Tears of pain, a world of hurt

By Christian Gennara

The music world lost more than a voice Saturday; it lost a piece of its heart and soul. On the eve of the 54th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, Whitney Houston was found dead in her Beverly Hills Hotel suite. The cause of the 48-year-old’s death is unknown. The autopsy results will not be made public for at least another eight weeks or so.

On music’s biggest night, every effort was made to ensure Houston was remembered and honoured – and the Grammy producers did admirably. Host LL Cool J wasted no time acknowledging Houston’s death, starting the programme off with a prayer in the first couple of minutes of the broadcast.

Jennifer Hudson’s rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” sent shivers down the spines of those inside the Staples Center, and everyone watching. It also marked the first time Chris Brown and Rihanna performed at the same show, after Brown was accused of assaulting then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009.

The death of Houston brings up memories of her turbulent past, one spotted by episodes of domestic violence and addiction. The diva was married to Brown for 15 years before the couple’s divorce in 2007. It was widely reported that the couple had been involved with the heavy use of alcohol, coke and weed. This may have been a cause for the combustible, even combative relationship between the two.

There’s an eerie similarity to the one-time relationship between Chris Brown and Rihanna, one that ended in the latter being subjected to serious assault. On the eve of the 51st Grammy Awards in 2009, it was reported that Brown had struck Rihanna, leaving behind visible marks of a destructive relationship. The scandal forced both to cancel their performances.

Three years later, there was some debate about Brown’s appearance and whether or not he should have been allowed to take to the stage Sunday evening. Instead of sending a strong message against domestic violence, and how it should not be tolerated in any circumstance, Grammy producers appeared more concerned with ratings and lucrative advertising spots by giving Brown the opportunity to perform for millions around the world.

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