‘Amy Winehouse Is Dead’ 7/23/11, 4:41 p.m.
Amy Winehouse is dead. Dead. Not coming back. No follow-up, no triumphant tour trumpeting her return, no big return on some BS award-show. Dead. Found that way in her crib. Gone. Muerte. Dead.
I just wanted to make sure you understood what happened. Now let’s talk a little bit about it.
This is a woman that had a cry for help marketed HEAVILY, pushed to radio HEAVILY, and the message that was thrust upon the kids that were listening was ‘Fuck rehab’. Not only was this cry for help marketed and promoted…it was CELEBRATED and REWARDED. Millions of records sold behind that single and five (5) Grammy’s, just like Lauryn Hill (yeah).
There IS no irony in this death. There IS no joke to make, though they write themselves and are obvious (and if you think they’re funny, fuck you). This is a tragedy that could’ve been avoided, but there’s no money in avoiding it. If a record-label has marketed you as a rebel soul, based on the fact that you say “Basically, I’mma take all the drugs I can find and you CAN’T send me to rehab.”, guess what? The label is gonna run with that image. Yes, they will…and they did.
And we all watched. It was so cute and kitschy to some… “Awww…listen to the junkie with the beehive sing about how she won’t go to rehab!”, then everybody sings along with the chorus, ‘No no no’. Then you realize you 11-year-old is singing along and THIS is on the RADIO and you go… “Hmm…?” or YOU SHOULD.
Of course, we all watched for this day. How many people didn’t have it in the back of their mind that this was how this would end? Let’s be serious; you’ve seen the pics and videos of her for the last three years. Shit, by the time she broke big, she was a junkie. HER BREAKOUT SINGLE WAS ABOUT BEING A JUNKIE. And we kept dancing…shit, some of our favorite rappers couldn’t WAIT to get on a remix. REALLY? REALLY? So, now you see that people really don’t give a damn what message they send to the kids as long as BDS spins are poppin. Sad AF.
We ALL did this. There was a cottage industry of paparazzi that watched her every move and couldn’t wait to see her all fucked up because they would be able to pay bills for two months with that picture. There’s an industry of tabloids, BS publications, and TV shows that couldn’t WAIT for Amy to fail rehab again the times she finally said “Yeah, yeah, yeah.”…and we kept watching, just as we would a car wreck or a house fire, from a distance and saying ‘Thank GOD that’s not me’.
Nah, it is us, though. It’s us, man. We are addicted to the tragedies of others. We are addicted to the glorification of ‘junkie cool’ and young death. The British music press is far worse about it; they LOOOOOOOOOVE to celebrate how fucked up someone is. (See the treatment of Shaun Ryder or Richey Edwards from Manic Street Preachers.) In America, we’ll watch you get all fucked up, but most people will ‘Tsk tsk tsk’ somewhere in there, even if under our breath. I stopped reading a lotta British music press because it seemed like the more fucked up you were, the more they covered you…in a glowing light. Here in America, we pretend that we wanna help so we can film you being all fucked up when you probably could use the time to yourself and some SERENITY instead of TV cameras and crews all in your face.
(Sidebar: FUCK Dr. Drew. He’s a fraud and a failure.)
Lemme tell you why this kinda stupid mentality bugs me so much.
I have had people very close to me and friends struggle and die from addiction. Some as close as one could be to me. When I realized that some of them were that far gone, it was so too late. There was just nothing I could do from this distance. Writing these types of blogs wouldn’t have helped because they were too fucked up to see them. Talking didn’t help because by the time I finally got to talk to them I was so happy that I actually was talking to them, I didn’t notice how fucked up they were, I was just happy they were there.
One of these people was my Father.
My Dad didn’t have the attention of the world and a catchy tune to help him. My Dad was not rewarded with trophies and accolades and he saved lives, EVERY WEEK.
My Dad was a firefighter and a paramedic. My Dad used hard drugs. My Dad pulled this off for twennysumn years, saving lives, pulling children outta burning houses, pushing on people’s chest to get their heart to beat again, driving the fire-truck or ambulance at breakneck speeds through Gary, Indiana to save someone’s life, house and belongings, or salvage whatever memories could be pulled from the ashes….and my Dad couldn’t save himself.
And I couldn’t save him. None of us could. I know his sisters and brother talked to him. I know they loved him soooo goddamn much. They NEVER stop telling me that about my Dad. They LOVE him. I LOVE him. And he’s gone, man. Dead.
That shit HURTS.
I can’t call A&E and plead with them to send someone to tell my Dad to stop. My Dad’s death wasn’t celebrated with thoughts of ‘Imma smoke this one for you.” We shouldn’t be entertained by addicts. We have to kick ass to help them, if we care. Period. Anyone who has been around one knows they’re still people and people have pride. I never once thought my Dad was doing as much as he was doing. He didn’t do that shit around me (or I didn’t see it). I knew my Dad chiefed a bit of reefer and sipped Henny here and there, but that was the extent of my knowledge. Addicts are sneaky and don’t wanna be found out. By the time they’re letting the world see how fucked up they are, they REALLY need help.
(Your ass better get proactive NOW if you just visualized or thought of someone close to you that reminds you of, because they need your help. Believe that.)
That’s why the idea of sitting here and watching how this Amy Winehouse thing went down has led me to rethink how I view TV. The messages sent on some shows about recovery, especially ‘Celebrity Rehab’, have nothing to do with ‘recovery’. Look at the name of the show, people. ‘Celebrity’ comes first. That’s ass-backwards, but that is America. “You were rich and famous before, now you’re all fucked up. Let us watch.” Rehab is a PERSONAL process, so the idea of filming it and broadcasting it to the world is fucking ridiculous. The idea of cameras in your room with night-vision while you’re lying there going through withdrawal symptoms probably doesn’t make the process any easier. When you’re in group therapy talking about whatever is was that happened to you that got you to this point, I would think keeping it in the group would be the move, not having the boom mic guy hit you on the top of the head with the mic while he’s making sure not to miss a word of you spilling your soul and trying to fix yourself.
Folks, I killed Amy Winehouse. I listened to that record. I even spun it a couple times because people requested it and when I got the remix with Jay, I played that too. I celebrated her massive cry for help as a ‘catchy tune’.
You killed Amy Winehouse. You requested that record. You went to her shows and talked about how great it was and when she got to the ‘No no no’ part, you threw your fist up and sang along. You laughed in my face when she won five Grammys for it (like those aren’t bought anyway) and told me I was stupid for refusing to play her record anymore.
The paparazzi killed Amy Winehouse. They stalked her and egged her on. They encouraged her be more fucked up and antagonized her when she was so the tabloids would get a cover shot of ‘AMY WINEHOUSE IN CRACK-FUELED RAGE!!!!!!!’; (‘90+ dead in Norway, see page 8’) Yeah, the paparazzi and the scumbag press that pays them so they can write 1500 word stories about a 100 word happening killed Amy Winehouse.
The label killed Amy Winehouse. Surely, you would think that people who had so much to gain from her music would encourage her to get better. I’m sure they did. There’s so much money to make from a great comeback. Everybody loves a happy ending. Then again…dead rockstars make a TON of money and every time a YouTube clip pops up of a concert fail or a pic of her gets up with ‘suspicious powder on her nose and strange scabs’, people go back and remember what WAS there. It’s GREAT free promotion. A fucked up pop-star is the best free marketing machine a label could ask for.
“Why do we need her to get better when people are still buying the last record? Everyone knows what they’re getting with her…and they still go to shows. The press hasn’t left her alone since the album came out. This is a self-cleaning oven that keeps making its own pies…for smashing into the owner’s face. Perfect. Stay fucked up. We don’t hafta hire producers, musicians, or engineers either. We don’t hafta spend ANY time or money on promotion. We STAY winning.”
The above five paragraphs (one for each Grammy) illustrate facts that are partially true. The next one is total truth.
Amy Winehouse killed Amy Winehouse. Her refusal to acknowledge her problem, in fact, telling you she was gonna do nothing about it led to her demise. It had nothing to do with us. We just watched.
…but we shouldn’t have been watching.
If someone you love has a problem, you gotta take action. That’s what I gather from all of this. I lived through these things to talk to you about them in songs and these essays for a reason, man.
Now get better if it’s you I’m talking about and help someone else if it ain’t. There is no shame in getting help and you don’t hafta broadcast it to the world. The world will know when you’re better. Trust me. I used to drink a lot, man. I was in the club fucked up. I never felt like an alcoholic, but I may have looked like one to some people.
I handled it…quietly at first, and once I felt secure in my new footing, I talked the walk. My broadcasting that to the world is by CHOICE. Five years, no beers. That’s my CHOICE to say that to you. No one is stalking me and making sure I stay on the wagon, I do it for me. I LIKE being awake in the club, man! (sorry, I needed a bit of levity for myself)
Well, don’t just sit there looking at the screen. Go do something…life is for living and 20sumn year-old’s ain’t supposed to die…when you can do something.
(P.S. I didn’t know what I was writing about when I started this, but I definitely know I wrote this in memory of my Father and wish Amy Winehouse’s soul more peace in rest than it had in life. God bless us all.
#PRAYFOREVERYBODY (c) @3CarryOnItems)
#SHRUGLIFE #TBM #ATFU #LANON #NAPTOWN ADIYM.
This is getting REALLY interesting…it just is…
Is it time for us to evolve as Lord Carlos Estevez has?