Russell Brand used his eloquence to write a beautiful letter dedicated to his late friend, Amy Winehouse.
Brand posted the tribute on his website, writing:
When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction you await the phone call. There will be a phone call. The sincere hope is that the call will be from the addict themselves, telling you they’ve had enough, that they’re ready to stop, ready to try something new. Of course though, you fear the other call, the sad nocturnal chime from a friend or relative telling you it’s too late, she’s gone.
He then expressed his feelings upon first meeting Amy, saying he perceived her as “just some twit in a pink satin jacket.” Then, when he found out she was a Jazz singer, Brand thought, “She must be some kind of eccentric.”
“I chatted to her anyway though, she was after all, a girl, and she was sweet and peculiar but most of all vulnerable.”
While his initial impression wasn’t astounding, Brand recalls the first time he saw Amy perform:
The awe that envelops when witnessing a genius. From her oddly dainty presence that voice, a voice that seemed not to come from her but from somewhere beyond even Billie and Ella, from the font of all greatness. A voice that was filled with such power and pain that it was at once entirely human yet laced with the divine. My ears, my mouth, my heart and mind all instantly opened. Winehouse. Winehouse? Winehouse! ... She wasn't just some hapless wannabe, yet another pissed up nit who was never gonna make it, nor was she even a ten-a-penny-chanteuse enjoying her fifteen minutes. She was a f***ing genius.
The overall theme of Brand’s letter, however, seemed to be changing society’s perception of addiction:
“We need to review the way society treats addicts, not as criminals but as sick people in need of care,” Brand wrote. “We need to look at the way our government funds rehabilitation. It is cheaper to rehabilitate an addict than to send them to prison, so criminalization doesn’t even make economic sense.”