A look at the humanity of our celebrities
From the latter end of the 2011 year until the now, we have witnessed the deaths of icons such as Heavy D, Don Cornelius, Gil Scott-Heron, Patrice O’Neal and Nate Dogg and now beloved singer Whitney Houston. The range of problems spans from mental health issues and bodily health issues, to drug issues. Our American icons and stars have struggled with issues often times in public and we criticize them and put their issues all over the news and tabloids, but do we really care about their health? Or do we only care until they are dead, then we reflect and make no effort to ameliorate the health issues that are obviously taking so many lives.
For every Whitney Houston and Don Cornelius there are thousands of people struggling with mental and body health issues. I believe that we have not adequately seen what the problem is, and simply incorporate the issues of celebrities into the character of their celebrity. Our excessive adulation has somehow blinded us to the humanity of our celebrities, when their personal problems should enlighten us to take proactive steps to combat the plague of bad health practices of many Americans and not just the ones that are in the spotlight of the media. When you look at your favorite celebrity—take Lindsay Lohan for example—do you see her as a character struggling with a cocaine problem which adds to her luster in the spotlight, or as a human being whose malaise is destroying not only just her public image but herself?
Too often, we beat each other up over ideological disagreements, or over sexuality issues, and are pressured by the celebrity and media to not see the underlying problems. The problems of our celebrities should not add to the caricature of their being as portrayed in popular media, but enlighten us to the problems of health. So as I write to you, I encourage you to take steps to take care of your health, or your friend or loved one. You never know who is struggling, they might not ever tell you for fear of stigmatization and public scrutiny. The problems of our celebrities, I believe, reflect problems of a common human struggle with an addictive substance, mental health, spiritual health and bodily health. In the wake of recent singer Whitney Houston’s death, there were a number of jokes going around on the Internet, mocking her death and struggle with an addictive substance. Of course, this was not everyone, but there should not have been any such comments at all. Have we no compassion for the dead and suffering anymore?
Do we remember people for their demons rather than the good they did and the lives they touched? I urge everyone to be less scrutinizing of those struggling celebrities and non-celebrities with health issues, and be more compassionate. The malaise of one reflects the sickness of a community, not just an individual. Always remember that it is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. The pain of one should be the pain of all and we each have a duty to care for the members of our society and community. Let’s not wait until someone dies to realize their malaise but be proactive in helping them stay alive as long as possible and enjoy this earth with us.
“A superior doctor prevents sickness; A mediocre doctor attends to impending sickness; An inferior doctor treats sickness” - Chinese Proverb.