In The News
The Soundtrack of Our Lives: Whitney Houston Remembered
Whitney Houston helped to color those remember when, where and how moments for us all. She was a part of our firsts and we were a part of hers. From that first heartbreak “Didn’t We Almost Have It All” to that first sense of self “The Greatest Love Of All”, Whitney was a part of the soundtrack of our lives.
Captivating the audience was something that was a part of Whitney Houston as an entertainer, celebrity and artist. We were transfixed from the moment we first saw her when she was the first black woman to grace the cover of Seventeen magazine to when the beauty appeared in the music video “Saving All My Love For You” and all of the moments since and in between. But uniting us was a part of the Whitney Houston magic. She so often brought us together as she did during the Persian Gulf War when she belted out the Star Spangled Banner at Super Bowl XXV. She transcended race and genre and connected us through the mediums of music and film.
With Whitney there wasn’t a whole lot of laser light shows, props, fireworks, moving stages and a million dancers, there was just “The Voice”. She told stories and inspired us with a majestic voice that was nothing short of a national treasure.
But, the greatness of us all is sometimes muted by the humanness of us all. The shortcomings and pitfalls which can overshadow the talent, the love and the compassion that we possess. And this humanness, these frailties? I am not attributing them to Whitney but to us. The highs and lows in Whitney’s life rivaled the notes she would hit in songs that will outlast this generation.
And they mirror our own. We were there celebrating with Whitney during her triumphant rise to become the Queen of Pop and we were also there with her when she openly struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. But did we celebrate her then? Or did we judge, joke about and dismiss the superstar?
To be sure it was a combination of the two. Reminiscent of Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Munroe, Whitney’s life will be remembered in part as a cautionary tale. She played her part and the perils of drugs and alcohol are there. But what about the part we played? What about the danger of ambivalence? There was instantaneous and universal acknowledgement of the greatness of Whitney Houston upon the news of her untimely passing. As with these other greats. And, there were well wishes and prayers. Our minds and hearts were now reminded and convinced of what we knew all the while, that we had with us one of the greatest voices of all time.
As with many things that we love, did we always cherish it? Did we always protect it? We have gotten it right sometimes, as is the case with the great turnaround of Britney Spears and Robert Downey Jr. And sometimes, we get it too late. Whitney is a treasure now lost but not forgotten. We must vow that we help to save our heroes as they have us when needed. As Whitney did during her life she also did with her death, she gave a final "I remember" moment. I will remember where I was when I heard the news of her untimely passing. And I will remember how her songs inspired me and comforted me. And I will remember how her life changed me.
On TV Tonight, February 13:
- Whitney Houston in "The Bodyguard" at 8pm et on Lifetime.
- BIO Remembers: Whitney Houston at 10pm ET