Whitney Houston died Saturday at 48. As Salon wrote six years ago, it’s a tragedy too many people saw coming
Salon’s Editor starts off the story with a note: In 2006, Rebecca Traister tried to understand how one of the most popular and successful singers of all time fell into a tragic cycle of addiction. Houston died Saturday at 48, making this story even sadder.
Two weeks ago, a story by Los Angeles celebrity journalist Nick Papps began, “It’s hard to believe that the drugged, dazed woman staring out from [an accompanying] picture was once one of the most popular singers in the world … But today that woman, Whitney Houston, 42, is just another crack head.”
The dim assessment came in response to tabloids that on March 29 printed photos of what is supposedly Houston’s Atlanta bathroom, littered with crack pipes, cocaine-coated spoons, cigarette butts, Budweiser cans and garbage. The photos were taken, and sold to the magazines, by Houston’s sister-in-law, who provided an accompanying tale of the singer’s cracked-out habits, from hallucinating violent demons, to biting and hitting herself, putting her hand through walls, and locking herself away to smoke rock cocaine and pleasure herself with an apparently prodigious collection of vibrators. Speaking about the mess on Fox’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” Billboard executive editor Tamara Conniff said, “I think that she was a really well-manicured diva star and she just turned a little ghetto.”
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