“I’m not a person who wants to die, I am a person who has life and wants to live,” Whitney once said. The passing of the legendary and regal Whitney Houston left a dark cloud hanging over the biggest weekend in music. We have come to realize that we are so sick of adorning ourselves in black for back-toback funerals. The sudden losses of greats like Heavy D, Etta James, Don Cornelius and now Whitney Houston have left most of our hearts heavy.
Tony Bennett recently sounded off in efforts to legalize drugs. “First it was Michael Jackson, then Amy Winehouse, now the magnificent Whitney Houston. . . I’d like every person in this room to campaign to legalize drugs,” says Bennett.
We have romanticized the music industry to be something that glitters, not knowing that, it is the people at the top that suffer the worst. Unfortunately, in spite of tragedy the oft-quoted famous line “the show must go on,” is the appropriate title to summarize this past weekend. Despite the fact that we lost one of the greatest voices the world may ever hear on Saturday afternoon (Feb 11) the show still went on.
Whitney Elizabeth Houston was pronounced dead at approximately 3:55 p.m. inside a Beverly Hills hotel room, hours before Clive Davis’ Pre-Grammy party, which took place in the same location. CNN confirmed that Whitney’s remains were still on the 4th floor of the Hilton hotel while the Clive Davis’ event was underway. This may sound cold that Davis continued as scheduled but he had a reason “Whitney would have wanted the music to go on and her family asked that we carry on.”
The scene of Whitney’s death clearly was reminiscent of most Hollywood endings; the scene was too familiar. Dorothy Dandridge, Phyllis Hyman, Marilyn Monroe, Anna Nicole Smith, the list goes on. The discovery when it is too late. Discovering a lifeless body after their cries for help. “Pray for me as a person, for my soul that I’m stronger,” says Houston in a 2002 interview with Diane Sawyer where she candidly discussed her battle with drugs. Like Michael Jackson who died in June of 2009, Whitney battled with demons that she was obviously never able to overcome. Also like Jackson, Whitney’s death shocked the entire world triggering instance global mourning.
“We live in a world where the negative always gets the attention,” said Smokey Robinson who called into CNN on Saturday night to speak on Whitney’s passing. He wished for media to broadcast more positive aspects. Perhaps the media adds to the pressures of the world that may lead to an enormous amount of personal pain and distress. Music critics called Whitney out for losing elements of her voice that made her a megastar. According to Diane Sawyer’s 2002 interview, there were times that Whitney feared disappointing her fans who always expected that perfect voice. Things like this clearly lead to emotional stress ”I would stay in my room for days, just trying to get it together,” revealed Whitney in 2002.
Regardless of the adversities that Whitney went through, we must remember her for that gift she blessed us with, the voice. We must treasure that unforgettable treasure. It’s hard to accept that some of our favorite megastars are here for a limited time only but absent from the body means present with the Lord.
Whitney’s film Sparkle will now be a posthumous release set for August 2012. According to Idolator, Whitney’s Houston’s Greatest Hits is projected to sell an additional 50,000 units.
Lathleen Ade-Brown is a freelance writer who has written for JET, Essence and Vibe Vixen in the past.
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