Though chronically an adult, the way Bobbi Kristina Brown grew up in public makes it difficult not to think of her as a child. She’s a not a child, but barring a medical miracle, she will be frozen in memory as an young woman who struggled and largely failed to blaze her own career path while trying to deal with the heartbreak of her mother’s premature death. This is the story of a child who never had a fair chance to grow up to be an adult.
Last Saturday, while the nation lost in the fog of the Super Bowl hype machine, the only child of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown was found face down in the bathtub of the Atlanta home she shared with husband Nick Gordon, (or perhaps not her husband depending on who’s telling the story). As soon as the news broke the speculation began Bobbi had been using drugs and attempted suicide in a grisly attempt to echo her mother’s death three years ago.
If the grim decision is made to remove Brown off the ventilator keeping her alive, there will an assessment of what the world loses by her passing so young. She was not an iconic singer nor an accomplished actress. Whether she had the potential to become a star is subject to debate.
What we don’t know about the circumstances that put Bobbi Kristina in that bathtub. What we do know is she was a sad, tragic young woman suffering a loss she could not continue to face. What we will lose when Bobbi Kristina passes is a troubled child, a show biz kid who tried to follow in her the footsteps of her famous parents, missed out on inheriting much of their talent, but seemingly all of their self-destructive habits. Did Bobbi Kristina have what it took to step out of the long shadow cast by Whitney? She never had a fair chance to find out.
Jezebel documented the harrowing downward spiral of the daughter of a diva into a perfect storm of misery. There are lots of kids who see mommy and daddy fighting, but not many see mommy telling Oprah about daddy as Houston did in a 2007 interview.
“When we got back to the house,” Houston said, “he spit on me. He spit on me. He actually spit on me. And my daughter was coming down the stairs and she saw it. That was pretty intense. I didn’t grow up with that and I didn’t understand why that occurred – [why] he had such a hate for me because I loved him so much.”
Only the sickest of ghouls would take a swipe at a dying young woman for not approaching the achievements of her celebrity parents in her last, tragic hours and I am not sick or ghoulish. I feel nothing but sympathy for everyone involved and dumping on Bobbi because she set her sights high is for someone a bigger bastard than I am.
I feel both sorry and more than a little sickened.
It’s hard enough for any singer to come close to the pinnacles scaled by a superstar like Whitney and avoid the lows of Bobby, but Bobbi Kristina seemed to plunge headfirst into the trouble without enjoying any of the success. The burden of expectations for the child who wants to follow in the footsteps of one parent is a high enough hurdle, but Bobbi Kristina hadn’t even cleared the New Edition/”My Prerogative” bar.
Standing on the outside, the terrible wasting of an unhappy young woman’s life seems a sad waste which could have been avoided if only someone had said to her, “You don’t need to be the next Whitney Houston. You do need to be the Bobbi Kristina you can be.”
On the inside, there’s a daughter mourning and missing a mother gone too soon who found herself lost in the same darkness which dragged Whitney down. Bobbi Kristina couldn’t find her way out and may have chosen her own exit strategy.
Everybody loses when the young do not grow old.