Although the autopsy results have proven inconclusive, we all know what happened to Amy Winehouse and we regrettably comprehend what her real rendering was as an artist. It should have been—it should always be—her tragically beautiful voice, a mix of Billie Holiday and the Vandellas, made most famous by “Rehab,” a song about drug and alcohol treatment crashing over a Motown backbone. Instead, it was drugs and alcohol that took her to great heights, then took her too soon; a lethal cocktail of supreme talent and hopeless addiction gets them almost every time.
Winehouse was a woman who could afford rehab one thousand times over, the thing she couldn't afford was another hit song or another hit album—the delays caused by drug and alcohol abuse. As people were rediscovering the sounds from a different generation strongly contrasted with grimy, very-modern themes from Winehouse, the superstar was furthering her spiral. That painfully withered body and soul only got worse as she gained more fame.
Talk about the “27 Club” which surrounds Winehouse's death fails to treat those who require action very seriously. Posturing more like an only-the-good-die-young death is a right of passage more than an absolute heartbreak, these glowing stars are slid in and out of the hospital, the police station, and the rehabilitation clinic rapidly and without sufficient recourse.
As we read and comment about Winehouse's death over Twitter, or remember reports of past celeb deaths, there's a feeling that we don't understand the gravity that these things entail because these people first don't feel genuine, and second, are removed from the toils of actual addiction because of their status.
“All addicts, regardless of the substance or their social status share a consistent and obvious symptom; they're not quite present when you talk to them,” said Winehouse's friend and former addict, Russell Brand. While the British funny man delivers self-deprecating jokes about his own demons for a successful living, he's made the point well. Stop treating addiction like it's the way it is and will always be, and start treating it as as the deadly haunt it really is: a crippling, destructive spiral that inevitably leads to the death of supreme talents, yes, but more importantly to the end of a human being. Addictions are just that—something that will eventually kill you, not something to be admired because of the creative edge drugs can inspire. We, if we have any decency, don't exploit the offerings of an addict in real life; likewise, treating a victim like Winehouse like she was fascinatingly meant to go this way is plain wrong. It was wrong when she first broke, releasing Frank in 2003. It is even more inconsiderate now.
Remember Amy Winehouse as an unparalleled genius who fell victim to a very complex disease. Remember her for Back to Black—try now to not be chilled by the gorgeous tones after the fact. Don't remember her for a seemingly predestined Belgrade performance in June of this year—a devastating performance by an individual unable to exist in the moment, never mind survive in a cruel spotlight. The Winehouse legacy should be that of a tremendously gifted talent who had truly underappreciated troubles she couldn't handle, not as one whose time unavoidably ran its course.v