Did Whitney Houston's crossover fame cost her?

Tonya Pendleton | 2/14/2012, 5:33 p.m.
natl14a.jpg Don West

Like black America itself, Houston may have fallen victim to sheer excess. In our post-racial, post-buppie world, where is the love? As a people, our constant need to strive and acquire has impeded our ability to care for one another. We looked on as Houston self-destructed, although what we could have done for her remains elusive. In the end, the outpouring of love she’s now receiving was likely what she yearned for in life  — just to know that she was really valued and loved.

As for the black America that she left behind, still reeling from the deaths of other beloved luminaries such as Heavy D, Don Cornelius and Etta James, we can only wonder who we turn to now.

Should we cling to the bourgeois trappings of success we once valued and the education, focus and drive they required. Or to the hip hop sensibility of constant hustle that we must admit is burning us out and placing more value on the acquisition of things than on the caretaking of souls?

It’s impossible to say if Houston’s death will lend itself to more than the public mourning on Facebook and Twitter that has been the response to the deaths before hers. Grief has now been relegated to social media — a tweet here, a post there — and then back to reality.

But it’s time we looked at the fact that all over black America there are people — whether celebrities or not — that are hurting and trying to block their pain with food, drugs, sex, prescription medications and constant work. If we don’t, we might as well get ready for the next round of mourning that could hit even closer to home.

As Houston so beautifully sang, “The greatest love of all is inside of me.” But let’s be real. No one can find that by themselves.

Black America Web