Millions of fans continue to mourn the loss of songstress, Whitney Houston, and I am one of them. Or, perhaps it is more accurate to say that I am still celebrating her life. What a legacy she left, and what an impact she made on millions of lives during her more than 25 years of fame. I remember my mother taking me to see one of her concerts when I was a kid. It was at an outside concert arena. Later on, she would fill arenas much larger than that. I also remember where I was, who I was with, and what I was doing the first time I heard “I Will Always Love You,” from The Bodyguard soundtrack. How often can you say that about a song? I was blown away by its simplicity and composition, and by her soulful voice. I applaud her for her musical acumen, as do most people. But while many criticize her personal choices, I also applaud her for a life well lived.
There is no shortage of commentary about Whitney’s later years. From what I can recall, most of it has been negative, often highlighting drug use, erratic behavior, a ruined voice, and what is often characterized as a questionable marriage. However, I see things a little differently.
Whitney Houston was on top of the world when she married Bobby Brown in 1992, fully aware of what doing so would cost her in terms of public perception. I remember all the negative comments about her choice, which mostly questioned whether she was nuts. I have no doubt that she knew her marriage would affect her “princess” image, as well as her album sales and career. But she didn’t care. She married the man she wanted to marry. Nice job, Whitney!
Not only did she marry Bobby Brown, but she publically supported him, even calling him “the original R&B King” at the 2000 Grammy Awards. It had been years since his last hit, but she said it and seemed to mean it. To the substance of the comment, I say nothing. To her willingness to say it, I say, “Nice job, Whitney.”
And who can forget the television show “Being Bobby Brown”? I got a kick out of it, especially the “who cares” attitude that Bobby and Whitney, with their baby-girl in tow, displayed in front of the cameras. And the family looked as crazy as … well … mine. There is no doubt that the show gave another blow to Whitney’s reputation. Again, I am sure she knew it – and did it anyway. To her willingness to support her husband’s television show, I say “Nice job, Whitney.”
Finally, there’s the drug use that contributed to her death. I don’t know how often she did it or whether she was addicted. I do know that she was honest about it, which takes a lot of courage. I don’t know what happens behind any closed door. Heck, I am not even sure what is happening behind a lot of open doors. But on this issue, Whitney slung the door open, eliminated speculation, and discussed her drug use – once again being honest and authentic, without seeming to care what the information did to her reputation. I am not endorsing drug use, but for her courage to be candid and to be herself, I once again say, “Nice, Whitney!”
I don’t know about your view of her, but mine is one of respect for a woman who lived life on her own terms and didn’t give a damn what any of us thought. Rest in peace, Whitney.
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