July 23 is the fifth anniversary of the death of enigmatic singer Amy Winehouse.
I remember this day vividly, as I was spending a leisurely summer in France.
It was immensely sad to witness another sacrifice on the altar of show business. All I knew about Amy was her “Rehab” hit, which was ominous.
Overnight fame, performance pressure and access to the temptations of wealth lead to high-risk behaviors that become the nemesis of sensitive talents.
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Successful performers are often exploited by those around them, including managers, friends and close family members. As compensation for reaping monetary rewards, stress and financial management, plus altruistic mentorship must be the moral and ethical responsibility of stars’ immediate support groups.
Gentle guidance while channeling the excitement of the limelight away from self-destruction through drug and alcohol abuse should be imperative. While providing full psychological support through the rough spots of inevitable excesses, comprehensive support should include good nutrition, regular exercise, sleep, hygiene, accountability and practicing self-control.
“Life,” the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards’ brutally honest autobiography, should continue to be read very widely. This best-seller is an eye-opener for youths and has a potent deterrent effect from the pitfalls of nascent stardom.
Bernd Schumacher, San Luis Obispo