This is for those ‘fans’ of El DeBarge who more concerned with the singer making a comeback and less with a full recovery (from drug addiction).
There is an order to be followed – recovery first and foremost, with a recording career coming in a distant second.
When I sat down with El’s people in September 2010, they articulated the need to surround him 24/7 with prayer and personnel to help El stay on the path of sobriety. His sobriety ALL of the time was key. El said that he’s battled the demon of crack for more than 25 years; the hedge was required.
Here’s the deal
If you don’t know or understand the realities of crack addiction or health implications of long-time cocaine/drug use, let me assist you. Any user of such longevity will tell you that the demons will ALWAYS remain. One can be sober and off the substance, but it is a day-to-day fight for the rest of one’s life. After age 50, substance abuse increases the likelihood of sudden death at an exponential rate.
The question for ‘fans’ is simple. Do you want a living El DeBarge, or do you want him to go the route of Rick James – found dead at the age of 56 with nine drugs, including methamphetamine and cocaine, in his body?
Historically, there has been this strange connection between substance abuse, comebacks and death. Elvis Presley died from an overdose while crawling away from his toilet and miles away from his dignity…yet in the midst of a musical comeback.
Michael Jackson – cardiac arrest from the combination of injected prescription drugs and a history of abuse. And oh yeah, he too was readying for a comeback.
Maybe El DeBarge ‘fans’ would rather he die at age 50 of an overdose, as did former Temptation lead singer David Ruffin. Or like Michael Jackson who also died at age 50. (FYI, DeBarge celebrated his 50th birthday last month.)
Battle every day
Check out what recovering addict Charlie Wilson, formerly of the GAP Band, had to say to www.theroot.com in response to El canceling his tour and reentering rehab in February:
“Wilson says DeBarge needs to take a break when he gets out of rehab. He says the demands of the industry can put you under a lot of pressure. That’s the last thing a recovering addict needs – even after years of being sober.
“I was still working on myself,” he says. “You have to work on yourself first. That’s more important than relationships, and it’s more important than your career. Your life has to matter more than sitting on the cover of a magazine…I am working on myself every single day. I am just one drink from catastrophe…One hit away from losing everything I have.”
The music industry is not a place in which to teeter. If Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin were still here, they would explain how the mixture of alcohol and any narcotic is deadly. But alas…THEY’RE DEAD.
Whitney Houston was a crackhead for a decade before she hit rehab and everyone knew it. But as long as she was churning out hits, her public fans and private enablers were indifferent. Now that her career is over, her ‘fans’ seemingly couldn’t care less and have moved on. Nevertheless, she’s alive.
Take your pick, ‘fans.’ Which will it be? Whitney Houston or Rick James? Open or closed casket? Old age or autopsy? What are you really wishing for El DeBarge…and in what order?
I want him to live. I will love his music regardless of whether he ever picks up another microphone. His musical legacy is safe. Somebody has to ‘love’ him enough to make it plain. It might as well be me.
Log on to Mo’Kelly’s daily blog at www.mrmokelly.com; contact him at [email protected]