Once in a Lifetime: The Incomparable Whitney Houston RIP

On August 9, 1963, a star was born.

On February 11, 2012, human consciousness dimmed as spirits around the world mourned her passing.

We’ve lost a legend.

A star whose trajectory across the music world shone so bright it was almost blinding.

There are few people I can think of who were more deserving of the love, admiration and accolades heaped upon her name…

Whitney Elizabeth Houston

Once in a lifetime, if you are lucky, you witness the unfolding greatness of a legendary artist. I consider myself blessed to have grown up to the sounds of Whitney Houston who will always remain, in the hearts of those who loved her, an icon. Her voice was positively transcendent. She had a 5 octave range, possessing a strength, depth and emotional delivery that transported you somewhere else – with every note she sang.

Nippy, her childhood nickname, was born in Newark, New Jersey. She hailed from greatness. She was the third child of Cissy Houston, a legend in her own time, and cousin to the unforgettable Dionne Warwick. So it is fitting that her godmother was the legendary queen of soul, Aretha Franklin.

She grew up singing gospel at New Hope Baptist Church and was discovered by Clive Davis of Arista Records in the 1980’s, the rest is history.

Whitney is the most awarded female artist of all time having received 2 Emmy Awards, 6 Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards and 22 American Music Awards. Whitney was also one of the world’s best selling international artists, selling 170 million albums in her lifetime.

She is still the only artist to have 7 consecutive #1 Billboard Hot 100 singles.

Her 1985 debut album Whitney Houston was the best selling debut album at that time. It was also named best album of 1986 by Rolling Stone Magazine and is in their list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

But that’s not all. She was also a mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a friend, a model and an actress.  She starred in unforgettable movies like The Bodyguard, The Preacher’s Wife and Waiting To Exhale.

She was more than we knew.

It is easy to run down her list of accolades and memorable performances but they don’t tell her complete story. None of us will ever understand how such a gifted and special person’s life and career could be marred by drug addiction, troubled relationships and sadness.

Many of us, wish for money and fame, strive for power and recognition, pray for a talent that will outshine all others, and yet none of those things saved her from the darkness and despair that all too often destroys human lives.

Her cause of death is as yet unknown but we were all witness to the spiraling destruction and repercussions of her choices.

It is a lesson well worth remembering.

Make every day count because tomorrow is not promised.

And while we mourn the loss of one so talented, so beloved and so young, we should give thanks. Thanks that she was here and that we got to share, all too briefly, in the beauty and magnificence of her talent. She was more than a star, more than an icon, her life encapsulated the full spectrum of love, angst, vulnerability, strength, weakness and beauty that is mankind.

The love, music and joy remain.

Wish her well on her journey and pray for her friends, daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, and the Houston family.

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Once in a Lifetime: The Incomparable Whitney Houston RIP”

  1. Hey, Coco Rivers!

    Did you hear Westboro Church is going to protest Whitney’s funeral? IF they do, they deserve everything that will happen to them. I really mean it. I despise these wicked people masquerading in the name of God.

    1. Hey Southern Girl,

      Yes, I did and I am just as disgusted as you. It makes me sick that people use religion as a club to beat others with. How can they possibly think that is what God intended? This hypocrisy and hate is what makes me so leery about aligning myself with any religion SMH.

      If they are stupid enough to do that, all hell will break loose. POC will not let that stand. NO DOUBT.

  2. I too longed for the day she stood on a stage again, looked out at the crowd filled with contemporary’s, peers and other vocalists – knowing, knowing as only Whitney could, that she was without peer and that they all knew the next 5 minutes of their lives were going to be filled with a demonstration of vocal dexterity that made Whitney one of the outstanding vocalists of any generation.

    I realised a few years ago that the day wasn’t going to come – but I still hoped, I still waited.

    Her legacy will outlast her recent press by decades, centuries even…

    1. I agree with you, Mark. It was a moment we all hoped for. People say Bobbi Brown isn’t to blame but surely he marks the beginning of her demise? In any case, your comment about her legacy is spot on. Centuries is my guess 🙂

  3. “Oftentimes, we hang on to the possibility of our favorite artists making a comeback. Something shifts when we learn that that will never happen, as we hoped. May your soul rest easy, and your burdens forever released, Whitney.” (SomerEmpress) That was my immediate reaction upon hearing of Whitney’s passing.

    Great tribute to Whitney, Coco. The picture you chose captures her radiance, energy, and gratitude for gifts innumerable. Her voice wrapped many a depressed soul, and nurtured empowerment among children everywhere (though George Benson wrote “The Greatest Gift of All”, no one sang it like Whitney). Her gospel song, “I Love the Lord” still sends shivers down my spine, and leads me closer to the Divine every time. That’s what a great artist does – inspire us to that space called “Greater”.

    We’ve been missing YOU, Whitney, but the power and conviction of your voice will forever be with us. I hope that in your living, and yes, even your dying, that we take the words “learning to love yourself is the greatest gift of all” to heart, and live with reckless abandon in the knowledge that though industries would like to make us into something grander than we are, what lies at the core of us is good enough, true enough, and desirable enough.

    1. Thank you, I wrote the post through a veil of tears. Your comment is a beautiful tribute, in and of itself.

      “We’ve been missing YOU, Whitney, but the power and conviction of your voice will forever be with us. I hope that in your living, and yes, even your dying, that we take the words “learning to love yourself is the greatest gift of all” to heart, and live with reckless abandon in the knowledge that though industries would like to make us into something grander than we are, what lies at the core of us is good enough, true enough, and desirable enough.”

      Puleeze, write a tribute post 🙂

  4. What beautiful words for dear Whitney. I have sat here all evening listening to her music…how sad I feel. It has always been the litmus test if you can sing up to par with Whitney. Few, if any, could. I truly loved what she brought to all of us. She was one of the best…and might come down to the best in the end.

    1. Thank you, Annie. You’re so right, she will always be loved. I’m pulling for her family they must be absolutely devastated :(. Whitney has been playing all day. I’m looking forward to the Grammy tribute.

I love it when you comment...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s