Saturday, February 18, 2012

World Mourns the Loss of Legendary Icon, Whitney Houston

It's hard to believe that Whitney Houston is dead and gone. In my childhood (1990s), I had Whitney posters on my walls, listened to her numerous albums, and watched her films (The Bodyguard, Waiting to Exhale, and The Preacher's Wife). I would jam to "I'm Your Baby Tonight", "Greatest Love of All", "All the Man That I Need" and much more. She had the total package: beauty, talent, intelligence, and charisma. May she rest in peace and sing with the angels in heaven.

Whitney Houston wasn't any ordinary singer. She was an international superstar. The female version of Michael Jackson, breaking color barriers and introducing a new form of popular ballad music. In her lifetime, she won a career-high 415 awards (~75% of her nominations!). She was a huge crossover success in many musical genres-- pop, dance, gospel/Christian, r&b/soul, and (soft) rock. She was also an actress AND fashion model (she was one of the first black women to grace the covers of Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Seventeen!). Her version of the "Star-Spangled Banner", the NATIONAL anthem, became a Billboard hit and is archived at the Smithsonian Museum! Tell me how many singers you know can do that today. Not even Madonna or Celine Dion can touch that.

She always stayed true to her church roots in New Jersey. Her songs were never about sex and violence. Her elocution of the lyrics were also superb! I think many pop stars could learn something from her legacy. That's why the people in New Jersey and the rest of the world are celebrating her life today. Her voice (in her prime) was magical, effortless, and inspirational. It's not a surprise that she's the #1 voice most young women want to emulate today. If you are truly a Whitney fan, please celebrate her legacy and stay tuned for the upcoming 1970s remake, Sparkle, which hits movie theaters this summer.

Kevin Costner's
eulogy was very touching at the funeral:
“Whitney, if you could hear me now, I would tell you, ‘You weren’t just good, you were great,’” Kevin said of Whitney’s “The Bodyguard” performance at her funeral at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, NJ, on Saturday. “You sang the whole damn song without a band. You made the picture what it was. A lot of leading men could’ve played my part, a lot of guys could’ve filled that role, but you, Whitney, I truly believe that you were the only one that could’ve played Rachel Marron at the time. You weren’t just pretty, you were as beautiful as a woman could be. And people didn’t just like you, Whitney, they loved you.

Clive Davis discusses Whitney's talent for interpreting lyrics below:
"Will there ever be? And then there came a time in 1998, because of the passing of years, for what they called a comeback album. As material accumulated, we would meet in my hotel bungalow, frankly in our pajamas at 1:00 a.m. She ordering the hamburger that she loved with French fries from room service. And I'll never forget the expression on her face when she first heard 'My Love is Your Love,' and 'It's Not Right But It's Okay.' She listened to each song carefully on the character. And we played each song over and over. And gradually, to my amazement, she already had learned the lyrics. And she started singing. With each playback, she started over and it wasn't -- it really wasn't long before she stood before me and totally owned each song. Finding meaning, I'm sure, the composers never even suspected was there. And that's the way it was. Song, videos, right from the beginning.

People, please ignore the haters out there who will rather demonize Whitney than celebrate her accomplishments. She was an angel with the golden voice. Thank you for sharing your gift to the world!

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