Tribute to Whitney Houston

Though Ms. Houston has been dead for five years, her name appears in as many headlines today as it did when she was alive. Sadly, people cannot seem to get enough gossip about the effervescent pop diva. And I for one understand why. Although I am extremely disgusted by the millions of gossip bloggers who write unsavory things about her and I prudently rebuke the blatant and outright lies, it is hard not to indulge in what is out there. I am intelligent enough to know that most of what you will find on the internet about Whitney Houston’s personal life is an exaggerated account of an actual event or an outright lie. In fact, it is nearly impossible to find content about Houston that is honest and sincere. But on the off chance that I do come across an article that is written in a truthful tone, it re-ignites a flame that sets my soul on fire. For this reason and this reason alone, Whitney’s name will not leave the headlines. And for those who want nothing more than for her to be left alone, I have to say this is a very unrealistic notion.

As a person who is constantly thinking about Whitney, I am usually led by this series of events: I find myself missing her, which prompts me to listen to her music or watch one of her movies.  Once I see her or hear her voice, I feel an immediate yearning for more. But grief takes over as I remind myself of the sad reality, that there is no more and there never will be. She will never again headline a tour, star in a movie or share her snappy wit in a press interview. And that reality hurts; and because I still don’t understand why she’s gone, I set out to find closure. On my quest, I riffle through an abundance of mainstream media articles recounting Whitney’s rise and fall to stardom.

Sadly, nearly every article that you can find will place the greatest emphasis on her fall from grace. Even the ones endorsed by those who were closest to her. What’s worse is that many of them even blotch up her professional achievements. So to some degree I concur, by now the Whitney saga should be concluded. But because many of us have not yet come to terms with losing her, we find ourselves grasping at straws trying to fill that void; the straws being the salacious media reports spouting hurtful and vicious lies.  Sadly these divisive outlets are aware that most of us are still mourning her which is how they are able to appeal to her vulnerable fans. Admittedly, I feel very guilty for giving these ill intended articles my time. And I despise the notion that because of the number of sales they are generating they feel they have been granted credence and credibility as millions listen intently to their hypothesized theories about what drove her to drugs and her early demise. But because I still miss her terribly and am still yearning for clarity, I am a target.

To remedy this, a few reputable sources have recounted their personal experiences with Whitney in memoirs, but much of the information they have divulged tells the story of the amazing women that we already know. In fact, the three books (Cissy Houston, Bebe Winans and Michael Narda Walden) that I have read overtly conveys the message that despite her success and talent, she experienced most of the same highs and lows that the average daughter, wife, and mother will experience in her lifetime. They also reaffirm what Whitney lovers already know which is that she was; generous, kind, loving, charismatic, and family oriented. And while I am thankful for these publications which have helped to clarify some of the unsavory commentary reported about her, they do not draw us closer to any reconciliation of the reasoning behind her downward spiral.  So still people want more.

Others, like my spouse feel that my curiosity goes beyond what I deserve to know about her. And in some ways I agree, perhaps my desire to gain access to more information about her personal life is intrusive. But I feel deserving of the right to learn more about her because I admire her, relate to her but most of all because I see so much of myself in her. And as a result I see her as a gift. Not for her voice, or her acting abilities or her glamour, but instead… for being a beautifully flawed woman who was deeply complicated but also very simple. For being a believer in Christ, for being a savvy and astute business woman. But above all, for having such an amazing story to share.

Some days I regret that she impacts my life because I often feel burdened by the misery tied to missing her. Other days I feel like she was a shining star that gave the world a ray of light and without her some parts of our world would be gloomy and dark. And while I grapple back and forth between the two perspectives, I realize that the healthiest place to land is in the middle. Which means, simply recognizing her great contributions and moving on. Now if I could only figure out how to do that???

As for those who feel that her fans should stay out of her private life, I can only speak for myself in saying that when a person sings and acts as emotionally as Whitney Houston, they are inviting people into their hearts, their souls and allowing others to feel their spirit. To listen to her sing provides access to her emotions; her joys pains, and passions. This is why Whitney was able to capture my heart and the hearts of so many others. And as a result, we feel a closeness that cannot be explained. I do agree that all negative and speculative subject matter concerning her should cease. But I do not think that people will stop writing or reading about her until it is made clear how our superstar strayed so far from what she knew to be the right path. There is so little left of her to hold onto, this is why we are clinging to the hope of a movie, a museum, her personal memoir, unreleased songs, deleted movie scenes, backstage footage, or any other means which draws us closer to the pop star in some way shape or form.


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