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…
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.
- Saving All My Love For You
- I Wanna Dance With Somebody
- How Will I Know
- The Greatest Love of All
- Didn’t We Almost Have It All
- So Emotional
- Where Do Broken Hearts Go
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.