From Frugivore — Yesterday afternoon the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office officially laid all speculation to rest after they released Ms. Whitney Houston’s official cause of death. She died from an accidental drowning, with cocaine use and heart disease listed as contributing factors. Equally troubling, she had negligible amounts of marijauna, Xanax, Benadryl, and Flexeril in her system.

While Whitney’s illicit drug use will dominate news coverage for the next few weeks, the iconic R&B songstress is unfortunately another victim of heart disease — the number one killer of African-American woman and men. Even though her death was ruled an accidental drowning, more than likely, as the coroner’s official spokesman explained, Whitney may have still been here if her heart was healthy.

Atherosclerotic heart disease is unfortunately a common disease that materializes when plaque build-up within the arteries hardens, eventually blocking the blood going to the heart and other organs. Atherosclerosis can lead to stroke, heart attack, and death, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute explains.

Heart disease is a completely unnecessary disease. Lately, meat consumption has been the culprit in numerous studies about cause of heart disease. Meanwhile, a wide array of unhealthy lifestyle factors have flew under the radar as scientists try to pinpoint a single factor for American’s rise in heart disease-related deaths. Whitney’s long-term use of cocaine probably exacerbated her condition along with her alcohol abuse, smoking, bad diet, and touring schedules — which even stresses out seemingly healthy young starlets.

As studies continue to demonstrate how a healthy diet and daily exercise can reverse heart disease, the number of deaths continues to rise. Deaths due to heart disease are highest among non-Hispanic blacks, irrespective of class status. Sadly, it seems as if we continue to use our bodies as vessels instead of temples, leaving hurt and pain behind to love ones rather than honoring our lives with health-sustaining practices.

And a scattered and unsettled legacy is what Whitney Houston has left her family, friends, and fans. Whitney’s meteoric rise to fame and fortune in the late 1980s and early 90s opened the world’s material treasures to her at a young age. We can only imagine how the New Jersey pop-sensation, who was raised in the church, felt as the sweet aroma of success engulfed her senses, never knowing it would eventually create an intricate public life of perpetual liminality.

Now that the public knows that Whitney had fully relapsed, after reports claimed she had put down cocaine, the focus should shift to our society’s preoccupation with denial and secrecy.

(Read the rest at Frugivore)

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  • ripuree

    “Sadly, it seems as if we continue to use our bodies as vessels instead of temples”. You mentioned that she was also raised in the Church. In my opinion, while the idea of using our bodies as temples instead of vessels, may be from Christianity, as people who must wrestle even remotely with the question of whether or not it is us who’re the cursed people of the Bible. While also knowing for sure that the image of the Chosen people is not us, we’re barred by unconscious by default from fully honoring our bodies as temples, while believing that we do. So in my opinion the biggest denial that we need to overcome is that while we (more than all others) are committed to the Bible and Christianity; Christianity and the Bible do not enable us to feel best about ourselves.

    In every Church on Sundays, is the biggest display of us not embracing our own image foremost and first. Consequently, while it is now understood that the Skin (and by extension the hair attached to that skin) is: the biggest organ of the body, the biggest pharmacy, the biggest immune system as well as seat of emotions, we still continue to project discomfort, and scorn for our own skin and hair. Our unique hair which is connected to the principles of the Golden Ratio as other spirals, we completely reject to acquire straight hair.

    And yet, in such outrageous and disproportionate self condemnation and self negation, as far as I know, God in all of his divine wisdom, has never said to that persistent captive audience so often in his presence, “Get from before me in your display of self negation and self minimization, and bring to me your true and authentic selves, if you want to overcome”.

    From our gut seat of intelligence, the Church and Christianity are therefore hard acts to follow, when one sees the obvious things that God remains silent and inactive on. It is therefore my guess that Whitney, like Mother Theresa might have doubted the God that she felt compelled to proclaim. (Something that was only revealed about Mother Theresa upon her death; making those severe fissures on her face now seeming like lines of agony from relentless discomforts about God, without having the numbing relief that drugs would sometimes provide). Yep! The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that Whitney experienced severe struggles to reconcile what Christianity expected of her, but what her Soul would not allow her to not do. I do believe that Christian restrictions messes up a lot of heads and minds, way before drugs do; and drugs are just their relief of choice.

    • Pearlsrevealed

      Your observations are true of the TRADITIONAL black church. Pure Christianity and the bible– when scripture is READ and MEDITATED upon— does allow one to become authentic. It is the TRADITIONS OF MAN that hold us captive.

      I am so glad that I began my born-again experience after I left the south. I attend a church where people where jeans and shorts. This makes all the difference in the world because I focus on applying and manifesting the truth of the Word in my life and not get caught up in trying to look sanctified. There is so much love and mercy in the new testament scriptures when you latch on to the truth that HE enables you to overcome when you meditate on HIS words.

      Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”

      Remember Jesus hung out with the outcasts of society and he addressed their issues DIRECTLY with love and HONESTY. We are called to be transparent and gracious and not fake with one another. What stops us from being this way are our traditions and not the Word of Word.

      There are millions of Christians who have applied the truth of Word and have overcome all sorts of emotional, relational and physical issues including drug addiction. This usually happens when there is at least one person you can be real with or who can keep it real with you.

  • So Over This Ish

    This was an excellent piece, Frugivore! Whitney’s death should raise awareness about the importance of taking care of ourselves and treating our bodies well.

    I was kind of shocked to learn that she had a heart condition. I feel that along with Michael Jackson and several others, the world has lost a rare jewel.

    I guess it goes to show that emotional issues surrounding addiction can pretty much make a person feel like they aren’t worthwhile anymore, so they stop valuing themselves.
    Whitney was beautiful and talented. I didn’t know her personally but I will miss that smile of hers, like sunshine after the rain.

    I will miss the presence that she had before the drugs started to wreck her career. I will miss the golden voice that touched the hearts of millions of people. She is another childhood memory to me, a star who burned out before her time.

    I wish her daughter, Bobbi Kristina, happiness and healing in the future.

    RIP, Nippy…your death only reminds me that I need to appreciate life a little bit more, because tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone.

  • overseas_honeybee

    God does not expect us to be perfect or live our lives in a box but he does expect us to do the best we can to live by His word if we profess to be true followers of Christ.

    Yes there are restrictions and guidelines in place that we as Christians must obey and rightly so … anything of high value should be guarded and protected.

    Often the expectations “we” place on ourselves and others are unrealistic from the jump. God has nothing to do with that. We are already made perfect in Him and if we truly believed that there be less foolishness going on both in and outside of the church.

    Many of us seek after vanity and the approval of man on our own. When you seek after these things you will forever be “chasing” them. God’s love knows no bounds and if we do not have an ear to “hear” Him … it’s easy to say that He’s silent or not concerned.Trust. He knows all and sees all.

    Each of us have free will (whether you were raised in the church or not) and God is not going to hinder that. Whitney struggled with many demons and made some bad choices as we all do and in the end it consumed her.

  • Alice

    Ripuree, when you speak of self negation and minimization as it relates to straightening hair and lightening skin (that’s what you mean, right?) I feel I’m speaking through you. It is a serious issue that we keep ignoring or finding weak excuses to justify. Both you and the author have made a few serious issues that need to be addressed within our community. I will have to pass on this link to a few of my colleagues because voices like yours must be heard.