A new Whitney Houston documentary claims that the tragic music legend used drugs as a means of escaping the pressures of fame, sexuality and being controlled by the people around her.
Acclaimed documentary maker Nick Broomfield, who previously helmed ‘Kurt and Courtney’, has made ‘Can I Be Me?’ and he tells the Guardian that the late superstar was forced to hide her true self from the public, right from the beginning of her career.
“Having to be someone else – to play the ‘Whitney character’ – was something that became impossibly difficult,” he says. “From an early age, she had very little control over her life.”
Whitney was America’s big ballad sweetheart, and it was long supposed that her marriage to R&B bad boy Bobby Brown was the reason for her tragic decline.
However, Nick Broomfield includes interviews with people close to Whitney from her youth, who claim there were drugs in her world from long before.
In the film, Whitney’s brothers describe their own use of heroin, and although they aren’t specific about Whitney’s own drug use, Nick Broomfield cites others who describe her self-destructive habits from as early as the 1980s.
Scores of backing singers, stylists, bodyguards and other people in her circle have given interviews to the director, who also claims in the film that Whitney’s record label ‘whitened” her publicity shots to appeal to a mass market.
Other pressures, according to the film, included financially supporting her family and conflict between her closest childhood friend Robyn Crawford, with whom many believe she had a relationship, and other family members, including her husband Bobby, and mother Cissy.
Whitney died in 2012, and her daughter Bobbi Kristina suffered a horribly similar fate, passing away in 2015, months after being found unconscious in a bath tub in her Atlanta home.
‘Whitney: Can I Be Me?’ will be released in the UK on 16 June, after being shown at the Tribeca Festival on 26 Aril.