As corrupt corporate media blazes the old rusty trail as to whether Sis. Whitney Houston was "relevant" - while failing to expose or critique the kind of elitism, arrogance and barbarism that would party and celebrate the evening of Whitney's death away - I weep at the loss of this soul stirring, spine tingling singing sensation.
Not only did her voice lift us up out of our shoes, but she reflected our collective talents and our complex struggles, our sober focus and our cunning and baffling addictions.
That is why we as a people rooted for her.
We wanted her to make it. In fact, many of us thought that she was home free.
I Have Nothing
(South Africa, 1994 - "During her modeling days, the singer refused to work with any agencies who did business with the then-apartheid South Africa.)
The reality is that a string of our more endearing people who have been thrust in the limelight are dying - and when we catch our breath and think about it, we ought not be surprised. After all, in the streets, African people are dying at a horrific and heartbreaking rate. Nobody is immune.
Let this also be a lesson for some of us who will mourn beloved Whitney on one hand, and then call a Brother or a Sister in the streets a "crack head" on the other. To say that we need our ability to fully love one another tweaked and oiled is an understatement.
More on that issue later.
For now, rest well my recovering Sister, Whitney Houston. Whether or not you were able to hold on, we as Black people love you straight through the trivial to appreciate the exceptional.
As Sis. Journey quoted from her song earlier in the evening, "The ride with you was worth the fall, my friend."
Whitney at Nelson Mandela Freedom Fest
(Whitney Houston was the first major performer to play in South Africa after the election of Nelson Mandela.)
"A noisy, lively crowd gathered at Davis' party, but many expressed shock at the news of Houston's death and feel it's surreal to be celebrating in light of the fact that Houston's body is still in the building."
"The Guinness Book of World Records lists Houston as music's "most awarded female artist of all time," with a total of 411 awards including two Emmys, six Grammys, 16 Billboard Music Awards, and 23 American Music Awards.
She was the only artist to chart seven consecutive #1 Billboard Hot 100 hits and also became the only artist with seven consecutive multi-platinum albums." - Various sources
Excerpt From Whitney Houston's Production of Cinderella
"In 1997, Houston's production company changed its name to BrownHouse Productions and was joined by Debra Martin Chase. Their goal was "to show aspects" of Black life while improving how Black people, "are portrayed in film and television."
(Even with our critique, we can appreciate this effort.)
"Even after news comes from close associates of Whitney Houston that her launch to drug use began long before her first hello with Bobby Brown - and even after seeing Bobby Brown lose his Mother, his Father, and now his ex-wife in the last year - folk continue to denigrate him to the point that they respect and admire Whitney's relationship with a fictitious White character more than they seek to understand the complexities of the addiction - the pain, suffering, and abuse that ultimately dissolved the Houston/Brown marriage.
A caramel "angel" recovering addict gets more "favor" and love from the community than a dark skinned, recovering Black man from 'the hood.'
The venom directed at Brown seems eerily familiar with that normally perpetrated particularly by Whites against interracial couples - Whitney being treated as if she were White, and Brown being treated as the devouring, monstrous Black man.
Make no mistake, internalized racism is alive and well in the Black community." - Terry Howcott
"This is a devastating time for Bobby Brown, as he has lost one of the great loves of his life and the mother of his daughter (Brown's father also passed away last December and his mother, in early 2011)."
"I thought that was complete insanity . . . " Khan explained to Piers Morgan
"I don't know what could motivate a person to have a party, in a building where the person whose life he had influenced so enormously, and whose life had been affected by her... I don't understand how that party went on."
Chaka Khan, who said that she considered Houston to be her "little sister", added:
"A more honest tribute, in my opinion, would have been, maybe, call everybody together, say a prayer, let's eat dinner and go home."
Whitney and Bobby
The Grio's Incendiary Chaka Khan Headline
Sis. Marpessa Kupendua
"Mimicking the lowest common denominator and caring not the cost to the spirit of a grieving woman telling her very personal story is certainly not anything remotely resembling a true Griot."
"James Baldwin, in his prophetic commentary on America’s twisted relationship to celebrity via Michael Jackson*, argued “The Michael Jackson cacophony is fascinating in that it is not about Jackson at all. I hope he has the good fortune to snatch his life out of the jaws of carnivorous success…”
"According to a longtime friend of Whitney's Grammy-winning gospel singer mother, Cissy [Houston] absolutely could not stop screaming for about half an hour, after getting the news of her daughter's untimely death."
you are the diamond they tried to turn to rock, star. cosmic goddess crushed through groove of 45. smile for me whitney.
that smile that makes blind men look twice and straight girls cut eyes at the silk in your sighs. you are beauty so deep seas ripple in half tide to catch glimpse of your stride on the off shores of our pride. and it makes sense to see you in past tense when the presence of these tears seep futuristic.
you are rising as we speak. eternal light in bedroom eye of mourning sky. - Journey Johnson
Whitney Houston Funeral
Dubai Fountains Synchronized With Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You"
"Over 6,600 WET Superlights – the most advanced incandescent large fountain lights available today – and 25 colour projectors create a visual spectrum of over 1,000 abstract attractions.
The beam of light shining upward from the fountain can be seen from over 20 miles away, and will be visible from space making it the brightest spot in the Middle East, and quite possibly in the entire world."
Look at the character of the person, and the character of the woman . . . . think about the hits and forget the misses. - Aretha Franklin
It's a good thing most of the conscious people are not being so heartless . . . . many Black women can identify with her struggles and her love songs.
And yes there is love and heartbreak in revolution. - Karen C. Tomlinson
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