I Don’t Know What I Want To Say About The Death Of Amy Winehouse

Tragic. Pathetic. Unnecessary. Inevitable. More or less all I can do is sigh. We can have the conversation about substance abusers, destructive behavioral patterns and long-term consequences from internal damage. So why am I writing about Amy Winehouse dying at the age of 27?

I’m not exactly sure, but somewhere lies not just a typical cautionary tale. We got the Just Say No memo. Amy was a talent, but so are many people. She joins the 27 Club of dead musicians like Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix. Nor am I fond of the aspects of cultural appropriation of African-American music traditions or being lauded for using them as a signature sound. When it comes to fame, some things can’t be controlled.

She was a great songwriter, whose lyrics touched me. She had a distinctive way of chronicling the experiences of younger women in a way that isn’t expressed in pop culture today. If you noticed the destructive messiness she fully displayed only emphasized how far off the mark she fell. She wasn’t a guy writing for a female artist — she was a woman speaking intelligibly to other women about us.

I really liked the Frank-era Winehouse, her debut release from 2003 when she wasn’t well-known outside the UK. She was at her peak and little did we know her career would explode as her personal life imploded.

By the time Back To Black was released in 2007, whatever internal conflicts she had, had taken over. I found her choice to record and promote a song where she defiantly refused to seek professional help appalling. I was further incensed by how catchy Rehab is. She was gleefully cheering her own destruction!

The sad thing is, no one can save you when you want to self-destruct. Or limit yourself. Or not have a vision for your success.

The other troubling aspect, was in how there seemed to be this rush to cash in on Amy’s fame quickly as if people were anticipating her downfall. It was if the assumption was that drama = record sales. Not to mention there’s a huge interest in promoting the White Girl In Peril meme.

We walk a fine line when we support the idea that men and women are exactly the same. It denies our uniqueness and leaves us less protected. Too much self focus is also dangerous as it interferes with our ability to bond and stay connected with each other.

I have no idea what was going on in her life, but Amy was scheduled to perform at the Blue Note in NYC this evening. Some of our most creative are also very sensitive and troubled. People who feel like outsiders might make some of the biggest contributions, but only if they can get out of their own way first. She may have been making necessary changes and had her mistakes catch up to her. It’s far too easy to be either overly sympathetic or write people off completely.

I leave you with one of my favorites, F Me Pumps. This song is a warning to women about the costs associated with living our ‘modern’ lifestyle, but I think the message goes over too many heads. It deserves a thorough listen and analysis.

16 Replies to “I Don’t Know What I Want To Say About The Death Of Amy Winehouse”

  1. what do you mean she wrote about 'us" black women? can you please express this in more details. this went over my head. i know there's something in the title "back to black" is supose to be some kind of masonic goddess reference to the creatrix or dark matter aka dark mother. but how did this relate to her?

    1. I was referring to all women, or at least those of the younger generations in the West. Why did you assume I was focusing exclusively on black women?

  2. Interesting perspective and analysis. I'm going to mull over it, but there still has to be individual accountability. If only to survive.

  3. The shock that hit me when I first heard the news was more or less about believing that she would overcome her demons and clean up and everything would be alright. Given the drugs and the drinking, the idea that she would die young because her body couldn't take her unhealthy choices should make made me not be shocked, but when one is blinded by optimism, you tend to overlook the reality of the situation.

    The sad fact is that she had a lot of potential and talent that I'm convinced was not fully realized. And now she's gone forever.

    All I can say is that I am sorry for the loss of her family, and may she rest in peace.

  4. I was really sad to learn that Amy died but not surprised. I'd never heard of her before her Rehab song. I loved her voice and sound. Listening to the video clips made me feel even MORE sad, and I will be buying some of her earlier works. Her death is an unfortunate occurrence, but hopefully it will discourage some from using drugs…or at least teach some of these celebrities (Lindsay Lohan) they aren't invincible.

    1. Those other substance abusers like Lohan still tend to paint themselves as the exception — along with their denials.

  5. I read the post earlier while at work and couldn't see the video. Not to long ago, I turned on my Pandora to help me pack and I made an Amy Winehouse Station…F Me Pumps came on (really? how did I miss the Frank cd). So right, Faith. Amy was singing about what many black women complain about all the time. There's another Brit artist named Jessie J who has a song with B.O.B along the same lines called "Price Tag"

    I really did like Winehouse and her music. RIP.

    P.S. Faith, I signed up to get emails sent to my inbox but I don't receive your fresh posts.

    1. Thanks for letting me know about the email. There's a glitch in it that I have to fix, so I disabled it.

  6. No offense, are we really surprise by Amy's death? This girl looked as if she took drugs every day, tragic for her parents and family.

  7. When I was a kid illegal drug use was a big deal. Fifty years later, what have we learned? Not much, immature, silly, spoil people will still take illegal drugs. e.g., Charlie "dumb #ss" Sheen…this guy let all of those millions go down the drain because he cannot or simply refuse to give up the drugs. I feel for his Dad, such a nice man.

    1. Yet, you feel the need to post multiple times about it. Clearly it matters enough on some level?

    2. Your comment is telling in that you honestly believe that ADDICTION is as simple as "dumb #sses" who won't give it up. If it were really that simple, there would be no addicts, period.

      The irony of your use of "immature" and "silly" is that is remarkably fitting of this uninformed point of view when it comes to the reality of drug abuse and the struggles that people go through to get themselves clean and how hard it is for many to stay clean.

      You should really educate yourself. Uninformed and judgmental opinions like this do more harm than good.

      1. While I understand your perspective, you're condoning a lot of bad choices and lack of accountability. The permissive nature of this line of thinking presumes everyone is a victim. They're not. It's consequence of choice. The same way I don't gang members or child molesters around me, I refuse to discount the DAMAGE they cause. People are killed by drunk drivers every day.

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