Not unexpected news but devastating nonetheless. Regardless of the cause of death and attempted come back, her life had clearly taken a toll on her voice and on her spirit.
A young woman with a stellar musical lineage of pop, R&B and gospel, Whitney Houston began her career as a teen model then became a pop legend.
She was many different things at once: classy but an around the way girl. Confused, troubled, ambitious, talented, perceptive and clueless.
I’m remembering so many things.
The sometimes acrimonious debates about whether she was too pop, read white.
Our community’s outsized appreciation of The Bodyguard. I remember bell hooks saying that the movie was the first that she’s seen where a Black woman’s life was worth saving.
The rumors about her being gay. I remember hoping that if it were true that she would have the courage to tell the truth so she could get the monkey off her back. After Luther’s passing, I realized how impossible that would have been.
Her tumultuous marriage to Bobby Brown. I once heard her say that she felt people were unhappy with her choice of a mate and would have been more comfortable if she’d married a white man. It was the first time I began to realize how the celebrity bubble could isolate and confuse people. Maybe a few folks cared but for most it was part of the water cooler gossip that was quickly forgotten.
People denying that her voice had declined after a disastrous GMA concert.
The insatiable greed for new music and more acting and the bottomless desire to feed on new gossip about her descent.
But above all her glorious voice.
I don’t know if she was broke or not, if Sparkle would have been successful but she was a mother, a talent and most of all a human being who struggled and lost her life too soon. I can’t fully embrace the idea of celebrating her release from pain. But it is the ending we will have to come to terms with.
A new songbird enters heaven.
P.S. Neglected to mention her business success.
Producer of Cinderella (Brandi), The Princess Diaries, The Cheetah Girls, and the upcoming Sparkle.