I wasn’t going to write about this. But after watching countless videos on Youtube today, and that hard sad ache I felt when I watched her mother be carried down the isle after her funeral, I feel like I must.
I was 10 years old when The Bodyguard came out. I had listened to Whitney Houston’s music before this. I have a memory of being twirled by my mother to ‘I wanna dance with somebody’. I remember trying so hard to belt out the notes just like her. The Bodyguard however, was one of the first tapes I owned that I listened to and enjoyed every single song. I had all the songs memorized, and made my own dance steps up to the songs (in the privacy of my room of course!).
Listening to her music and singing the songs, I believed one day that I could be just like Whitney. Growing up in a small town, and living on the side of town that was predominately white, she gave me an ideal to want to be. She was as dark as I was, with many of my features. You didn’t see that very often.
I missed watching the funeral today. I did see parts in recaps however. I smiled at the memories shared by Kevin Costner and tears ran unbidden down my cheeks for her mother and her family. I winced at Alicia Keys screaming at me.
Whitney Houston gave a fat awkward black girl hope. She showed me you didn’t have to be high yellow or have Caucasian features to make it in this world. You have your talent and your heart. That is all you really need. Some people will argue with me that it didn’t hurt the powerful family and friends she had behind her. No, it didn’t hurt. But you can’t tell me that she was carried by them. She let her voice do the talking.
Now, I don’t sing. Not in public anyway. I have a crippling anxiety when even thinking about singing in public. But thinking of Whitney in high school led me to try out for the choir. And I made it. She is one of many people who showed me a way to be the best person I could be. For that I will be forever grateful.
Good bye Whitney Houston. I hope you found the peace you never seemed to find here on this mortal coil. I hope you look down on this earth and know how much you were loved and treasured.