned the jeers she had been getting for her bad behavior and poor performances into the honoring she once had, then lost and undoubtedly desperately desired. Had she lived, one can speculate, she would have been overshadowed and overlooked at the Grammy`s, backgrounded by other stars, and certainly not acknowledged as she was. In stark contrast, in death, she was recognized, lauded and idolized once more as a legend. Stars of all kinds paid homage to her brilliance and performers like Jennifer Hudson choked while singing her songs in tribute.
None of that would have happened if she had stayed alive and attended the celebrations, as a sad has-been.
By dying on that night, she insured being celebrated - on the big stage, by everyone. Certainly no one could be politically incorrect by focusing on her decline, drug-use and career demise at that moment.
It is also perfect irony that she died in the very hotel - the Hilton- where Grammy action is. The hotel is known for hosting Hollywood parties.
Skeptical about people "choosing" or delaying their death date? Just think about incidences real people experience, when a dying person "holds on" just long enough for loved ones to appear to say their last goodbyes. Skeptics aside, there is increasing suggestion (yet scanty scientific evidence) of being able to choose one`s time of death, as an example of `mind-body` interaction where the mind exercises control over the body letting go. Even when stress causes a heart attack, psychological factors can influence the phenomenon. Natural chemical balances governing life, of course, can be altered by drugs purposefully introduced into their body - as Whitney did.
Houston certainly had much to be clinically depressed about - to the point of being a suicide risk. She had descended into drug horror - admitting that she had all but abandoned her singing in favor of daily drug use. She was reportedly broke, from drug deals. Rumors suggested a respiratory problem, emphysema, that causes difficulty breathing (people become oxygen starved and carbon dioxide overloaded, as damaged walls of tiny air sacs in the lungs can`t push used air out, making less room for fresh, oxygen-rich air to enter).
Chronic relationship troubles add to depression. Though crowned "America`s sweetheart," her choice to marry "bad boy" 9and druggie) Bobby Brown added to a recipe for disaster. But Whitney admitted (to Rolling Stone in the early 1990s) that she and Bobby came from a similar place, and that "she can `get down and dirty (and) raunchy." I know, as a psychologist, that good girls pick bad boys when the bad boy vicariously expresses her own "badness" while allowing her to deflect the criticism. Of course, it`s also common that girls who pick abusive men are repeating childhood abusive/victim relationships. (The same could be said of RiRo`s attraction to Chris Brown). Whitney and Bobby`s relationship was rocky over their 17 years together. More recently, she had reportedly taken up with partying boy toy Wllie Ray Norwood Jr., 31, (best known as Ray J and singer/actor Brandy`s younger brother); then dumped him after he was caught in a s[e]x tape scandal with Kim Kardashian, but then took him back.
The worry now is for Whitney`s daughter Bobbi Kristina. In my psychological view, she is a major suicide risk, given reports of her drug use and loss of her mother. Could she in fact be a "crack baby" from her mother`s drug use when she was pregnant? Even so, she grew up with two parents using drugs all through her childhood, that would predispose her to drug abuse. The reports of her being hospitalized for two anxiety attacks after her mother`s death make me suspicious. Could she also be abusing prescription anti-anxiety agents like her mother? The anti-anxiety medications for which Houston reportedly had prescriptions - lorazepam, Xanax, and Valium, for example - when used together are such a downer, especially when mixed with alcohol, which one would be totally unconscious and unable to function. Reports suggested that Whitney was distraught over her daughter`s drug abuse.
It couldn`t have been easy for Bobbi to live in her mother`s shadow, and like Billy Joel`s daughter, perhaps compare herself unfavorably to her beautiful mother, and her mother`s successful career.
Radio talk show host Curtis Sliwa, interviewing me on his radio show this morning, made a few important observations: the selfishness, he felt, of Clive Davis announcing "the show must go on" as if that`s what Whitney would have wanted; the frightening pitch of Tony Bennett to legalize all drugs (What? in the face of the demise of Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson and so many others); and the outrageous message sent to kids when drug-using celebrities are elevated to iconic status.
I feel the same outrage about elevating abusers to celebrity status, including giving a music award to Chris Brown, horrific woman abuser, after his publicly-revealed attacks on then-girlfriend RiRi.
We will see Whitney posthumously in a movie role that will be ironic in my view: Whitney plays the role of mother to Jordan Sparks, a singer in the musical "Sparkle" to be released in August. It`s the story of three sisters who form a successful group but have to learn to face the fallout of fame and drugs. It sounds like her story!
Hopefully other stars - and the public - will learn lessons from Whitney`s demise. Wendy Williams already did, by admitting on her TV talk show that she was a crack addict 15 years ago and that Whitney`s tragic end motivates her to stay sober.
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