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by Tom Kolovos


aCS Houston, Whitney & Brown, Bobby  & Crawford, Robin

Published on February 24th, 2012 | by tomkolovos


Behind the Music and Oprah’s Next Chapter: What Killed Whitney Houston?









_________________________________This story makes people so uncomfortable–and me so angry– that I can’t resist reprinting it here.

Whitney Houston was in a lesbian relationship, which for the sake of the God she loved, her family and her career decided to abandon and marry Bobby Brown. It was an open secret in the gay community and within Whitney’s own family.

Do you think that may have something to do with why, despite her phenomenal talent and success, she spiraled into drug use and abuse?

I do.

And the fact that when I bring this up it enrages people, especially women of color, revolts me. How does the lying serve Whitney’s legacy? You see how well it served her in life, yes?

Whitney died in the name of serving a God she thought despised gay people, in the name of protecting her career from homophobes, in the name of all the women of color who go to Church to hear homophobic ministers preach hate while their men are on the DL and then come home and infect them with HIV and make HIV a top killer of sexually active women of color.

It revolts me.

And it revolts me that all the people at that funeral who spoke knew. And faked it anyway. They descended like vultures to promote their careers, not Whitney’s legacy.

Dan Savage is out campaigning to tell America’s bullied gay youth that “IT GETS BETTER.” Just this week MTV ran an hour long  special on that campaign.

Whitney was bullied by her God, her Church, her family and her record label. Clive Davis was her pimp.

Don’t shoot the messenger cause I don’t want The Enquirer–or Jet– shooting a picture of me in my casket.

At least not before I go on CNN with Soledad O’Brien, Anderson Cooper and Don Lemmon (and my girl  Zoraida Sambolin) to discuss all of this. (Soledad and Holly Robinson Peete are mad at me on Twitter today. Just check my feed. Soledad: ask Anderson what an “open secret” is.)



Unless of course Piers Morgan hacks my phone, in which case we’ll just do it on Nancy Grace. That way she can append her  lunatic “who murdered Whitney?” comments by letting me restate the question rationally: did internalized homophobia kill Whitney Houston?”

How do I know, Ms O’Brien, anything beyond my own life? Perhaps because I read and I listen. And not from a teleprompter or a wire in my ear. I am not mean because you are uninformed, Ms. Peete. Don’t be throwing shade my way.

Now you can wince.

All you like.

And perhaps because I know Whitney Houston performed at Chelsey Pier during the 1999 Gay Pride Parade.  Piers can hack into celebrity phones but not YouTube on his iPad? Sad.

OOPS. It turns out Viacom removed the clip from YouTube claiming ownership of a public taping. Hmmm. Maybe I underestimated Piers.

What you can’t see, Soledad,  is Whitney telling the crowd she wasn’t gay and didn’t necessarily approve of gays. But she was there, anyway! Do you see how deeply conflicted and deluded  this woman was?

Ask Anderson. He was probably there too.

Linda Johnson Rice, of Johnson Publishing –which owns Ebony and Jet magazines–reportedly wrote a very touching and personal tribute for this week’s Jet magazine. Apparently she was so close to the family and Whitney that she had no clue Whitney was, um, a lesbian.

Tom, you say, she wasn’t writing to appease some gay political agenda. Or to please you.

She was writing out of respect.

Respect? This from a woman whose father made a fortune regularly publishing pictures of dead black people in their caskets in the same Jet magazine that she now writes the tribute?

Are you kidding me?

I may be white, but I ain’t stupid, Ms Rice.

Don’t pee on me and tell me it’s raining. I remember you all back when your wigs matched your furs, as I like to say. And don’t even start with the false outrage about Whitney’s picture in her casket in the Enquirer. Sisters, I’ve got your number. If you’re outraged, it’s because you got scooped, not because you hold some high moral ground.

I’m tired of women of color giving lip service to gay rights–if that–but deferring to their intolerant Churches, when push comes to shove. Why do you think Oprah never asked Whitney about being a lesbian in the interview she was rehawking on her dismal OWN ? She pretended for decades  John Travolta isn’t gay to all of her viewers when she damn well knows he is. You expected Oprah to be honest with Whitney? Or herself? Or you?

The leaders of the black community better own up to their homophobic constituencies lest they be on the receiving end of a story like this one: Hairstylist Refuses to Cut New Mexico Governor’s Hair Over Stance on Gay Marriage. You read that right.

