Several years ago, I was talking to a good friend who at the time was back in school pursuing a master’s degree. We were dining on some Manhattan mezzanine when she relayed that she’d had a recent “death in her family,” as she put it. Whatever story she was telling indicated she’d been out of school an inordinate amount of time, so I went ahead and got nosy, hoping she’d explain further. After a little dodging, she admitted that her dean of students had suggested she take some time off, as much as she needed.
Huh? I cocked my head to the side and asked, “Um… who exactly died?”
She put down her fork. “My mom.”
Ohhhhhhh. She’d avoided telling some of her friends because she’d discovered that as soon as anyone heard the news, they treated her with kid gloves, babying her, hovering over her and calling to check on her constantly. (That would be me.) Or they just got weird and distant, not really knowing how to deal with someone who was freshly in mourning. The only people who continued on as usual were those who didn’t know. Each of these reactions — even the distance — is a socially appropriate response to a person who is grieving the loss of an immediate family member. What the media is doing to Bobbi Kristina Brown, who everyone knows recently lost her mother, Whitney Houston, is not.
Before Whitney was in the ground, reporters and bloggers (yes, there’s a difference) were speculating whether Bobbi Kris had been hospitalized just after her mother’s passing, whether she’d left the funeral repast to go get high in a hotel room, and about her possibly strained relationship with her father. Lately they’ve been in a feeding frenzy over her interactions with Nick Gordon, who many have speculated is her adopted brother and fiancé. For clarity, he’s neither. He lived with Houston and Krissy for years, but was never formally adopted. Her rep confirmed yesterday that the ring she’s sporting is her mom’s, not an engagement ring.
And of course I have an opinion on all of that, but I won’t be sharing it here or on any other public forum. One: At 19 Bobbi Kristina is an adult, and Nick, 23, with whom she walks around holding hands and snuggling, appears to be happily consenting. Two: I have a heart. I’m saying, her mother just died!!!
I understand she’s the daughter of famous parents and fame is her birthright. But people seem to have forgotten she’s a young woman who just lost her mother. Chew ‘em up and spit ‘em out is the common practice for dealing with celebs these days, but if ever there was a time to cease fire, this is it.
People in mourning often do things that people who aren’t mourning don’t understand. And Bobbi Kristina’s alleged new relationship likely falls into that category for many people. But I implore you to leave the girl be, at least for now. She needs prayers, not petty gossip.
Demetria L. Lucas is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria), in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk