Celeb News

Was the writing on the wall for Whitney Houston long before she met Bobby Brown?

The latest documentary about her life says yes.

By Kate Wagner
It’s long been understood that Whitney Houston was a shining star and inspiration until she met Bobby Brown.
Bobby is remembered mainly for his corruption of the otherwise angelic singer, introducing her to drugs which led to her drug-intoxicated drowning in 2012. The latest documentary about her life however has an issue with this narrative.
“It’s a fairy tale,” Director Rudi Dolezal told The Post.
WATCH: Bobby Brown's devastating interview about his daughter's death.
“The idea that Whitney was a great girl until Bobby came along is simply not true. Whitney took drugs and smoked weed a long time before she could even spell ‘Bobby Brown’.”
That’s an exaggeration obviously (unless Whitney took a lot longer than most to learn how to spell) but some of her close friends explained where Whitney grew up meant she was no stranger to drugs.
“She was from the ’hood,” explained Dolezal. In “Whitney: Can I Be Me,” the Showtime documentary, Whitney’s friends remember a classy girl that would go from singing in church on Sunday with her mum to knowing her way around the streets.
“They [Whitney and her two brothers] did drugs,” recalls Ellin LaVar, Whitney’s good friend and stylist, in the documentary.
“It was the thing you do. You go out, you party, you drink, you do a little drugs. Everybody did it. And her brothers gave it to her. It was just something you do to have fun.”
The film, which is co-directed by Nick Broomfield, mainly consists of unseen tour footage from 1999 and newer interviews with her friends and family.
The news isn’t exactly shocking, but altering the flawless image of Whitney that was constructed in the 80s has proved almost impossible.
In 2013, her brother told Oprah Winfrey he used to buy his sister cocaine on the streets when she was in her late teens.
“At the time, the ’80s, it was acceptable… [drugs] wasn’t a bad word like it is now,” he said.
It was her record label’s effort to make her palatable to white audiences that saw any mentions of drug experimentation in the past completely washed away.
Her music was also completely white-washed and the perfect image started to backfire in 1989 when the singer was booed at the Soul Train Awards.
That same night, she met Bobby Brown – an artist from the same background as she was but had been allowed to maintain his hood image.
When Whitney’s childhood friend, and rumoured lover, Robyn Crawford left her entourage Whitney’s difficult relationship with drugs seemed to only get worse.
She was fired from a planned Oscar performance in 2000 for apparently turning up to rehearsals high and the National Enquirer published photos of drug paraphernalia in her and Bobby’s home in 2006. In her last decade, the singer’s drug problem completely overshadowed her music.
The only time Robyn spoke out about her close friend’s death was to Esquire in 2012 to dispel the widely held belief Bobby had corrupted her.
“People thought they had to protect her,” said Crawford. “She hated that. And that’s what people don’t understand… She did what she wanted to do.”