When someone dies, your mind immediately goes to all the touchpoints you’ve had in common. I suppose it’s the psyche’s way of evaluating how much the loss really means to you or something like that. With a celebrity death, it’s the same process. Like you, I heard during this past weekend that Whitney Houston had died suddenly. I can’t stop thinking about times when she and I have crossed paths of sorts – it was more her music and stardom sparkling brightly into my life. I was living in Los Angeles and close to the entertainment industry in the 1990s, when she rose to stardom. Some people thought I looked sort of like her. We were almost the same age. (I’m much younger now than I was then
A friend of mine was an absolute fanatic about Whitney Houston. When “The Bodyguard” movie was released, he went to the theater and saw it 15 or 20 times – no kidding. He bought the soundtrack, of course, and hunted down a copy of the movie’s screenplay to keep, to cherish, actually. Following along with him, I learned all the lines to that movie; all they lyrics to the songs she sang in it.
Her roots in gospel music were familiar to me, as well – I was raised in a musical, religious family, and much of my music training and performances were centered around church music. With that musical background, I couldn’t help be awestruck by her talent. One newspaper today said that Ms. Houston “used her gospel vocal style and gave it a remarkable pop sheen.”
Beyond her musical genius, Whitney Houston became a role model for women and minorities – in the entertainment industry, and in the broader population. She was an amazing business success – all of Ms. Houston’s studio albums were million-sellers, and two have sold more than 10 million copies in the United States alone: her 1985 debut album and the 1992 soundtrack to “The Bodyguard,” which includes “I Will Always Love You.” In the 1990s, her popularity soared. Her second album, “Whitney,” in 1987, became the first album by a woman to enter the Billboard charts at No. 1, and it included four No. 1 singles.
Her struggles with drugs have been well documented and publicized. I suppose many people also feel familiarity with her on that level. But I hope that’s not what we remember… about anyone. The strength, beauty, talent and important contributions of any person are what we should really focus on. The flaws are a given – they, and we are human, after all. Maybe that’s the greatest love – to focus only on the good. And let the rest go.
This Valentine’s Day, I encourage you to let love grow and be great by only seeing the good.