Sunday, February 19, 2012

I Will Miss Whitney

I know that this blog is about Michael, his impact and legacy. However, things changed over the past few days that has prompted me to do this blog entry. Whitney Houston was my favorite female singer/performer. I adored this woman and I felt that I want to use this blog to blog about this amazing woman.

Whitney in 1985 posing with her debut album.

I found out about Whitney’s death when I was at a TGIFridays with my sisters when my brother called my sister to tell her something. When I looked at my sister’s face, I was scared and thought about my parents because I thought something bad happened to them. I was adamant and wanted to know what happened. After my sister got off the phone with my brother, she told me and my younger sister the news: Whitney Houston died. I literally thought it was a lie because the media always try to state something bogus here and there. So, I logged on to facebook on my smartphone and I saw the status. I was heartbroken and began to shed tears. I was so devastated from the news. 

Whitney winning one of her six Grammy Awards in 1986. 

When I finally got home, I had time for myself to collect my thoughts and turned on my laptop. I connected my clear internet to my laptop and log on; I was on facebook and twitter reading the various statuses and tweets. I was so upset that I went on youtube and decided to watch her videos and try to make sense out of what happened to this wonderful woman. I was a total wreck watching her classic video “The Greatest Love of All” because the song was one of my favorite songs and the video was moving and sweet. The last part in the video moved me to tears because it was a part where Whitney turned to her mother, Cissy and hugged her.

Whitney's video for "The Greatest Love Of All", 1985

February 11th, 2012 will be known as one of the worst days in my life. I never thought that Whitney would die the way she did. When I saw her being interviewed for her last movie, Sparkle, Whitney looked so healthy and happy. I remember smiling when I saw her because it was such a relief to see her in that shape. Days before her passing, however, I saw pictures of her coming out of a club looking disheveled, lost and confused. I was in my “denial” mode and I did not know what to think of that I saw. I was hoping that she was OK at the end of the day. Sadly, that was not the case.

I do not what exactly killed Whitney and I will not speculate on what happened to her. I was not physically there to know what happened to her. All I know is that her death reminded me on the death of Michael and as a diehard fan of the both of these legends, this new reality of the two of them not here with us anymore breaks my heart.

A 1987 promotion picture for her album Whitney

I was born in 1983 so the year that I really start to remember things was in 1987. It is different for each person who was born in the early to mid 1980s, so I will not speak for them. In 1987, megastars of music started to form: Michael, Whitney, Prince, Janet and Madonna. They all had hits in this year and they ruled MTV when MTV played music videos and their music was on constant rotation on the radio back when the radio mattered. I was into Michael and Whitney and their music changed my life in many ways. I have never seen a human being danced the way Michael did and I never heard a singer like Whitney. They were the Frank Sinatra/Aretha Franklin of my generation because of their enormous popularity and their God given, out- of-this-world talent.

Michael and Whitney in 1988

From 1987 up to now (and forever), I have been (and always will be) diehard fans of Michael and Whitney. I have been there for the both of them from the great times to the now tragic and sad times. I have always been loyal to them and when people were starting to let them go and move on to other people, I always stayed by their sides. I did not care what people thought about them because their opinions would not make me stop loving them.

I feel that people should remember Whitney for her music and what she has done for the industry and for others. We know that she had an addiction to substance abuse and we know that she was trying to recover. No one stated that recovering from addiction was easy. All I know is that Whitney was more than just a person with a problem that millions suffer from. Whitney was a mother, daughter, sister, cousin, friend, singer, storyteller and a child of God. She meant a lot to so many people and it is unfair for people to focus on her issues. We all have issues but our issues should not be our lasting legacy.

Whitney singing while doing the 1992 hit movie The Bodyguard

When I think of Whitney, I do not think about her issues, I think about the amazing songs that she bought to life with her brilliant vocal abilities. I think about dancing and singing to her music as a child. I think about her love for God and always making sure to have God in her life. I think about how much she loved her mother, daughter and her family. I think about the way she mentors future singing icons such as Brandy, Monica and Jordin Sparks. That is how I chose to think about Whitney.

Whitney with singer Jordin Sparks for the movie Sparkle in 2012. 

I have learned so much from being a fan of Whitney and Michael and how they were treated in the media. I know how powerful media is to people, especially the simple-minded folks of our society that believes everything they hear. I have heard of the media pundits expressing their views on what happened to Whitney when they do not see the damage that they are causing. The same media that helped killed Michael is the same media that are making sure that Whitney’s name is not only tarnished in life but in death as well. The media has never been there for Michael or Whitney and have made sure these two greats suffer from their brutal comments so that they would not have to deal with them anymore.

At the end of the day, I am heartbroken that this is has all come to this conclusion. Whitney, like Michael, was about to make her comeback and now it has come to this: her death at 48.
I know exactly how Whitney fans feel right now and I know that when each year passes, the pain never goes away. Fans start to think of what could have been done to save her. Fans look at the images and videos from her peak and wondered “What went wrong”? I understand that pain because I went through that with Michael and have to go through it again with Whitney.

Fans gather around the church where Whitney went to and sang in the choir in Newark, NJ. 

If I had the chance to give advice to her fans right now I would tell them not to think about the “what ifs”. Think about how much she meant to them. Think about the joy they felt when they heard her sing, talk and perform. Focus on preserving her rich legacy and most importantly, pray for her family. Find a way to take a pilgrimage to her home town and see how she started out. Plan fan meetings with other fans and gather together to celebrate her life.

During the moving and touching funeral of Whitney, it was reminded that Whitney had such a love for God and how she made sure to put God in her life. Even when dealing with an industry that does not promote God, she still made time to put him in her life. If there is one thing that I have learned from her passing, it is that no matter what we do in life, we must put God in our lives.

Whitney singing "I Love the Lord" from the 1996 movie and soundtrack, The Preacher's Wife

Whitney singing "Yes, Jesus Loves Me".

I would like for people to think about Whitney’s daughter, Bobbi-Kristina Brown. When she found out that her mother passed away, she was very distraught and heartbroken. It was so bad that she had to be admitted to the hospital. It would not be fair for people to repeat what the media is stating about Whitney on social networking sites like facebook and twitter. For Bobbi-Kristina to possibly read the damaging information of her mother would only make her grief difficult to deal with.  

Whitney performing with daughter Bobbi-Kristina Brown in 2009 on Good Morning America.

Finally, I am lucky that I was born in a time when I got a chance to witness the greatest female singer of all time. These days, singers like Whitney Houston do not exist anymore. Whenever Whitney did something, she always made sure to look exceptionable. In her music videos, she makes sure to look her best and wear clothing. Whitney made sure that the viewer focused on the whole package. There are female singers/rappers that love to show skin, sing/rap about things that are inappropriate and become disrespectful to themselves and others. Whitney never tried to be that way; she was not interested in the shock value. She wanted to sing and tell a story to the people.  I know that I will probably never see a female entertainer that combined extreme talent with class, sass and glamour. Whitney’s main purpose in life became very clear when I would hear or read stories about her love for God. She made sure that people know that whatever she did, she did it for the love of God. Whitney will never be forgotten and we will always love her. 

Classic Whitney. 


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