I was truly saddened to hear of the death of Whitney Houston last night. Not because I consider myself a fan, I wasn’t, but because yet another gifted artist was unable to slay her dragons. Whitney had an amazing voice no matter what genre of music you follow.
The public will most likely never know what demons chased her down the rails of addiction, but once on that train there are very few opportunities to get off the track. It seemed that Whitney and earlier this year Amy Winehouse had both found a path out of the darkness. Then shockingly both were reported dead.
It is hard for many to understand that the same insecurities or personal pain that drive one to “create” are frequently a double-edged sword that can easily spiral into self-destruction. The demons are present even with the trappings of success, or maybe because of that success such as in the case of Kurt Cobain.
Whitney Houston despite her addictions and obvious demons, gave joy to many with her voice and contributed to numerous charities such as The Bronx Zoo, The Emmanual Cancer Center, The Boys and Girls Clubs of America, The Magic Johnson Foundation for Pediatric AIDS, The NYFD and NYPD Foundations for 9/11 Relief Workers, The Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, The United Negro College Fund, and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. As well she founded the Whitney Houston Foundation for Children which aids sick and homeless children, and works toward the prevention of child abuse, teaches children to read, and has built inner city parks and playgrounds.
People no matter what their successes in life can be tormented in ways that others don’t understand. Kurt Cobain ended his own life, Amy Winehouse drank herself to death. We don’t yet know if Whitney relapsed or if her heart gave out after years of battling her addictions, but her gifts will be missed, as are those of all the artists who traveled this harsh path before her.
Rest in peace, I hope you all found somewhere that the torment couldn’t reach.
Photograph by Asterix611 via Flickr