Why I Won’t See “Whitney”
Never question a mother’s love
I won’t be making any plans to see Kevin Macdonald’s latest and much-heralded documentary — Whitney — that was produced with the “open door policy” of the late singer’s somewhat manipulative sister-in-law — Pat Houston.
I grew up idolizing Whitney Houston, and that adulation has extended past the end of her short and painfully tormented life. Her playful and arresting melodies rescued me from the plight of being an American teen — stuck in the tumultous grip of the Nigerian government — that was rife with corruption and crimes against humanity.
I still remember how my heart skipped a beat when I was given the album that featured a breathtaking beauty with a smile that sadly concealed the blossoming demons — that hadn’t yet dominated the precious spirit of a songbird who was captured, punctured and then released to her fate.
There’s no need to go into the gross details of Houston’s downfall or even to examine how those around her including the man who used her to build an empire — ended up her discarding her carcass to the wolves.
But we can use this opportunity to throw some much-needed shade at the mysterious woman, who hides behind the stoic veil of familial obligation, when her questionable pursuits as the executor of Whitney Houston’s estate — revives the theory of how the singer and her beloved daughter Bobbi Kristina were surrounded by carnivores — who fed off of their insecurities and fragile dispositions.
My first impression of Pat Houston happened months after the untimely and tragic death of the woman she professes to be fiercely protective of — beyond reason.
But when you consider that her way of demonstrating her loyalty was via an ill-fated reality TV show that was supposed to ride on the celebrity of a woman who was found drowned in the bathtub of a famed Hollywood hotel — it’s quite difficult to accept Pat Houston’s genuine affection or purely defined motives.
The Houstons: On Our Own, premiered on October 12, 2012, and it featured the surviving clan of a dead superstar — struggling to move on in the aftermath of a family tragedy.
The short-lived series was a disaster from the start, as viewers were treated to the disturbing antics of still-grieving daughter Bobbi Kristina — who was clearly not in any shape to be in the spotlight — after witnessing the lifeless body of her mother — a resultant of the drug-infused years that led to her eventual demise.
The three-year anniversary of Bobbi Kristina Brown’s death after six weeks of being suspended in a comatose state is upon us — and as her mother’s soul refuses to rest from the betrayals of supposed family members who — are still righteously profiting and thriving from the blood, sweat and tears that were selflessly expended — there’s an intense sadness that envelopes — when you observe how the intertwined legacies of mother and daughter continue to be assaulted beyond recognition or rescue.
This passive attack by Pat Houston is a glitzy affair with the bedazzled package of the French Riviera, paired with the ammunition of an ambitious filmmaker, with a penchant of tackling fascinating and controversial subjects like Reggae icon Bob Marley, and a brutal African dictator in the critically-acclaimed dramatic offering, King of Scotland.
There’s no question that Whitney Houston was spinning around in a cycle that nobody seemed able or willing to break, except her beloved mother, who is still majestically and valiantly trying to scrub the blemishes off her daughter’s name. And with this latest devastation, courtesy of the relative who has finally crossed the line beyond recovery — there’s no doubt that Cissy Houston will spend the rest of her remaining years trying in vain to save her daughter’s life.
I’m not seeing the film that capitalizes on the privacy of an innocent woman in a remarkably cruel and invasive way — because a mother’s love can’t be fucked with or even questioned.
Pat Houston knows her shit and how shit stinks, which explains her defensive approach that precedes her, even before the obvious questions are thrown her way.
“I’m always the apologist that has to apologize . . . for everything”
She tries and fails to validate the decision to expose the sexual allegations against Dee Dee Warwick, the cousin of Whitney and older half-brother Gary, who is died in 2008. Dee Dee is also the sister of singer of Dionne Warwick, which makes her the niece of Cissy Houston.
Gary confesses in the film, that he and sister Whitney were both sexually molested by their much older cousin, and the repercussions of those actions added to their decades-long addiction. There was also the slight coaxing by Macdonald who attributed Whitney’s “asexual” nature — that surfaced from “not being comfortable in her own skin” — as the main evidence of childhood abuse, and of course he readily received the confirmation he needed to enhance the authenticity of his blockbuster.
