Whitney Houston : 1963-2012

Yesterday we all found out that Whitney Houston died.  No one knows why because there have been no “official” reasons for death reported.  Most people assume that it was drug related.  They may be right – it’s no secret that Whitney had (and admitted to having) a problem with marijuana and cocaine.  Be that as it may…

Whitney and her daughter Bobbi Kristina.

When a white celebrity is speculated to have a drug problem – cocaine, or otherwise – it never quite seems to get magnified to the extent that it did with Whitney’s. Any musician you can imagine, runway models, artists and a slew of other well-known celebrities have played with the topic of drug abuse, openly admitting to using currently or in the past.  It’s casually mentioned in interviews or headlined as they scoot off quietly to an oasis-like rehab center in the Hollywood hills.  But Whitney was tormented by constant headlines in tabloids, made fun of by countless comedians, parody and thoughtless mentions.  Her image was horribly dented by this one fact which was actually a heartbreaking struggle that none of us could have known.

And now that she’s gone, at 48 years old, people are pointing the finger at drugs.  I point the finger at life.  I can’t imagine how hard it is to have such an incredible talent and to become the victim of celebrity status the way that she did at such a young age.  If all things are meant, than Whitney was meant to live this life – and all 48 years held purpose.  Maybe not in our lives as observers – but in the life of Bobby Brown or other family members and especially the life of her only child, daughter Bobbi Kristina.  I hope that young girl doesn’t use this situation to turn to a life of drugs – but to speak out about who her mother really was and remain the best reflection of a gift lost too soon.

I grew up listening to Whitney.  My cousins and I belted out her ballads in the mirror using brushes for microphones.  I used her Heat it Up album (part of her Greatest Hits double-albulm) to work out (and WHAT a work out that was).  Who can deny the powerful message behind “I Am Every Woman”?  The impulsive addictiveness to “I Will Always Love You” or the positively charged “I Want to Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”?  What about the spectacular rendition of “Star Spangled Banner” she casually belted out before a stadium of onlookers, leaving them speechless with her powerful talent?  Amazing!  I’m still shocked that she’s gone so soon – not with a leading illness or signs of deterioration – but out of the blue…gone.

I am sad that my children will not grow up knowing who so many amazing legends are (Houston, Jackson…), but they were for our generation to know.  I hope the nay-sayers will quiet and the world can remember her as a beautiful, talented and amazing voice, a strong black woman, a mother, an artist, and a human being.

Whitney – Rest in power, sister.  You have left your mark.

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