Governor Susana Martinez has lost a hair stylist thanks to her position against gay marriage.

Antonio Darden, a popular stylist who runs Antonio’s Hair Studio in Santa Fe, said he cut Martinez’ hair three times, but that’s it – unless she changes her mind about gay marriage.

Before you get your your hair–or weave –or whatever hair raising experience you maybe having right now–all up in my face, please remember that the man who coordinated the entire Martin Luther King March on Washington was a gay black man, largely erased from black history and the black press because it was an inconvenient truth.

His name is Bayard Rustin. The DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago is showing the documentary film of his life and times as part of a series called Honoring Our Past and Empowering Our Future Film Festival. The documentary is called Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin.

Bet you didn’t know any of that, did you? Didn’t think so. Now you do. Thank God it didn’t take  the DuSable Museum the same amount of time it took the Catholic Church to pardon Galileo after it  condemned him in the Inquisition in 1633 for asserting that the earth revolved around the sun. For those of you unfamiliar with the case, the Vatican apologized 360 years later.  In 1992, when Pope John Paul II got a clue. Easy to remember if you us that mnemonic trick.

So before  it comes to taking us a whole week of “Anderson Cooper 360” to understand the hypocrisy involved here, please read the first hand account below from the Daily Mail in which the person who knows spilled everything. Yes, I know the Daily Mail isn’t the most reputable media outlet in most cases—but they were in this case, since no American media outlet  would touch the story–which as I said, is an open secret, Anderson.

CNN got 5 million viewers for the funeral service. How many do you think they would have got if they trafficked in the truth? The family built a dyke unbreachably wide with deceit around the church in  which she was both discovered and ultimately discarded.  

If it meant going along with any disregard for journalism, CNN was all too happy to stand back and watch it fill with 5 million teardrops.  And you thought all the lazy, dishonest journalism went on over at FOX?

In that aforementioned Dan Savage special, someone told him that “it doesn’t get better; you get stronger.”

Not only is that my own personal experience, but it’s the God’s honest truth. Unfortunately that was not Whitney’s God’s truth but, then again,  the road to Hell is paved with sad inventions.

Don’t you agree Mr. Lemmon?

(If you don’t please don’t give my phone number to Piers. He loves sad inventions.)

Whitney’s REAL tragedy was giving up her greatest love of all – her female partner Robyn Crawford

By Peter Tatchell

Tom Kolovos is EIC of aControlledSubstance.com and doesn’t watch CNN for infotainment.

You might also want to read:

If I should die this very day: Whitney Houston “My Love Is Your Love”

Mourning in America: Whitney Houston and the Social Speed of Grief

By Megan Garber



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2 Responses to Behind the Music and Oprah’s Next Chapter: What Killed Whitney Houston?

  1. You are yelling. No need to scream at me, I am right here at my computer.
    I’m searching for the right word. Insidious (proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects) almost works…except for the gradual and subtle part. As much as I appreciate your love for Whitney Houston, and there is a lot of love here, plus your unwavering, chest beating, kicking OUT closest doors approach to stand tall and proud for human (read “gay) rights, this particular blog comes off like an intentional rabble-rousing, hot fire poker in the funeral flowers attempt to get folks up in arms. Oh, and not in a productive way, but a rather TMZ-tabloid TV-esque sort of route. You may have been channeling Bill Maher, but even taking into consideration “email tone is subjective”, this is definitely an installment the likes of trashy NeNe Leakes from “Real Housewives Of Atlanta’ would be proud to own.

    Someone once said “I hope to be remembered for how I lived, not how I die”. Now, if this were something Nippy would have said, would this also end up being a blogged screaming match with yourself because you obviously know all the facts from the inner circle and from Whitney herself and will always look over the top of your reading glasses at her in disapproval of her choices and closeted lifestyle?

    Irreverent. Close, but no, that’s not it either. Although, I am pretty sure you will have pissed off every black woman in the universe with your hair follicle insults, but bad press is good press.

