It has been five years since the devastatingly untimely death of Amy Winehouse, and I still mourn the loss every time I hear her distinctively raspy, hauntingly soulful voice. I wore out my burned copy of Back to Black when I was a teenager, strung out on her brazen, jazzy voice and the dark poetry of her vulnerable lyrics.
Her songs were meant to be sung full-throated, meant to pick you up off the floor, meant to make you bravely stare down the world with nothing but your wits, your words, and some heavy liquid eyeliner. I loved her because she seemed scrappy and vivacious, like she took no shit and had a filthy mouth, but mostly because she bravely owned who she was, the light and the dark, the strength and the fragility.
Amy Winehouse was a beautiful and misunderstood soul who burned too brightly, whose tragic and self-destructive behavior was unfortunate fuel for the flames of tabloids, but she was real, authentically, vulnerably, viscerally real, from her wildly robust voice to her beloved towering beehive.
Her music transcended time and place and tabloids to tap into timeless and ageless feelings about what it means to bravely and authentically navigate the inner landscape of yourself, to embrace both the light and the darkness, to own who you are and what you love. Her death was a terrible tragedy, and I will forever be grateful to have grown up listening to her sing her heart out – beautifully, poetically, and unapologetically.
In honor of the five year anniversary of her death, The Amy Winehouse Foundation, established by the late songstress’ family, is set to open Amy’s Place, a facility for women recovering from alcohol and drug addiction, in London on August 22nd. Recognizing a clear need for female-only recovery homes, (Amy’s Place will be London’s second) the facility will immerse tenants in a holistic program of activities, workshops, groups, and personal development that will help them reintegrate into society. Rest in peace <3