It’s What — Not Who — Killed Whitney Houston

whitney houston smilingA new allegation has surfaced that pop superstar Whitney Houston was murdered.

Legal television commentator, Nancy Grace ignited a firestorm of criticism speculating Houston’s death might have been a homicide.

“I’d like to know who was around her, who, if anyone gave her drugs, following alcohol and drugs, and who let her slip, or pushed her, underneath that water,” Grace told CNN.

On February 11 Houston was found dead in the bathtub of her Beverly Hilton Hotel room on the eve of the Grammy Awards.

But now Houston’s former sister-in-law, Bobby Brown’s sister Leolah Brown, is speaking up too.

whitney houston singing“I believe Whitney’s death was not accidental,” Leolah Brown told the tabloid television news show “Access Hollywood.”

This new and disturbing allegation flies counter to the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office report that there was no sign of foul play or trauma—albeit the official cause of death won’t be determined until toxicology results are in.

While a murder investigation may well now ramp up the quest to ascertain who killed Houston, so too should a probe querying what killed her.

While family, friends, and fans blame Whitney’s colossal downfall on drugs and Boston’s R&B bad boy Bobby Brown, both functioned in helping Houston develop an approving black identity and an unquestioning sexuality.

What is now an adoring and all embracing black fan base of Houston was not always the case. In 1989, Houston was booed at the Soul Train Awards for supposedly “not being black enough.” It was at that same show that she met Bobby Brown.

“I have a theory about Whitney Houston,” said singer-actress Della Reese, a long-time Houston family friend. “I’ve been called ‘Uncle Tom,’ and I know how that feels. I think Whitney was so hurt by being called a ‘sellout’ and ‘acting white’—and crap like that—she wanted to change her image. What better way to do that than to marry a bad boy? And the drug abuse makes her a flawed person fighting to overcome her demons. Makes her relatable.”

Long before Houston’s former chauffeur, Al Bowman, told the tabloid television news show “Entertainment Tonight” in February that he witnessed Whitney and Bobby high on crack cocaine and in a threesome with an A-list soul singer in the back of his limo, rumors that Houston was a lesbian have been circulating for more than 30 years. And Houston’s personal assistant as well as best friend Robyn Crawford was rumored to have been Houston’s lesbian lover. For a while, the two women lived together.

whitney and robyn

Whitney and Robyn Crawford

“I met her when she was 16. It was at a summer job. …She had peachy colored skin and she didn’t look like anyone I’d ever met in East Orange, New Jersey,” Crawford in reminiscing about Houston told reporter Tom Junod in the February 2012 online issue of Esquire Magazine. “And we went around the world. I was her assistant and then her executive assistant and then her creative director. …I have never spoken about her until now. She was a loyal friend, and she knew I was never going to be disloyal to her. Now I can’t believe that I’m never going to hug her or hear her laughter again.”

Houston exhibiting gender non-conforming behavior was no secret to those closest around her. The Daily Mail reported that Houston’s sister-in-law, Tina Brown, and her ex-bodyguard, Kevin Ammons, both believed Houston my have been a lesbian because she “had wild sex sessions with women while out of her mind on crack cocaine.”

But it was her ex-spouse, bad boy Bobby Brown, who over time came to believe Whitney married him with an ulterior motive.

more from irene monroe“I believe her agenda was to clean up her image, while mine was to be loved and have children. The media was accusing her of having a bisexual relationship with her assistant, Robin [sic] Crawford. Since she was the American Sweetheart and all, that didn’t go too well with her image. …In Whitney’s situation, the only solution was to get married and have kids. That would kill all speculation, whether it was true or not,” Brown penned in his 2007 tell-all book Bobby Brown: The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But…

The freest she may have been expressing her sexuality without being drugged out of her mind might have been in 1999 at the 13th Annual New York City Lesbian and Gay Pride Dance. Houston, that year, flew in for a special surprise guest appearance where she performed her then two most recent hits, “It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay,” and “Heartbreak Hotel.”

The homophobic constraints of career and family expectations no doubt contributed to the stressors in Whitney’s “down low” life, but so, too, the church, even at her “home-going,” (funeral) service.

Rev. Irene MonroeWith homophobes like Pastor Donnie McClurkin, the poster boy for African American “ex-gay” ministries, and gospel singers Angie and Debbie Winans — who released a single in 1998 titled “Not Natural,” in which they self-righteously denounced lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) people, to name a few — singing at Whitney’s farewell, only a “down low” existence was possible for her.

