Of all the artists to make an impact on the music industry over the years, none do, will or ever can be compared to The Voice herself, Whitney Houston.
We sadly lost the late queen of pop on February 11, 2012 at the age of 48, quite young when you think of her contemporaries like Janet Jackson, Regina Belle and Anita Baker currently enjoying legend status in their late 50s/early 60s — even predecessors like Patti Austin and Dionne Warwick are still prospering at 72 and 81, respectively.
While her death is contributed to drowning by way of overdosing on cocaine, famed Hollywood producer Tyler Perry believes her demise started way before then when she received heavy criticism earlier in her career by her own community for coming off as “too white.”
Here’s a quick example from the 1988 Soul Train Music Awards to get an idea of what he means:
It’s been well documented that Houston’s highly successful self-titled debut in 1985 and its 1987 follow-up, also ironically self-titled, were both criticized by the Black community for having a more pop-leaning sound. It didn’t help that in music videos for chart-toppers like “How Will I Know” and “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me),” Whitney is rocking a frizzy, sandy blonde wig that gave her more European features.
Perry spoke with comedic mogul Kevin Hart on his Peacock series Hart to Heart to describe his blanket statement, using the aforementioned Soul Train situation as an example by stating, “[Whitney] being booed at the Soul Train Awards was one of the worst things that could have happened to her in her life. People saying she’s ‘white’ or she’s this or she’s that, made her want to show…she came to this industry very young, but it made her want to show that she was something different.” He went on to add, “Instead of just realizing, let me keep my eye on this—she’s got the best voice in the world—if she had kept her eye on that, none of this other stuff would have mattered.”
Although Perry makes a great argument on public opinion sometimes influencing people to go down a road of regret, there’s also an argument that can be made for letting your detractors be your biggest motivators towards success. Whitney would go on to become a beloved pillar in the Black community, marrying a Black man that sadly enabled her drug use and having a beautiful Black child that unfortunately died in eerily similar circumstances. Many would take those facts and attribute her issues to uncontrolled drug use primarily, but what do you think?
Take a look at what some people are saying below on social media on if criticism by the Black community led to Whitney Houston’s untimely death:
R.I.P. forever, Nippy…
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1. Media, Tyler Perry (the jokes) + her family didn’t make Whitney’s life easier. Booed @ the Soul Train Awards affected her. An accumulation of abuse dating back to childhood affected her. He said “she’d probably still be here if we hadn’t made her something she wasn’t.” Maybe.
2. @tylerperry Huh? Whitney was a stone drug addict and her brothers too which didn’t help. There was nothing anyone could do. Whitney had to decide to stop
3. Tyler Perry got on this hea internet & tried to blame us for auntie Whitney Houston death. He tried it. Don’t try it again, unc😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭
4. When in doubt…rich folks will always blame the less fortunate 🤦🏾♂️
5. Stupid thing to say. The black community didn’t put that coke up her nose that killed her!
6. Black ppl trying to get Tyler Perry for what he said about Whitney but he’s right. As a community we have to reckon with the reality that often times we’re the first hurdle that our icons meet in life. Our judgment, our shaming.. the alienation and ridicule for being different..
7. I love Tyler Perry but sadly and i mean so sadly she had a horrific drug problem that took its toll on her body-she never could kick them and that tragically took her life-hate she is gone
8. Even worse, Tyler Perry is actively erasing the harm and violence of several entities: – The music/entertainment industry’s abusive nature – U.S. media outlets that thrive on racist, misogynist narratives – Whitney’s toxic family members (her brother???)
9. Tyler Perry didn’t tell one lie in this clip. Black people tried to destroy Whitney Houston. This is a pattern that has existed towards Black women in the arts for decades now.
10. Tyler Perry spent years mocking Whitney for being addicted to drugs & a victim of domestic violence in his plays/films. For him to attribute her death to only our perception of her while overlooking the issues/factors of her life that he, for one, used to use against her is wild.