Just last Wednesday I put on Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black album because it had been too long since I played it. I was in a mood to listen to some female singers that day (even pulled out Karyn White too strangely enough). I remember loving this album because well, it was an ALBUM. It was a perfectly rounded seamless body of work. The emotion was raw and real and the girl SANG. There’s a spot in “Me and Mr. Jones” that I always rewind over and over and over again because I just love her delivery on it. I remember keeping “Tears Dry on Their Own” on repeat for afternoons on end while trying to get through my own heartbreak. Because I’m in much happier times and didn’t want to relive those emotions, I opted to skip that track when it came on. Still, it lyrically expressed my emotions during that time in ways I could never express:
Roxanne Shante: “Amy’s Album got me thru 1 of the worst times of my life I told her that & her reply was I wish it would get me thru mine =(”
I often defend entertainers when people go on the judgmental war path of “How could someone have that much money, that much fame, and that much potential and throw it all away?” Those things don’t heal character flaws. They only exacerbate root issues. If someone is a substance abuser to cope with everyday life pressures, how much more dependent on drugs do you think they are going to be with the added pressure of being famous and trying to stay famous? There’s no preparation for that kind of success unfortunately; no training class, no artist bootcamp. If you’re not careful of the company you keep before you are famous, you surely are not going to do it when people are coming out of the woodworks trying to claim themselves as your friend- the same goes for if you make bad choices in men before you become famous. Also keep in mind that record labels aren’t really concerned about you growing as a person. Why some of the best records come from struggle and pain. Just sayin’. I hate to say it but much like I would take Mary J’s My Life record over her recent work, I’d take Back to Black over Frank any day of the week. As Shante said, these records help us get through our worst times. Unfortunately, it often doesn’t have the same effect on the artist that pours their sorrow into it.
And for those saying “Well we knew this was coming” Did you really? Are you really that omniscient? If so, do you have a word of knowledge on how Keith Richards is still here because I’d just love to hear it. What about Courtney Love? Still here. Whitney Houston? Still here. Natalie Cole who put the Grammy Association on BLAST for giving Amy Winehouse a Grammy in the first place for “Rehab” because as a former addict, she felt it gave the wrong message? Still here. There are numerous stories of drug addicts who were knocking on death’s door but managed to come back. I really hate that Amy Winehouse couldn’t.
I’ve been reading some articles from the UK press and this thing she had going on with her ex-husband Blake Fielders-Civil is the hottest mess. Fielders, who admittedly introduced Winehouse to drugs, is currently behind bars on a robbery charge and they claim he is on suicide watch. His mother, his baby’s mama, and allegedly a transsexual that claims to have dated him after they split up (wait, what?) have all said that they were soulmates who remained in contact with each other daily while he’s been in jail. They’ve been divorced for about two years and just couldn’t seem to shake one another. Amy Winehouse is not the first entertainer to jeopardize her life and career because of heartbreak and being involved with the wrong man (would I be messy if I mentioned that while writing this that I found out that "someone" just gave birth to her six child? Okay, I won't then.). As I think about the choices some of my friends (and myself in the past) have made that make me shudder in regards to the same thing, I believe I’ve become more compassionate. The reason being at the end of the day we all have this in common:
1) Everyone wants to be happy.
2) No one wants to be lonely.
Some of the worse decisions known to man have been made based on those two desires which are no respecter of person, famous or not.
I really, really hate that this has happened.
I very selfishly hate that we didn’t get at least three more albums from her because that voice is irreplaceable.
I really hope that she is the last member of what has been named The 27 Club.
May God bless and keep her family and friends. Even Blake because like I said everyone wants to be happy and no one wants to be lonely.
If you haven’t read Russell Brand’s tribute to Amy Winehouse and his view on addiction, I strongly suggest you do regardless of how you feel about Amy Winehouse (or Russell Brand for that matter). I am willing to bet that everyone knows an addict so if you do, I highly recommend it.- Toya