Art imitates life


The movie “Sparkle,” which stars Whitney Houston and Jordin Sparks, is due to be released in August. This is a remake of the movie by the same name that appeared in theaters in 1976 and was a big hit in theAfrican-American community.

The original storyline centers on three sisters who form a singing group in Harlem. They go on to perform in and around their community and receive acclaim and start to get a little taste of fame.

That is until the eldest sister, who is the beautiful, vivacious lead singer of the group, meets up with Mr. Wrong. He physically abuses Sister (the character’s name in the movie) and gets her hooked on drugs, which eventually leads to her death.

Their mother knew this man was no good for her daughter and intervened in an attempt to put an end to the romance. There is nothing the mother can do once Sister moves out of the family’s small apartment to go and live with Mr. Wrong. Is this art imitating life?

It would seem so, based on the original “Sparkle.” In the remake, Houston portrays the mother, and if this version parallels the original, then Houston is unsuccessful at stopping her daughter from being led astray.

Much like Cissy Houston, Whitney’s own mother, who could not save her daughter from herself. I have to wonder what was going through Whitney’s mind when she was on the set seeing the character of Sister mimic her own life.

Considering the abuse she (Whitney) reportedly received at the hands of her exhusband, Bobby Brown, that was made public, and her bouts with substance abuse, there is an eerie duality here that cannot be denied.

Since Houston’s untimely death at the age of 48, many have pointed the finger at Bobby Brown for her downward spiral from grace. It is no secret that Brown’s reputation as a bad boy fits the bill as Mr. Wrong, as in the movie.

Did any of us know the real Whitney Houston or were we hoodwinked by perhaps a concocted princess-like pop culture persona that we all loved? The fact is: Whitney Houston is dead and we are left to wonder what happened to this person who was blessed with unprecedented talent.

In 1992, Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston recorded “We’ve Got Something in Common.” Why was Houston drawn to Brown? It has been reported that prior to

Houston’s marriage to

Brown, she dated wellknown actors and athletes.

Yet, when all was said and done, she chose Brown. They had something in common, which is apropos to that song.

Brown grew up in the ’hood of Roxbury, Mass., and Houston in the ’hood of Newark. When Houston and Brown wed, the consensus was that the marriage would not last.

Although the marriage failed, they were together for 14 years. Houston publicly lamented that no matter what, she was standing by her man, and she did.

There was a commonality in their love. In general, people gravitate to the familiar. Brown and Houston were pretty much the same. Though Houston, whose strong foundation of having grown up in the church and anchored to a supportive family, was not enough in the end.

In the reality television show “Being Bobby Brown” that they both starred in, they were the personification of what the ’hood represents. Houston, clearly, was romanced by the dark side and fell prey, like so many unknowns do, to the trappings found in the ’hood: drugs and alcohol. The difference is, she was famous.

Gilda Rogers is a resident of Red Bank.