Whitney: Can I Be Me

Whitney: Can I Be Me
courtesy of Showtime Networks and BBC

Writers Nick Broomfield, Rudi Dolezal and directors Nick Broomfield, Marc Hoeferlin do a great job of piecing together Whitney Houston’s life and troubled past based on interviews, videos, pictures, and concerts. Most of the information was used from Houston's 1999 World Tour.

Whitney: Can I Be Me tells the story of a troubled young girl and how problems of her youth never left her as an adult. Although her parents were present at an early age, she became disillusioned, misguided and eventually turned to drugs. Whitney had a great voice and an immense talent for show business. She started singing in the choir with her mother Cissy Houston as a young girl in New Jersey. She was the baby of the family and spoiled. Whitney befriended Robyn when she was a teenager and they moved in together. She began to model and caught the eye of her future mentor and producer, Clive Davis. Whitney developed into this pop sensation overnight. Although she was a rough neighborhood girl, the image that  the studios wanted to portray was for a global audience. While at the 1989 Soul Train Awards, Whitney got booed because the audience felt she was a sell out. This hurt her deeply and she never forgot that moment.

She was well-known for her role in Waiting to Exhale. Onset she had some apparent drug problems.The BodyGuard turned her into an international success in 1992.

People talked about how thin she became and speculated that it was because of drug usage. She wavered at times about admit to her drug usage and Bobby Brown and toxic, abusive relationship with her husband, singer Bobby Brown.

The documentary also mentions the relationship and jealousy of Bobby Brown and Robyn Crawford, her long-time friend. Whitney and Bobby had a daughter together, Bobbi Christina. It appeared that Robyn played a significant role in her Whitney's life and kept her partly sane and out of trouble. Robyn did not get along with Cissy Houston because she refused to acknowledge the confines of Whitney and Robyn's relationship. Eventually, Robyn Crawford left the tour and put Whitney into a downward spiral. Whiney often said “Can I Just Be Me”.

She felt that because she was the breadwinner, that everyone wanted something from her. She just give, give, give. Whitney was worn down over the years with the partying, drugs, and overindulgences. Finally, her body eventually gave way. I believe Whitney died without really ever telling her story. The interviews give a great insight to her life and shows the backstage connections and interactions of the people in her life. This is a tragic story, her former bodyguard states that he sent a letter stating that Whitney was in poor health, using drugs, and this was a bad environment for Bobbi Christina. Of course he got fired for expressing his concern, but he felt that Whitneys’ death could have been prevented if someone would have tried to stop her.

The question is when a person is a celebrity can anyone really stop them from hurting themselves. Family and friends have an obligation to help the ones that they love and put others needs ahead of their own. No one told her “No.” As long as the money kept coming in everything was fine. In fact, when Whitney died she was on rocky ground with her family.

The things that broke Whitney the most was: her toxic relationship with Bobbi Brown, Robyn leaving employment staff, and her father's company sues claiming that he owed her $100 million dollars.This documentary was released on HBO in August of 2017.

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