12 February 2012

Whitney Taught Me

Everyone always says that 90s kids don't remember Whitney Houston before the addictions and tumultuous behavior. Fortunately for me, they're wrong. I'm young, but I grew up with pre-drugs Whitney. Though I only know 1980s Whitney from listening to her music, Whitney taught me a lot.

  1. Confidence. The first image I ever had of Whitney Houston was this one. Even with no hair, she exhibited confidence, grace and an elegance that I had only seen on the catwalk.
  2. Don't shortchange yourself. In an interview, she once said, “God gave me a voice to sing with, and when you have that, what other gimmick is there?” She never had to Nicki Minaj herself. She wasn't the greatest dancer or the prettiest woman in the world, but she could sing. So what did she do? She sang.
  3. I'm every woman. When I was younger, I participated in a Black History Month program, in which I had to walk down a red carpet, model then say a speak on Mary McLeod Bethune. When asked what song I wanted playing in the background as I walked, I immediately chose Whitney Houston's “I'm Every Woman.” Although she was not the original singer of the song, she was the first person I heard sing the song at my age. Her voice paired with those powerful lyrics made me walk that runway as if I owned it.
  4. No one is perfect. As her private life was put on public display, the world watched as Whitney battled with her addiction to drugs and alcohol. We've seen her sing lyrics to the “Queen of the Night” to saying infamously tacky things like “Show me the receipts [for the crack].” With everything she has gone through, she shows that no one is perfect. Through it all, she was making a recovery and getting back on track.
  5. No one likes to be bullied. Even in death, there are so many people who decided to talk about her addictions rather than her impact on the world. Do people really lack that much compassion that they can't just appreciate the good that a person did while they were alive? When she was alive, I heard so many people doubt her ability to come back. Always rooting for the underdog, I was hoping for her recovery because not many people in the spotlight are able to pull themselves back to reality (i.e. Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson).

Whitney Houston was an amazing singer, and I really hoped to never hear/read her name in the same sentence as “died” in my lifetime. I know that people are not immortal, but I figured that Whitney had at least 20-40 more years. In any case, my condolences go out to her family.

♥ P.

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