Tuesday, July 26, 2011

RIP Amy Winehouse (1983-2011)

Today family, friends, and close associates attended a funeral to mourn the death Amy Winehouse who died just three days ago at the age of 27. The news of her death was both shocking and expected, the latter due to her well-known history of drugs and alcohol addiction. She skyrocketed to fame upon the release of her second album "Back to Black" which eventually won her five Grammy awards. The loss of a single life is heartbreaking enough, but to also lose a talent such as hers is absolutely tragic. May she finally rest in peace.

In reaction to her death, British comedian and personal friend Russell Brand wrote on his blog a touching tribute to the late singer. He briefly talked about his personal history with Winehouse as well as her brilliant talent, but the heart of his piece is a call to action on behalf of addicts. It's wonderfully sincere and beautifully written. An excerpt below:

When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction you await the phone call. There will be a phone call. The sincere hope is that the call will be from the addict themselves, telling you they've had enough, that they're ready to stop, ready to try something new. Of course though, you fear the other call, the sad nocturnal chime from a friend or relative telling you it's too late, she's gone.

[...] Now Amy Winehouse is dead, like many others whose unnecessary deaths have been retrospectively romanticised, at 27 years old. Whether this tragedy was preventable or not is now irrelevant. It is not preventable today. We have lost a beautiful and talented woman to this disease. Not all addicts have Amy's incredible talent. Or Kurt's or Jimi's or Janis's. Some people just get the affliction. All we can do is adapt the way we view this condition, not as a crime or a romantic affectation but as a disease that will kill.

We need to review the way society treats addicts, not as criminals but as sick people in need of care. We need to look at the way our government funds rehabilitation. It is cheaper to rehabilitate an addict than to send them to prison, so criminalisation doesn't even make economic sense. Not all of us know someone with the incredible talent that Amy had but we all know drunks and junkies and they all need help and the help is out there. All they have to do is pick up the phone and make the call. Or not. Either way, there will be a phone call.
To read Brand's full tribute, click here.

1 comment:

  1. My mom was talking about Amy Winehouse the other day and said her life reminded her of a line from Waylon Jennings song 'Hunger': "She has danced the tune her demons played and paid the piper dearly for his song."

    She was a huge talent, and she'll be missed.


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