After receiving an Oscar nomination for his role in the film, “Chaplin”, when Robert Downey Jr. later went into a downward spiral with cocaine.. I was really disappointed in him. Back then I told people what a shame it was because I thought he really had so much more to offer, but not as a drug addict. I figured he’d permanently pissed away what could have been a great career, thinking Hollywood would never be able to trust him again to hold it together.
Which is why now.. years later, after getting his life back in order, it is with personal relief and joy for me to see him bounce back even better than before, starring in one great film after another. He had some real drug issues that threatened to take him to an early grave, yet he got the help he needed and bounced back with vigor.
However.. I don’t see that with Whitney Houston. The story is done. She didn’t get ‘sober’. She didn’t regain the use of her talent in any great ‘comeback’. She spent what little money she had on drugs and weed. And her last photographs are of her mouthing off to the media and passer-bys as she exited a club for being so obnoxious.
I applaud Robert Downey Jr. for the effort it took to bounce back from his own personal hell and get back on top, doing what he loves for a living. Whitney Houston, she didn’t get the help she needed.. didn’t want it and ended her life on the same downward note that occurs with far too many other drug addicts, famous or not. So, you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t weep a tear and call her, “..one more beautiful voice in heaven” with the rest of her short-sighted fans.
Let’s applaud those who pull OUT of drug addiction, not those who toss their life and talents down the toilet with it.
As I noticed bits of the Whitney Houston funeral on a screen in a restaurant last night, I think what bothered me most is the inequity of it all. Celia Cruz was a true legend in the music business and a wonderful woman by all accounts. Never into the drug scene and a true talent with a performing career that went strong for five decades. Five decades. She is known as the “Queen of Salsa” and a national treasure to both the US and Cuba. Her career and influence on Latin music was truly legendary.
Whitney Houston, in her early days was a normal human being with a good voice. But she degenerated into a loud, angry, fame-drunk, pissed-off black woman with no manners and a jones for pills, cocaine and weed. Yet Whitney gets the star treatment for a career that doesn’t hold a candle to Celia Cruz? Whitney had maybe ten ‘good’ years and a short acting career.. after that she was riding on fumes. Meanwhile the media and her manager are trying to sell this as if Whitney was some sort of angel? Some sort of wonderful example for little girls to imitate? I, for one, would never want my daughter’s life to go the route of Whitney Houston.
It’s sad that a human being’s life went down in flames due to drug abuse. But let’s not pretend she was someone to look up to or emulate. Rather, could we instead point to those who, like Robert Downey Jr, Craig Ferguson (now 20 years sober), the members of Aerosmith and many others whether famous or not who have shown the courage to get OUT of the drug scene and live sober. Let’s shine the spotlight on those who overcame their self-inflicted adversities, not those who succumbed to it. Perhaps then, those still in chains would have reason to hope for freedom rather than fame.
Author: Henry Velez
Henry Velez is a writer, traveler and vlogger currently living in the Philippines. He has written extensively on social issues, relationships and travel.