Fifteen years ago, I stole my mother’s copy of “The Bodyguard” soundtrack and took it upstairs. With my hair in a scrunchy, I grabbed my Lisa Frank hair brush and belted out the words to “I’m Every Woman” while hopping on my bed. I didn’t care if I couldn’t sing the same notes as Whitney Houston, I just wanted to be her.
Fast forward to now, and I am still dumbfounded at her death. Deep down inside I always thought she was going to come back, that she was going to shock the world again. I guess, in a very different way, she did.
Houston died a little over a month ago, but to be honest I had to wait to collect my thoughts. I also wanted to wait for the coroner’s report. That report came this week, confirming that Whitney was still using drugs and essentially — barring any substantial findings by the investigation into her death — fell asleep in the bathtub and drowned.
I have spent the past month listening to “The Bodyguard” soundtrack in my room, in the dark, crying. All right, that’s a lie. But I have thought about Whitney a lot. In fact, I have thought a lot about the musical figures that we, as a society, have watched come and go.
Houston joined a seemingly endless list of entertainers who succumbed to addiction: Billie Holiday (liver failure from alcoholism), Jimi Hendrix (overdosed on sleeping pills), Kurt Cobain (suicide while on heroin), Janis Joplin (heroin overdose), Heath Ledger (accidental overdose of several different medications). I could go on, but the list is sickeningly long.
Show business is obviously tough. There’s the intense schedule, the paparazzi, the press and the money. Things get rough, I get it. Sometimes all it takes is one night at a party or meeting one person that sends you down the wrong path, and when you start that way it is hard to turn around. But if a God-fearing church girl from New Jersey can’t help herself, who can?
It’s time for the entertainers of this world to remember one thing: You are a role model. Whether you asked for it or not, kids look up to you. There is no accountability, so these people need to start keeping themselves in check. I don’t want to have kids who look up to people who shave their heads instead of getting help for postpartum depression or cut themselves because they are sad.
I grew up wanting to sing like Whitney. Obviously, that didn’t happen. But the fact still remains that although she died in the worst way, I will remember her in the best. Her death is a wake up call. The time is now for people to step up to the plate. If you want the fame and the money, take the responsibility with it.
Call Corianne Egan, a Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652 or follow @CoriEgan on Twitter.