By the time British singer Amy Winehouse received five Grammy Awards for “Rehab”—her autobiographical ode to dodging detox—the song had become Hollywood’s newest soundtrack.
In the week before Rehab was named record of the year and song of the year, news reports noted that the actresses Eva Mendes, Kirsten Dunst, and Sean Young had all entered rehab, and that Pat O’Brien—host of a tabloid TV show that routinely reports on the rehab struggles of others— was suddenly in rehab himself.
All of which prompted one culture-chronicling website to ask: Is rehab the new black?
Amy Winehouse’s own very public road to rehab has included a heroin and cocaine overdose, an arrest in Norway for drug possession, and various instances of disturbing behavior, such as wandering the streets outside her London home at dawn in her underwear, confused and with her signature beehive hairdo acutely askew.
The reality behind her wittily defiant lyrics—“They tried to make me go to rehab/ I said ‘No, no, no’”—finally provoked Winehouse’s father-in-law to make an unusual plea for fans: force the 24 year old into accepting responsibility for her sobriety by boycotting her records. “Perhaps it’s time to stop buying them,” he said. “It might send her a message.”
After Winehouse’s whopping win, former Grammy winner Natalie Cole said what some had been thinking: “I don't think she should have won.” Cole, who admits her own past battles with substance issues, said, “I think it sends a bad message to our young people who are trying to get into this business, the ones who are trying to do it right and really trying to keep themselves together. We have to stop rewarding bad behavior."
Tell us what you think: Are we irresponsibly rewarding celebrities’ bad behavior by buying their music and paying to see their movies? Would boycotting Amy Winehouse help her? How responsible are we as fans and consumers when celebs unravel?