Whitney Houston, the Queen of the Nile and of Pop, Dead at 48

by on March 7th, 2015
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On Saturday, February 11, a friend and I were returning to my hotel after the last of my presentations for Black History month. I was feeling exhilarated as my Reflections of a Colored Girl” events had gone very well and I felt that I had impact the lives of children and parents that attended my event. As I opened the door to get out of my girlfriends car, I heard the announcer on Howard University’s radio station WHUR (96.3) say “We have some sad news.” My girlfriend and I looked at each other and as I felt my heart rate lower, my ears waited to hear what thing he would say. He said “The Associated Press reports that Whitney Houston is dead at the age of 48.”

I was speechless, just last week we mourned the death of Soul Train creator, Don Cornelius and today we must now mourn the songstress, the beautiful queen, Whitney Houston. Whitney was blessed with amazing beauty, and an amazing voice and oh those teeth, those amazingly perfect teeth.

As always mainstream media immediately began focusing on the negative aspects of Whitney’s life; her challenges with drug and alcohol addiction and the impact it had on her voice and her physical appearance. The choices Whitney made were never and are still not my focus. I am just thankful to have been blessed to have heard her angelic voice; I am just blessed to have had such a beautiful and talented sister in the midst of my humanity.

It is unfortunate that we wait until a person passes from this life before we reflect on how their life impacted our own. As an African American the accomplishments of those that look like me significantly, impact my life Whitney Houston was no exception; she broke barriers with everything she did. She was one of the first black women to grace the cover of Seventeen Magazine, when she shared the cover with Diane Leach in 1981; she was 18-years old. She was one of the first African Americans to cross over into the “Pop” music genre in such a forceful way, that she was called the Queen of Pop; everyone in American knew the name Whitney Houston. She set a record that remains still unbroken with the soundtrack to the movie “The Bodyguard” which she starred with Kevin Costner. . She inspired hundreds of women with that movie role and the interracial storyline likely has hundreds of interracial couples reflecting on the impact of that movie on their relationship and lives in a very positive way.

From the stage of “American Idol” to living rooms all over the world little girls try to sing like Whitney Houston. Hopefully, and with respect artists like Beyonce, Rihanna and others will reflect on their success and the role that Whitney had in it. Hopefully they recognize that Whitney was more than a singer, she was a pioneer, a trail blazer and one with one of the most amazing voices we will ever hear.

I heard someone last night say that the angelic choir just got another member; I also believe that is true. Now our King of Pop (Michael Jackson) and our Queen of Pop (Whitney Houston) have their robes, the conductor, Don Cornelius directs them, Etta James just jointed the choir, Gerald Lavert, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Luther Van Dross, Aliyah, Heavy D, Biggie Smalls, Tupak, Sammy Davis Jr, Billy Holiday, Lisa Horne, Sarah Vaughn, Phyllis Hyman, Minnie Riperton, all of the Temptations, Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye, Tami Terrell and others are seasoned choir members. I know one day and maybe sooner than later, I will get to hear that choir, and oh what a Happy Day that will be.

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