Sunday, February 12, 2012

Farewell Whitney :-(

Last night, I sat in the braid shop getting my hair finished up when everybody's phone began to go off at the same time, with the same ominous text message: Whitney Houston had died. At first, we murmured to ourselves that it must be some kind of sick Twitter trending topic (as we all know how cyberspace loves to perpetuate rumors of celebrity death). "Oh no, its gotta be true," the woman in the chair next to me began to tear up. "Its on CNN!"

We realized that it was true. The world had lost one of the most iconic musical figures of our time. I was absolutely speechless and stunned.

I can remember as a little girl how much I looked up to Whitney Houston, and loved absolutely everything about her: her voice, her charisma, her beauty, and most of all her vibrant energy. Each morning during elementary school, her voice singing the national anthem filled our classroom, and prompted every little black girl in the room to hold her head a little higher and strain her voice to try and sing along. I can remember recording the song "I'm Your Baby Tonight" off the radio onto a cassette tape, and being so proud to tell my friends at recess that I had learned all the words to "the fast part." I can remember learning the words to "The Greatest Love of All" and singing it in the children's choir and school assemblies.

As I became a woman, Whitney's songs and films began to take on an entirely new meaning for me, as I began to live out some of the experiences of love and loss that she often sang about in her songs (i.e. my March 2011 post, "Damn, That's Me"). I could relate to many of the struggles and demons that she seemed to fight with in her personal life as she publicly unravelled right before our eyes. Having spent more than a year in rehab for my own struggles with substance abuse, I know how hard it is to shake a habit when it has completely taken over every aspect of your life.

Regardless of her challenges, I will always remember Whitney as not only a voice that changed the music world, but a voice that inspired me and countless others. She may be physically gone, but she will never, ever be forgotten.

"And if by chance that special place,
that you've been dreaming of
leads you a lonely place
find your strength in love..."