    OK–that being said, you bring up some monumentally valid and painful life challenging points here. Homophobia in religion, money over happiness, societal homophobia and hatred in general. But, would it not have served Ms. Houston’s legacy better if it you did not attack back with the same perceived hatred? Rustin, Galileo, DuSable Museum facts? Brilliant. Your take on Whitney’s feelings about God and her life, the church and basically everyone in her career force-risky, but thought provoking. I am also angry about her death and wonder why, at this stage in her life, she was not able to follow the lyrics in “(Try It) On My Own” and “live my life the way I feel. No matter what, I’m gonna keep it real”. THAT would have been her greatest love of all, indeed. Life. A true life. I have a dear friend that had the opportunity to meet Whitney and spend time with her at a few concerts early in her career when Robin was also around. He always said the two of them were very close and seemed in love. Breaks my heart to picture the heartache they both must have gone through and quite possibly never stopped going through.

    Did I ever get to my point? Probably not. But, I never claimed to be a journalist. Our vastly different styles in showing support or opinions are what keeps people coming back to each of us. I’m dumb. People are dumb. Perhaps showing love for Whitney WITHOUT a curve ball attached or having that love embedded and all-to-hidden in a snarky statement would serve the masses a little better. Gloss over the bad? No, of course not. Just agree that the lady deserves to be given some props for getting countless people-gay, straight, black, white-ME through some hard times. I, for one, am devastated by the fact that I could not do the same for her. Balance the dark side with some love, if you will.

    I’ll be back.

    • tomkolovos says:

      I don’t watch “The Housewives or TMZ,” so you lost me there.

      Am I angry, yes, of course. Angry at the fact that the internalized homophobia which killed her is being ignored. If I sound angry, then I got my point accross.

      I was right there with you and many, many other as Whitney’s talent brought US a lot of joy. That will never, ever go away or be diminished.

      I don’t disapprove of Whitney. If you got that impression, then I didn’t get my point across.

      I disapprove of the the homophobia of the Church and the God which compelled her to make the choices she made. I disapprove of the God that didn’t bring HER any joy. Learning to love herself, you’ll remember, she told us was the greatest love of all. My rage is directed to those people, those institutions, those profit mongers who taught her to hate herself because that is the greatest hate of all.

      Aren’t we really disapproving of Rick Santorum as gay people because he wants to use religious doctrine to mess up our lives? Aren’t we–you, even–angry at him? And we–you even–have every right to be.

      When you say things like “snarky”–i prefer polemic, btw– do you really mean to suggest that pointing out the most honest appraisal as to why Whitney, despite her supersize talent and success, descended into despair serves anyone, including Whitney’s legacy? Does it serve the kids who are being bullied right now? Does it serve the kid whose roommate streamed his private behavior on the internet, causing him to kill himself?

      Does it serve public policy to have the Black Churches refuse to address homophobia which is ravaging that commuinity with HIV?

      Does it serve anyone to believe God hates them because they’re gay and wants them to change? If only they were willing to try hard enough to change the evil within themselves? Isn’t that what “reparative therapy”is all about and why we find it reprehensible when it is packaged to us by conservative GOP extremist?

      Why is it any more acceptable tho buy into it this–any of this–from Whitney Houston? Because she was a superstar with talent most of us can never approach? Because she inspired you and me but sacrificed herself? Where have I heard that story before my brothers and sisters?

      Isn’t that the same delusional megalomania the makes Newt Gingrich tick? Never mind my sins, do as I say sinners?

      We have to fight the lies from the right wing of our political parties, but accept them from our “superstars?” Does that seem even remotely sensible?

      I don’t think you’re dumb. I don’t think anyone else is dumb, either.

      But many of us ARE numb.

      Numb from the media’s packaging of celebrity cautionary tales as entertainment for the masses, blurring the lines between fact and fiction.

      I don’t find it at all entertaining to be deceived. Not by Rick Santorum, not by this or that God, not by Oprah, not by your “real” Housewives and not by Michele Bachmann’s husband.

      Or by Whitney Houston. I don’t judge her for how she died. I do reflect very seriously on the premise by which she chose to live her life.

      That’s what those of us who are left behind do when ANYONE dies. (I know, least of all, because my father died almost three months ago from the 3 kinds of cancer he battled for four and a half years.Let’s just say, for the moment, I learned quite a bit from that experience.) That’s fundamentally different from telling ourselves lies.

      It’s the difference between struggling to understand our vulnerable humanity but settling for solace at any price to numb the pain. That, my friend, is what’s dumb. Just ask Whitney right about now. I bet she even has the receipts this time.

      And yes, please do come back. Bring a friend or a hundred. Sit a spell.

      Maybe even come back around to my point.

      “I am not a witch.” At least, not a bad one.

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