by Richard Adeshola Adebay
A recent image of Majek Fashek
Please, I’m using this medium to plead with you guys, stay off! Completely! You don’t want to go down that road.
The full Whitney Houston coroner’s autopsy report came in recently. Little surprise therein. Our beloved diva died from drug-related accidental drowning. How many times have we heard the words “accidental overdose”?
The recreational drug use and abuse culture has reached epidemic proportions amongst Hollywood elites, and in the American entertainment scene in general. This kind of sets me thinking about our own celebrity clan in Nigeria. You have to wonder: just how bad is our drug abuse problem? Who is on the precipice? How would (God forbid) we handle a celebrity death from drugs should we lose a major entertainment icon? This is something we need to think about, as victims of this horrible habit are not discovered until the very fatal end. Still, it’s undeniable that recreational drug use and binge drinking is part and parcel of the lifestyle of the entertainment elites. The image above is a scary reminder of how a hugely talented personality can be reduced to a scarecrow.
The Rain-maker song is still one of my all-time favorites but the composer is now a sad case.
Some might ask: why would someone who has it all (wealth, fame, talent) want to blow it all up and bow out in a massive ball of flames? Adulating fans have no idea just how hard a performer’s life can be; a single all-night studio session a few years ago during which I recorded two crappy tracks which only my mum and maybe my girlfriend would play more than once convinced me to focus on my paid job. They are expected to exceed daunting challenges of meeting creativity demands, expectations, staying relevant; and their work is often full of raw emotions, sadness and loneliness. It can be a tough life. Folks are drawn to these personalities, the blinding lights of their fame, money, charisma. No one thinks about the down-side of their seemingly perfect lives
Some other enabling factors that allow celebrities to slip into a drug habit: the loose working hours, they make easy money-especially for the guys on top of the food chain. Therefore, unlike other mortals, they can explore their every fantasy, their tendency to lead a nocturnal social life, attend gigs, visit clubs very frequently. Some claim that the euphoric feeling and state caused by drugs opens up their imagination and enhances their creativity. On his death-bed, Steve Jobs boasted that one of the best things he ever did was experimenting with LSD —a psychedelic drug. That one went well, yeah? Who else wants to gloat? I am starting to get worried that a down side of the increasingly commonplace mingling of our celebs with American entertainment A-listers/ getting signed on to major record labels will put some at increased risk of picking up the habit…
These drugs are extremely addictive. You get hooked on and you’ll need serious help to cut yourself loose. Not to mention their extremely dangerous side effects of brain depression, ability to stop your heart or breathing without warning, the extremely dangerous interaction these drug cocktails and alcohol tend to have in one’s body. Don’t even get me started on the associated culture of violence, psychotic illnesses, getting in trouble with the law and complete loss of social grace (anybody still wondering why Lindsey Lohan can’t stay outta jail?).
And then, you have to realize how costly a doping lifestyle can be. Whitney Houston’s account status at her death was humbling for someone who sold multi-million album copies during her hay days. All blown away through addiction-driven self-indulgence. In fact, one can be forgiven for saying that some of these celebs were selfish for bringing such calamities upon themselves. There is nothing “accidental” about having a cocktail of four tranquilizers, cocaine, alcohol, and marijuana in your blood stream at death. Nothing!
Having said all this, one must highly commend many of our entertainers for leading responsible lives, largely staying away from a dangerous drugged-up existence and sparing our eyes from tears and our hearts from monumental grieving. Many are even role models who still find a paramount place for faith and family in their high-profile lives. Big kudos! Seriously. We are very proud of y’all and we just want to say: even though we diss you on Twitter at times (especially after you mis-yarn), we love you guys like family.
There is a very slim chance that a Hollywood heavy hitter will read this piece, but my audience is our very own Naija entertainment elite. Please, I’m using this medium to plead with you guys, stay off! Completely! You don’t want to go down that road. It leads to heartbreak at the end, loss of everything precious and sometimes, death. Remember, in this part of the world, no 911, no ambulance, no paramedics and please be mindful of the epic Lagos traffic that will prevent timely arrival at the hospitals which are ill-staffed, ill-equipped and are generally unprepared for these kind of avoidable emergencies in any case.
Remember all this and please stay at the level of sipping your Hennessy, drowning in Alomo and dirty-ing your eyes with “igbo”. If that’s the worst you can do, we really don’t mind. Stay alive, stay sober. Don’t do drugs. Please…
About the author: Adebayo is a practicing medical doctor based in Abuja. Follow him on Twitter- @deric_prince.