Whitney Houston sang like an angel. She suddenly appeared at the Grammy's and the world held its breath. She was larger than life. She sang with passion. She was beautiful. And then she fell out of the cosmos like a shooting star.
Why does this happen, over and over to our stars, who are large than life in their charisma, they appear, they dazzle us, and then they die young: Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Edith Piaf, Marilyn Monroe, Princess Di (not an entertainer, but had the same affect).
What is it about these people? Or is it showbusiness, that devours them like a monster and then spits them out? We see roadkill at the side of the road every day. Drug overdoses. Out of control behavior. Charlie Sheen, Lindsey Lohan.
But Whitney was a real tragedy. Born with a miraculous gift. A voice from heaven. Snatched up and exploited. Made to sing for her supper. Made to turn straw into gold, over and over. Drugs and death waiting at the door. As if such grace and beauty must be destroyed.
Some great stars survive. Elizabeth Taylor. Tough as nails. Exploited as a child star. Lost Mike Todd to a plane crash. Lost Richard Burton to alcohol. But her spirit was as sharp as the giant diamonds she wore. And she survived.
But Whitney did not. She was trapped by her own super stardom. Strangled by her own voice. May she rest in peace. She was a sacrifice, to that hungry god we all worship: ENTERTAINMENT.
Painting by Pam Malone