Black Women's Health and Happiness

Insights into physical, mental, and spiritual health for women of color.

Whitney Houston is Dead: Did Her Party-Friends Fail Her?

Recovering addicts can’t “just have a little champagne.”

Pop icon, singer extraordinaire Whitney Houston is dead. I am still painfully stunned and saddened. What a God-given talent, a voice like none other! Today's vocalists don't even approach her range, depth and vocal control. The talented Jennifer Hudson is the closest we have, but she's still not Whitney.

So first, I fully celebrate the gift that the gorgeously beautiful Whitney Houston was to all of us and I am grateful to have been alive during her time. What a voice. Such a gift.

In her last full interview with Shaun Robinson, Whitney spoke of how she had "matured," and I am sure that practically everyone who loved her music held out hope to one day hear her sing well (if not fully whole) once more.

But as I saw pictures of her from two days before her death—pictures in which she needed to be guided by some female escort--[late entry--who I now know was Whitney's sister-in-law/manager, Pat Houston!!!--]; and blood was dripping on her leg; and she looked so disheveled; and Kelly Price and others say how she was "just having a good time...she had some champagne...I didn't see anything wrong..."—I painfully can't help but wonder did these friends, and especially her SISTER-In-LAW/MANAGER, and bodyguard staff fail her?

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Whitney had a long-known, public battle with drugs. After having fallen off the wagon in times past, she was reportedly trying to recover and do the right thing.

I'm just respectfully asking...didn't any of her close friends recognize and understand that for her to be in such a high-risk environment was NOT something she should do? Did anyone stay with her that night, or was she allowed to go to her room, left to her own devices?

Did her staff know of her being on prescription medications? If so, didn't anyone think that a recovering addict mixing prescription meds with alcohol is not a safe combination?

Thursday night she reportedly was acting erratically, and needed help walking; didn't her handlers pick up on that, and see that that was not okay and that she, right then, was in need of help? It seems that fact was unfortunately lost on those around her in her final 48 hours.

I can only pray that while people try to put a positive spin on her "just having fun" don't let this be lost on them going forward: People with drug problems cannot "just have a little champagne," or be in these high-risk environments. They just cannot do it. People have to always keep the bigger picture in mind.

As I felt when Luther Vandross died (after complications from a stroke and diabetes), this is a sad, painful loss of a wonderful talent who gave all of us much musical pleasure—a voice that will never be duplicated...ever. My heart is very sad. May Whitney Houston rest in peace.

Copyright © 2012 Dr. Melody T. McCloud. All rights reserved. Any excerpts reproduced from this article should include a hyperlink to this--my original post on Psychology Today, with author credit. Feel free to post the link to this, and any of my PT posts, to your social network pages. Follow me here at PT (mostly); and now (I've finally joined the fray) on Twitter: @DrMelodyMcCloud.

Beloved Whitney is mentioned many times--even some subchapter titles are titles of her songs--in Living Well, Despite Catchin' Hell: The Black Woman's Guide to Health, Sex and Happiness, with a foreword by Denzel Washington's wife, Pauletta Washington.

Melody T. McCloud, M.D., is an obstetrician-gynecologist and the author of First Do No Harm: How to Heal Your Relationships Using the Wisdom of Professional Caregivers.

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