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Beyond the Headlines: Whitney Houston’s Legacy and Bobbi Kristina’s Downfall

Whitney Houston fans are commemorating the third anniversary of her death. (Photo from the cover of Million-Dollar Bill CD)
From the cover of Whitney Houston’s Million-Dollar Bill CD Million-Dollar Bill

Long before a contestant show adopted the moniker, Whitney Houston was “The Voice.”

Houston, who died three years ago on Feb. 11, came out strong from the start with the best-selling debut album by a female artist. Guinness World Records cites her as the “most awarded female act of all time” with 415 career awards, more than 170 million albums and singles worldwide and six Grammy Awards. She was one of the first African-American women to cover Seventeen magazine and only artist to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits.

“I Will Always Love You,” her anthem for the film “The Bodyguard,” serves as an epochal moment. The soundtrack sold more than 45 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling soundtrack of all time.

Fans worldwide are celebrating the legacy of Houston, who was found unconscious, face down in a bathtub in the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2012, hours before the annual pre-Grammy Awards party hosted by her mentor, Clive Davis. According to the Los Angeles County coroner’s department, the 48-year-old’s death was an accidental drowning with contributing factors of heart disease and cocaine.

Although she was global phenomenon in music, TV and film, her struggles with drug addiction tumultuous relationship with her ex-husband, Bobby Brown, often overshadowed her accomplishments.

Last month, Lifetime aired the biopic “Whitney,” directed by Angela Bassett that depicted the singer’s meteoric rise to stardom, grim downfall with substance abuse and turbulent marriage. Yaya DaCosta (Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” and “America’s Next Top Model”) portrayed the late singer in the film, while Deborah Cox supplied the vocals.

Here's how Bobbi Kristina Brown described this photo with her mother, Whitney Houston, on Instagram: "This would be the 'Mommy I'm shleeepy' time face." :)(: ❤️
Here’s how Bobbi Kristina Brown described this photo with her mother, Whitney Houston, on Instagram: “This would be the ‘Mommy I’m shleeepy’ time face.” :)(: ❤️ Instagram/realbkristinahg
Similarly, her 21-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, is now experiencing a sequence of rumor-laden stories surrounding her hospitalization.

Like her mother, Bobbi Kristina Brown was discovered in a bathtub unresponsive in her Atlanta townhouse on Jan. 31. She was placed in a medically induced coma at North Fulton Hospital. Similarly, rumor-laden stories surround her hospitalization. Observers have been confused by unconfirmed reports of Houston’s 21-year-old daughter being brain dead or on life support and the family preparing for final goodbyes.

Deltrice Boyd, a junior majoring in political science at Howard University, weighs in on the media’s inconsistent newsgathering. ““They shouldn’t release falsehoods in the tabloids or news,” Boyd says. “Isn’t that against the rule of journalism.”

An Instagram photo of Bobbi Kristina Brown posted on Christmas 2014.
An Instagram photo of Bobbi Kristina Brown posted on Christmas 2014. Instagram/realbkristinahg
Stephanie Buggs, a sophomore sports medicine major, said the media are doing what they’re called to do. “Reporters are just like TMZ, just with a better reputation,” Buggs said. “It’s a lot of controversy. Though there are indeed facts, they’re going go ahead and report their truth.”

However, Bryan Littlejohn, a senior majoring in psychology,, shared his thoughts on the family’s two similar cases.

“Subconsciously she could be imitating her mom’s death,” Littlejohn speculated on Brown’s situation. “There’s different ways of coping and stages of grief, so you don’t know what stage she was actually in.”

“She probably coped with her mom’s death with drugs,” he said, “because she saw that’s how Whitney dealt with her problems.”





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