It was 2002 when we were first introduced to Jade Goody through the wonderful medium of Channel 4’s Big Brother. Before this time, like so many other contestants on the show, we had never heard of her.
Almost seven years later, it would seem that we can’t get enough of the star and everybody is queuing up to pay their respects and call her a hero.
But what has Jade actually done to deserve this brand? Has she travelled the world and helped starving Aids-ridden African children live a better life? No. Has she spent years in Iraq and rescued fellow soldiers from danger at the risk of her own safety? I think not.
What Jade Goody actually did through the majority of her life is still a mystery to many, but one thing cannot be denied: she certainly raised awareness of cervical cancer and has made thousands of women across the UK rush to the doctors for smear tests.
Some may say that her actions in death are slightly hypocritical given the fact that Jade herself ignored letters from the doctors warning of her own peril. Others might say she is simply trying to ensure others don’t make the same mistakes she did. Whatever your opinion, she made a killing doing it.
The exact amount of money that Jade raised in her dying months in unclear. Hundreds of thousands. Millions probably. Most of which is set aside in a trust fund for her two boys, with the rest going to charity. And that is the one honourable and inspirational thing that she did.
Jade Goody was the first ‘star’ to be born and die in the media spotlight. More importantly than that, she was born on a reality TV show – the same show that handed her the news of her illness.
Her love affair with Big Brother should have ended in the summer of 2002, but instead she revisited the house five years later and almost destroyed herself with her abusive and, at times racist, rants at Shilpa “Poppadom” Shetty. Have the British public forgotten about this already?
After all it was The Sun newspaper that branded her a “vile, pig-ignorant, racist bully”. Ever the fickle tabloid, The Sun is now running an e-petition to lower the age of cervical screenings. Ah, gee – thanks you guys, it’s nice to know you care.
And that is the most sickening thing about this whole episode. A woman who was slated throughout much of her life, a woman who thought that Rio de Janeiro was person and East Anglia was abroad is now going to have the biggest funeral since Princess Diana.
It might have slipped under the radar if you live in England that another life was lost on Mother’s Day. Natasha Richardson died of a tragic skiing accident, yet there seem to be very few people championing the actress as a hero or an inspiration.
And what about Patrick Swayze? Currently fighting pancreatic cancer, we hardly hear a word about the man who has starred in a many a blockbuster film either. He is hardly a hero, but at least the man did something worthwhile in his life.
One last thing to bear in mind: Jade Goody was only 27 years old when she lost her battle against cancer, the same age as the likes of Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison et al. How long before she is classed alongside such legendary figures? The Wikipedia entry is probably being written as you read this.
It may sound like this writer is slating the now deceased celebrity, but I feel I must point out the whole situation has become a total joke. Goody was not to blame for any of this, she was merely a puppet in the centre of it all.
Who knows, maybe something good will come from this, maybe Big Brother won’t be back on our screens this summer. Fingers crossed.