Sunday, August 06, 2006


this is an audio post - click to play

I wasn’t sure whether to call this article “Bad Influence” or “Fallen Icons”, but I chose the latter. This is about our favorite musicians who have let us down, and fallen victim to drug use and abuse.

One reason behind my minor struggle with naming this topic was the word influence. Many artists, especially Hip-Hop artists (‘Hip-Hop Tragedies’ coming soon), attribute their success and song writing aptitude to marijuana. I am unaware of the effects of marijuana’s positive influence (if there is one), due to the fact that I do not smoke, but I am aware of the debilitating effects it has on the human brain…not only through research, but also by witnessing many acquaintances smoke, and suddenly move in “slow-motion”. I’ve seen people smoke to “set”, or lighten the mood, or gain focus (how does that work) on writing songs. I’m guessing from their actions that they truly believe that they are more creative and a lot more uninhibited while under the influence. “It takes me to a zone where my words flow freely”. Yeah right! What they fail to understand is that their words are actually slurred, and poorly put-together, and the real sad truth that they’re unaware of is, all of those creative words that you attribute to marijuana, is really inside you.

Far beyond marijuana users, are our favorite artists that have made the songs that we’ve either been born to, or made our own children to, that have fallen victim to a much worse influential substance called “Crack”. “Crack” has destroyed many of our icons lives and careers. Is it me, or does it seem like some of our favorite idols tend to fall victim to the pressure of the music industry and Hollywood very easily? I don’t know about you guys, but if I spend more than half of my life dreaming about becoming a superstar, when I get there, I’m not going to destroy the house that my hard work built with drugs. There is NOTHING anyone can say to me to get me to try drugs of any type (not even “X”), especially if I’ve gotten to my promise-land. I can’t stand the pressure of being in the public-eye, or I want to be a part of the “in-crowd”, so you fall victim to peer-pressure. Now look at you. A TOTAL DISGRACE!

Some of you may be thinking….you just don’t know what kind of pressure they’re under, or you don’t know what they’ve had to deal with in their lives before they were superstars…which is true, but if you had a hard life as a child, and climbed this hard ladder that we have called “Life”, why, when you’ve made it to the top, would you tear all that down for a “quick-fix”? I just don’t get it, and honestly, I never will! Just to stray for a moment, look at Rodney King.

That man had a hard “hood-life”, as some of us may have had. He suffered a tremendous beating by our ‘beloved’ LAPD, and was fortunate enough to be awarded MILLIONS of dollars. Here we are, a few years later, and he is BROKE! Why, you ask…Crack!!! As hard a life as he’s had to live, why, when given an opportunity to leave that all behind, would you carry over the bad habits that you had when you were ‘down-and-out’ to your new beginning? Things like that are just beyond me…but I digress.

I’ve done a little research and found only a few artists that I can name to help refresh your memories of the icons that we’ve lost. First of all, there is our beloved Whitney Houston. We love Whitney to death. With a smile that can be seen for miles, and a voice that some Opera singers can’t compete with, she was truly a standard for all aspiring singers to attempt to meet. I recall seeing her sing many times with a cold, or sore throat, and still bring the house down. Now, look at her. I don’t know if it was Bobby Brown’s influence, or Hollywood, but something or someone introduced Crack into Whitney’s life, and has taken our beautiful song bird away from us. It is very sad.

D’Angelo! What the hell happened to D’Angelo? Now, that was one smooth brotha! That man could sing the panties off any lady in the building. With a strong and statuesque physique, and a style of singing that sent all of our Neo-Soul artists back to the drawing board ( to smoke a little more marijuana), D’Angelo was the beginning of an R&B revolution. Now look at him. He’s all fat now! He’s probably broke too. I can’t wait to see the next ‘BET Awards Show’ when he shows up at the gate trying to ‘sang like Eddie Kane’ .

Who could ever forget Rick James? You knew what Rick was all about in his songs. He didn’t even try to keep it a secret. I guess when that stuff is talking to you, you can’t hear anything else that’s going on in the world. ‘Mary Jane’! When I was a kid, I had no idea, but as I got older and wiser, I realize that Rick was turned-out. ‘Mary Jane’ was just something to keep him cool between his frequent visits to “outer-space”. Poor Rick. We loved him so, and we miss him. It’s too bad that he had to die from it. I guess rehab wasn’t a real concern of his considering that he was writing songs about it. It’s so sad.

I know that there are a lot more artists to mention, but if I did in detail, this article would be too long to tolerate, so instead, I’ll leave you with a short list of the other artists that I’ve found that were drug abusers….former and current. It’s so sad how many artists are using and abusing drugs. I know that they’re all human just like you and me, but like I said earlier, when you reach your goals of becoming a singer/icon, you have to leave that stuff alone. Don’t allow your recreational bad habits ruin your career. You don’t want to EVER say….”I was a BIIIIIG star, until I started smoking Crack”.

Natalie Cole (former)
Ray Charles (former R.I.P)
Pattie LaBelle (former)
Charlie Wilson (former)
Marvin Gaye (former R.I.P)
Tina Turner (former)
R.Kelly (former)
Keisha Cole (former)
Etta James (former)
AJ McLean (Back Street Boys) (alcoholism)
Eric Clapton (former)
Kurt Cobain ( Nirvana) (former R.I.P)
Ozzy Osbourne (former, current, rehab), and
Eddie Van Halen (former)….just to name a few.

I know that there are many more artists, famous and up-and-coming, that I may have missed or forgotten. Please post a comment, and submit more names if you have any. And as always, with that being said…



Blogger xxooxx said...

Consider this...drug abuse of any kind is adictive. If a person uses drugs (for whatever reason), making money doesn't cure the addiction. No matter how much money you have. Going to rehab doesn't always work. It works best when you go, continue with the program through meetings, and discontinue your association with people who continue to indulge in such substances.

Now, what famous/rich person do you know is capable of doing all of this in order to stay clean? I don't honestly believe it to be possible. After all, most people in the "industry" are adicts of some kind- drugs, alcohol, food, sex, and the list goes on...and on.

So what do you suggest- take the money and hide? Not going to work.

Now lets talk Rodney King. Do we honestly believe he became a crackhead after being paid from the LAPD beating, or do we understand that he could afford more of it more often then before after the check? Let's be realistic- unless he got rid of all of the people in his life who were users (which were most likely the same people who stood by him through the tragic ordeal in which he was paid for), how could anyone expect him to get clean? Do you think his crackhead partners suggested going into rehab and getting sober or do you think they were continuously "supportive" of his need to "numb the pain" through drug use that he could now afford?

Although it's sad to see people in the limelight go out like that, it's reality at it's best. How else can we teach children that drugs are bad unless we have before and after photos, video and music samples of artists such as Whitney Houston? If that doesn't keep a few million children from ever touching drugs, nothing will.

11:16 PM  
Blogger A.Roberson said...

You are absolutely right in your points, but do you see where I'm coming from? I guess it's hard for me to see it the way the "industry" poeple do, considering that I am always sober. I have no desire to be "influenced" by any outside substance, especially one that's going to ruin what I've worked so hard to achieve.

It guess it is true that when an "addict" gets access to more money, legal or otherwise, they are not going to change what they've had so much fun and good feeling doing. Rodney King's settlement was just his big pay day....no more bumming the streets to get a hit. Now, he has his own money to hit as much as he wants to hit.

I just can't see it. It's hard for me to take that perspective. I work very hard for what little I do have, and there is nothing that's going to take this away from me.

I see and appreciate your point. Thank you for your comment.

8:08 AM  

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