We may never know all the demons that took this internationally renown pop star diva down a torturous and troubling road of self destruction, but one demon not mentioned is homophobia.

Rev. Irene Monroe

Published by the LA Progressive on March 7, 2012
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About Rev. Irene Monroe

Rev. Irene Monroe is a Ford Fellow and doctoral candidate at Harvard Divinity School. One of Monroe’s outreach ministries is the several religion columns she writes - “The Religion Thang,” for In Newsweekly, the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender newspaper that circulates widely throughout New England, “Faith Matters” for The Advocate Magazine, a national gay & lesbian magazine, and “Queer Take,” for The Witness, a progressive Episcopalian journal. Her writings have also appeared in Boston Herald and in the Boston Globe. Her award-winning essay, “Louis Farrakhan’s Ministry of Misogyny and Homophobia”, was greeted with critical acclaim.

Monroe states that her “columns are an interdisciplinary approach drawing on critical race theory, African American , queer and religious studies. As an religion columnist I try to inform the public of the role religion plays in discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. Because homophobia is both a hatred of the “other ” and it’s usually acted upon ‘in the name of religion,” by reporting religion in the news I aim to highlight how religious intolerance and fundamentalism not only shatters the goal of American democracy, but also aids in perpetuating other forms of oppression such as racism, sexism, classism and anti-Semitism.”

Comments

  1. I have always tried to be open minded to public affairs but its seems that when people disagree with certain issues then they are labeled either racist or homophobia..
     As a black-man / minister i do like an even playing field and people can call me any name they chose because they have freedom of speech..Let’s take a moment to speak of the real issue and i begin from a mans stand point !I don’t believe that most men are homophobia, as you read the Bible these groups were in existent even though the Bible clearly speaks against their activity.As a man i like attracted women ( not men ) and i don’t use religion to be politically correct while speaking out against what i believe to be uneven practices in business,entertainment and any other areas.I would like to try and make this as plane as i possibly can !   We can not have our cake and eat it too….  You cannot allow women in the men’s locker room and not do the same on the oppose side of the table, Lesbians are allowed in the restroom with women but men can’t go in there…  ( What does this have to do with the price of beans ? )

    Answer : Facts

    Everybody talks about equal rights and they use the hardships and political issues that different nationalities have endured though out the decades to to get leverage…
    Whether in the business world , church are other organizations equal rights doesn’t become an issue until somebody wants something that they probably didn’t earn or simply is against the belief of other people.

    This is just my own opinion ! 
    But where do straight women / men have equal rights ?
    They Don’t !!!!! 
    Nobody cares what they think or whether like the programs on T.V.

    Most of the time this group minds their own business and don’t attempt to breakup somebody’s homes are mess with their children.
     
    But when they speak-out !  They’re labelled as horrible people ! 

    If you want to write something ?   Why not write about the people that’s not always looking to be political correct or pushing what they believe to be their rights upon other people.

    As a minister if it say’s don’t do it in the Bible !     

       

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  3. Willie C. says:

    I always wonder why anyone who does not accept homosexuality is labeled with a made up word “homophobe”? Does that make those who oppose Christianity or the bible Christianphobes, or biblephobes?

    • JackBlack says:

      Well Willie, it’s called homophobia because some people have an irrational fear or loathing of homosexuals.
       
      Homosexuality is a natural part of human social and sexual variability. Many other animals exhibit homosexual behavior; it’s not unique to humans. It evolved because same-sex pair bonding enhanced the survival of individuals, offspring and biological relatives. You even see it in some insect species, with an associated reproductive fitness in males who exhibit it. Remarkable, isn’t it?
       
      Yet even though homosexuality is seen throughout nature, there are some people who still think it’s unnatural and deserving of their hatred (and/or their oppression). Why are so many people fighting against equal rights for gays and lesbians? Why do Christians across the nation contribute millions of dollars to organizations that fight equality? Why are all the GOP presidential candidates against marriage equality? Are they afraid that if lesbians and gays are treated with respect and dignity that their biblically based lies will fall apart?
       
      Whether or not you want to accept homosexuals as regular, normal members of society, they’ll continue to exist in the world. Homosexuals aren’t going to go away just because some members of society are uncomfortable with them. And they’ll eventually have equal rights in America. In the meantime, pointing out homophobia is a great way to help folks get over their irrational fears.
       

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