You could’ve bought me for half a penny last night when I found out Whitney Houston had died. I HATE the internet for the kind of false alarms we have about celebrities dying. The first thing I do is search out the info on big sites…which I did this time and the top source was ABC. She’d died in the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel and was found by her bodyguard. (even though for a second folks thought Ray J had found her). She was there to attend the Grammy’s which is to be aired tonight at 8pm EST on CBS. I’m sure the show will reflect the industry’s loss. Especially since we’ve also lost Etta James and Don Cornelius as well. ~sigh~
Let me tell you…I couldn’t even talk to my girl Tei anymore. I had to get off the phone. CNN was reporting and I had to hear every bit of it. I search for words right now and I’ve got a swirl of info and thoughts and emotions competing for space in this blog right now. (It doesn’t help that VH1Soul is on and playing her songs) I cried and cried some more…and turned her music on and cried some more. I’m still in disbelief…probably will be for a long time. It’s hard to accept the loss of such public people when they’ve left so many living visuals of themselves to keep them alive.
Most people my age grew up with Whitney the way my mom grew up with Michael Jackson. In their beginning years…WITH them. My first album ever(which I purchased with my allowance) was her first album…vinyl. I played that album until it skipped. I loved EVERY song and played it and sang it EVERY day. I was 11 or 12. I used to hang with the Bunches…Shawn and Equenthia…and I think we all thought we were Houstons and Jacksons. I KNOW their mom Sandy got tired of us singing all the GAT damn time. lol “You Give Good Love” summoned Shawn and I into his mother’s room one day as we laid eyes on Whitney for the first time singing. Mouths and ears open. That intro is unforgettable and I don’t care if we’re riding in a car of loud folks, with the windows down, wind whipping and what not…I can still spot that song on the lowest volume by the 1st few notes. “TURN IT UP!!!” is what you’ll hear me say out of nowhere. My 2nd fave became “Thinking About You” which is the 2nd track and honey it goes on for each song on this album. Her duets with Teddy Pendergrass and Jermaine Jackson…classic.
Then her sophomore album hit, “Whitney Houston” and I played THAT like it was going outta style. My girl Leah and I sat around and played that album (often crying and feeling every emotion…even though we were 12 & 14). “Where You Are”, “For the Love of You” the Isley Bros remake, which I had the nerve to correct Leah’s mom when she said that in the car:
Judy *as the song plays on the radio*: “Oh, this is a remake of the Isley Bros song…”
Smart Ass Me: “Nah uh, Ms. Judy…that’s Whitney Houston!”
Judy: “Yea, but they made it first…”
Smart Ass Me: “Oh…I like Whitney’s better” (KNOWING I hadn’t heard the other and thinking…who cares?) LOL
“So Emotional” was the song my sister and I sang often…mics and all. “Just the Lonely Talking Again” another remake, this one originally by The Manhattans. I swear…I sang this song to an ex of mine and he was mesmerized. He was like, “Wow…you sound just like her!” Back in those days I could actually hit those notes…now, not so much. lol
Whitney’s music, along with Michael Jackson, Prince, Stevie Wonder, New Edition, and so many more were indeed the singers to the songs that made the soundtrack to my adolescence. I can tell you who I was “in love” with, where I lived, who was my bestie and how I wore my hair to each song.
When Whitney visibly fell victim her drug usage…no longer functional, it was heart-breaking. I used to tell people…she’s human. Yes, we love her…but she’s human. There has to be enormous pressure on someone like her to be “perfect”, that we shouldn’t expect her never to fall, make mistakes and lose her way. I believed in my favorite female artist of all time. I believed that God and her strong mom would help her through. Whitney came from a family who although were connected to the gospel world…also had substance abuse issues. Both of her brothers at one time or another were addicted and her cousin Dionne Warwick had her own battles.
I wrote on Whitney before…click here…to see what I had to say back in 2009. As I read that older blog, I see some of the same memories written there as in this one, but hey…it’s my blog…I can repeat myself if I want to. LOL
~sigh~ Whitney Elizabeth…”Nippy”…I’m gonna miss you girl. I’m gonna miss pulling for you to get better and come back and reclaim your glory. Never again though…you’re in HIS glory now. I pray that for you. I pray an abundance of comfort, peace and understanding for Bobbi Kristina, Cissy, Bobby and the rest of your family and friends. I pray that your struggle speaks so loudly to those doing the same and that they’re convicted to get it together. I’ll never EVER forget your angelically pure voice, your sass and your artistic offerings. Rest in Peace, Whitney.
Love Always, Kali
**I want to thank my tumblr family for the pics @queennubian and @notesonascandal**