Oh, Whitney.

Surreal is really the only way to describe my feelings about Whitney Houston’s death.  For me, the words just don’t stick.  It doesn’t make sense.

Pardon me if I refer to her like I know her, but I feel like I do.  Whitney’s ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ video was the first music video I ever saw.  And her version of ‘I Will Always Love You’ made me wish, with all my Middle School heart,  that I knew someone I’d always love.

Whitney Houston was dubbed ‘The Voice’ because she’d so handily, so irrefutably earned the moniker.  Nobody could tear the walls down like Whitney, and no one could make it look so effortless.

I know we’re all cynical about everything now, but do you remember when you first heard Whitney Houston sing the Star Spangled Banner at Super Bowl XXV?

She murdered the game.  Songstresses have been trying to catch up ever since.

And remember The Bodyguard soundtrack?  I was a fan of ‘I Will Always Love You,’ but ‘I Have Nothing,’ and ‘Run to You’ were absolutely everything to me.   I once gave myself a headache trying to conjure from thin air the talent Whitney Houston breathed like thin air.  She was so gifted.  Her voice was so powerful, so undeniably superior to her contemporaries.

Someone referred to us mourning the loss of “Auntie Whitney” on twitter yesterday.  And yeah, it’s kinda like that.  Music is like family in the sense that it’s always there.  Those voices are woven into the tapestry of our lives.  They are inextricably linked to us.  The moments we remember are that much more special when you can hear the song, and are immediately transported back in time.  You close your eyes, and you can see that memory, smell it, and feel it all over again.

I once saw Whitney and Bobby Brown at Lenox Square in Atlanta.  That was surreal too, because Whitney looked crazy.  It was during that real rough phase, where Whitney’s public image began to shift, and her personal battles began to show through the veneer.  It was tough watching her fall from grace.  But I was proud of her unending resilience.  Whitney fell hard — several times — but never stopped getting back up, or wanting to.  It’s tragic that her life ended this way.  Every tribute tugs at my heartstrings, and seems so out of place.

I was okay knowing that Whitney’s voice would never again be what it was through the 80s and 90s, if it meant that she’d, for once and for all, gotten that monkey off her back (whatever it was).  I guess that wasn’t in the cards this time around.

It just sucks.  Whitney Houston was a classic; her voice was one for an age.  A light like Whitney Houston is supposed to shine well into the twilight.  This feels unfair.  She was taken way too soon.

I wanna remember her like I first saw her:  full of promise, and full of life.

I pray Auntie Whitney rests in peace.

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About moniquealicia

M.A.G. is a doctoral student at Howard University. She resides in the Washington, DC metro area, and is passionate about her love of family and friends, politics and conversation, and the exceptional meal. View all posts by moniquealicia

2 responses to “Oh, Whitney.

  • auwomen

    being a woman of roughly whitney’s age, I understand the profound loss we feel when we have been robbed–more accurately, have robbed ourselves–of the instruments with which we were born. to age with grace, knowing that we can never recapture the moments that we believe made us who we are, is a difficult thing, and certainly worthy of our attention, since we will all cross that place. her songs were certainly our own; my life like yours was marked by their making. with whitney we saw someone who struggled always to find who she was. until the last she held an image of herself untrue to the gift that would have made her. we can only hope that we learn to cherish our true gifts, and that we do not harbor a hallow self-image that is not us and that we can grow old with grace.
    thank you Whitney for carrying this most excellent gift for us all.

  • Tonya

    I am loving and learning from your blog and readers.
    I wholeheartedly agree, Whitney will always be The Voice. She could bring chills to your spirit with an R&B song and take you to “ole time chuch” when she sang gospel. We’ve lost another great one too soon, and have hopefully have received another reaffirmation that life is too short….so give people their flowers while they can still smell them.

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