Monday, February 13, 2012

Whitney Houston-The Voice

When I wrote this post a couple weeks ago about Whitney Houston.  I didn’t imagine that less than a month later I would be writing about losing her.

As much as I would like to think that I’m an expert on music, at the end of the day, I simply a man who loves music. What I speak from is my experiences and my life.  So when Etta James died, I didn’t feel much. I respect her as one of the most important artists in music history and I never formed an emotional attachment to her music. Hearing the news Saturday night that Whitney was dead hit me in the same way that the death of Michael Jackson affected me. It’s like her death left an open space inside of me somewhere and it hurts. No it’s not the same as when my grandparents died, but it's hard to deal with.

Like Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston was an idealized picture of what it means to be American. The image of her singing the National Anthem at the Superbowl and her singing “I Will Always Love You,” is my vision of what was a pop star. But when I was a kid, I needed that. And when things started falling apart for Whitney, it was at the exact time when I began to realize that no one is perfect and the fact that we all have our battles. And as this reality came crashing into my idealized worldview, Whitney’s life came crashing down right in front of us.

Even though, I know now that Whitney like all of us is not some super-hero, the image of her smiling, dancing around and being that perfect artist is one of my fondest childhood memories. Whitney at her best was one of the greatest singers in American history. She managed to balance her soul and gospel background with pop sensibilities influencing every musical artist that heard her. Now we may have artists who didn’t grow up listening to her but I bet they listen to people who did. Her image was sensual, but not overly sexualized. The grace she carried herself with was something that we just don’t see anymore.

When pop music got dark, she kept to her guns and melded modern sounds, which other female artists utilized to objectify themselves and continued to spread a message of love and strength.

We all have to grow up. We all have to go through a stage when we realize the heroes of our youth are flawed, that the images we look to have dark edges and the that sometimes, no matter how much we hope, we have to watch the people who inspired our souls pass along to another place.

I just wish it didn't have to be this way.

Thanks Whitney for the music, the memories and the dreams.

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