Column: An open letter to Whitney Houston

Column: An open letter to Whitney Houston

Dearest Whitney:

My, have recent times fallen hard upon you. In case you’re reading this in a cocaine-induced stupor, let me recap.

Last week, your sister-in-law turned singing-canary Tina Brown fessed up to the National Enquirer about some of your favorite hobbies including smoking crack (we had our suspicions), lesbian flings (OK, this caught us a bit off-guard) and lots of time locked in the bathroom with certain vibrating apparatuses (poor, poor Bobby).

But the salacious details didn’t stop there. Tina Brown also told sordid tales about your insatiable sexual appetite involving sleeping with her ex-boyfriend and Bobby’s fear of letting men in the house in case you “ravage” them.

And just to put the final cherry on the sundae of your downfall, she also gave the rag photos of your bathroom covered with cocaine paraphernalia.

What happened? Remember when you were one of the most successful black entertainers since Michael Jackson? Remember your incredible hits “How Will I Know?” “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” and “The Greatest Love of All”? Or your try at film in “The Bodyguard” along with the unforgettable ballad “I Will Always Love You”?

I do. And so does almost everyone else my age.

But I guess those were different times – more wholesome times. And, to be fair, you’re not the only superstar to go a little loopy since then.

In the ’90s, Mariah Carey was still dancing around in pigtails and a flannel shirt in her “Dreamlover” video. She was cute, spunky and could blow anyone over with her incredible pipes. Back before diva was a word carelessly tossed around, she was graceful and classy.

Then, something snapped. Maybe you can relate. The clothes got skimpier, the music grew worse and no glass-shattering high-note could save her. It seemed Mariah had lost it. Next thing we knew, she was being rushed to hospitals for “exhaustion” and appearing in “Glitter.” What happened to our wholesome songbird, and who was this Amazonian fashion-victim posing before us?

Movie stars fared no better. In the ’90s, Tom Cruise was still hunk-supreme. Before his smile transformed into a maniacal grin, it was charming. He wasn’t some psychiatry-fighting, couch-jumping freak stammering on about Xenu; he was America’s dream boat.

Sharon Stone used to be a sex symbol. And I don’t know if you’ve been locked in your bathroom too long to miss the “Basic Instinct” sequel, but trust me, I’ve seen it, and she is a sex-symbol no more.

The list of former pop culture icons gone astray doesn’t stop there. George Michael used to prance around to the innocuous pop tune “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” before he would engage in similarly sexually gratifying solo activities as you, except he was in public bathrooms. Hell, even Michael Jackson used to be a person.

So what happens? What makes a successful, established star take a sudden turn for the worse? More importantly what can we do to stop it?

It used to be society was critical of artists that were too carefully handled, but now seeing what happens to stars whose handlers let loose the reigns, some restraint should be used.

It may be too late for you, Whitney, but it’s not too late for current stars. Take our fair Britney, for example. She’s slowly decaying into white-trash obscurity. Or Jude Law, who is now known better for his nanny-nailing escapades than his acting career. Can’t they be saved?

Whitney, please, be an example and get yourself some help. Not just to kick your addiction, but to kick your image back to greatness.


Bobby Hankinson

– Bobby Hankinson may reached at [email protected]

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