As the executive producer, Pat Houston is embodying the role that she’s mastered to perfection, as she relies on the never-ending mission to be the dutiful and long-suffering family member — who is committed to doing the right thing — even when it demands a level of sacrifice that she’s more than suited for — via TV deals and granting access to devastating family secrets.
She shares the complications that erupted when she needed to make the difficult decision to once again dishonor Whitney’s mother by giving an undeserving world the charred remains of a still rejected victim.
“I wasn’t quite comfortable [with it] where Cissy or Dionne were concerned because they’re very honorable and lovely people. . . . Then, on the flip side, I had to think about Whitney and Gary. Having been with Gary for 26 years and married to him for 24, I’ve seen a great deal. And I’ve seen a lot of emotions and things that he has had to go through because of his addiction, and also Whitney. So you’re caught between a rock and a hard place. But you know you have to stand by your man, stand by your husband, that’s what I did. I thought about him and I thought about Whitney.”
But it didn't stop there. Pat Houston went on to denounce Whitney’s prowess as a mother to her daughter by pointing all the ways that she failed Bobbi Kristina, which is quite ironic when you consider how Pat recklessly squeezed the air out of the lungs of Whitney’s only child by centering her in a narrative that tragically did way more harm than good.
“You have to watch what you do in front of your children. You have to not just talk to them. You have to teach them. It’s not enough to have children. You have to be there for them and be present in their lives.”
And then she proceeds with the classic move of self-righteously validating how her influence in the lives of the women she essentially helped to destroy — has been the catalyst for much-needed healing with the cathartic release of opening new wounds that will never heal in the eyes of nonchalant viewers.
“I just know that I was brought into her life to help her ease the pain that life had brought to her. To help her find the peace that her spirit needed. And I think I did that.”
I could be very wrong in my assessment, but I’m inclined to believe that Pat Houston is a conniving and spineless witch, who has successfully thrived off of the misfortunes of a soft-hearted angel, who perished under the strain of being too vulnerable to the dampness of gross misconduct — that dissolved her into fragments of heartbreak that were too many to put back together.
She was ridiculed by her counterparts and shunned by the ones who swore to love her forever. Her debilitating drug addiction was manufactured into money-making ventures for the devilish clutches of reality TV — and the scammers posing as titans of journalism who baited her with TV interviews for ratings.
Whitney isn’t the love letter that fans like me were anticipating — and after reading the gut-wrenching statement from Cissy Houston, that deeply and emotionally expresses the depths of her pain and frustration at the deception on display by Pat Houston — her tormentor — it’s impossible to embrace this new documentary with open arms.
There’s also the matter of the sexual abuse allegations, and how the revelation of what may or may not have happened has been fed to the masses without any consideration for the mental fragility of a heartbroken mother — who lost a child under unfathomably dire circumstances. Not to mention the successful attempt to once again wreck havoc on the crippled storyboard of Whitney Houston — even when she’s dead and gone.
“IF she was molested I do not believe she would have wanted it to be revealed for the first time to thousands, maybe millions of people in a film.”“If she was my daughter’s ‘close confidante’ it would seem she chose to betray Whitney’s confidence by publicizing rumors and hearsay.”
Cissy Houston also adds:
“I am heartbroken that despite all she accomplished fans and haters alike are left with the notion that she lived her life as a victim.”
When all is said and done, there should be lines that can’t be crossed when it comes to depleting the value of prized possessions for the privilege of movie tickets, and a pompous reception that will eventually simmer back to the saddest end to the fairytale that never was.
Also, anyone who refutes the irreplaceable wealth of a mother’s love in the face of jarring ratchetness — that’s finessed into the falsehood of a fitting tribute to an icon who desperately needs to be allowed to rest in peace — should probably indulge in some soul-searching.
As for me, my mind is made up. I will not be seeing the Whitney documentary.