An estimation in response to a question asked of me: “What would have happened to Whitney if she didn’t drown?”
On the brink of financial ruin, Whitney Houston would have launched herself whole-heatedly into a campaign for EGOT status, but inevitably signed up to a lucrative but ultimately over-demanding season at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas only to be dumped by promoters a third of the way through her live shows due to her becoming embroiled in a Naomi Campbell-esque lawsuit with a lackey after throwing one of her Grammys at their head.
She would have developed that terrifying ‘haunted crackhead’ aggressive streak to its absolute pinnacle and walked around glowering at the world like a cross between Winnie Mandela and Nina Simone. She would be dolled up in slightly shabby sub-Tina Knowles designs to celebrate getting her star on the Hollywood walk of fame (I cannot believe she doesn’t have a star!), wearing a fur coat in high summer and looking dead behind the eyes, shakily clutching a fag with 2 inches of ash attached.
After a promising stint in a Arizona-based rehab she would be persuaded by blood-thirsty lawyers to release a range of dubiously named fragrances, the towering achievement of which would inevitably come unstuck following a dramatic relapse in which she locks herself into a room at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino with an ounce of cocaine and floods people’s twitter feeds with unhinged rants directed at various small-town pharmacists who have backed out of their deals to stock her perfume “How will I know” (topnotes of tobacco, patchouli and some kind of clinically proven pheromone).
She appears as a guest feature on a Megan Trainor single about female empowerment, and is paid a million dollars to appear in the video, lurking in deep background and heavy shadow like Fat Brando for Michael Jackson’s “You Rock My World” (recent accusations aside, is that video one of the weirdest things that MJ ever did? In a crowded field, that seems like a cry for help that we all ignored).
Stung by her latest round of failed business ventures and a hurtful New Yorker review of her appearance on the re-rebooted Matt LeBlanc vehicle “Joey”, Whitney goes back to basics and decides to give the people what they want by executive producing her own biopic, ignoring the pleas of her financial backers and casting her daughter Bobbi Christina in the title role. Immediately a rival Todd Haynes production is greenlit by Universal, featuring Beyonce, Laura Harrier, Angela Bassett, Meryl Streep, and Christian Bale portraying the legendary singer at various stages of her personal life and career.
If the option of drowning in her own bath had been completely removed from her life, Whitney may well have gone on to live for decades longer, but at times she seemed to have a personal vendetta against the universe which in turn chewed her up and spat her out. I’m almost glad that she couldn’t move her life along any further if that’s what meant this hideous posthumous prophecy had no chance of being realised. Good night Whitney, you truly had one moment in time.