Archive for February, 2012

Where Do Broken Hearts Go? (For Whitney Houston)

Where Do Broken Hearts Go? The first time I saw Whitney Houston’s video for “You Give Good Love,” I thought, “that’s a pretty woman.”  She also reminded me of my older sister.  It was her first single and just a mere introduction of what was to come.  And when I saw Whitney sing, “How Will I Know” I knew I was watching greatness.  She looked perfect… her hair, her make-up, that cute grey dress with the matching bow and that smile.  Houston looked so happy that I remember thinking, “I want to be that happy when I grow up.”  That was my introduction to something I don’t think I’d ever seen presented that way before;  Pop music, from a black woman.

Her influence was so great, that just a few months after “The Greatest Love of All” was released, I found myself standing next to my Mother as she played the tune on the piano with me singing it with all I had.  My Mom stopped mid song and asked, “What are you doing?  You are trying too hard to sound like her (Whitney Houston).  You need to sing the song like you would sing it.  That’s what the song is all about… proudly being who you are.”  I thought to myself, “If I can’t sound like her then what’s the point in singing at all?”  After singing that song at a family reunion or two, I hung up my mic.  No, singing was not my calling. I figured that after Whitney, I had nothing to offer in that arena, I would have to find my own stage.

So much has been said about Houston this past week that I don’t think there is much left to add.  It’s taken me a week to think of what I could contribute to the dialogue.  This is the thought I’d like to share.

I remember when my feelings about Whitney changed.  Instead of looking up to her Pop image, I thought, “She’s too Pop, I like more Soul in my music.”  I guess that after maturing and knowing what I liked in music, Whitney no longer fit.  I remember when she was booed on the Soul Train Awards… I understood the community rebelling against her Pop image because I too had gone astray.

Whitney would later pull me back in; it’s impossible not to be pulled in by that woman’s talent.  And now looking back there are a few things that are clear to me.  I believe that Whitney Houston must have lived one of the most isolated lives in music.  She lived a life of firsts, breaking every record imaginable; records for singers, not just black singers or female singers but all singers.  She changed the face of MTV and the sound of Pop music.  Maybe what we all rebelled against was the idea that we could be this talented and that we could be this important.  Perhaps fear is what caused that audience to boo instead of rising to their feet in admiration.

How sad she must have been to work so hard to break through barriers to only be judged by her people in the end.  When you are that talented and that gifted and when you are the first at so much; before you know it, you are alone with everyone else standing behind you.  Surely she tried to find ways to make the average people who surrounded her feel better about themselves by dimming her light.  What womanhood has taught me is that if one is blessed with greatness it’s nothing to apologize for, it’s too rare.  We must shine whatever our light is as brightly as we can.  Because she shined her light, artists like Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, Mariah Carey, Rihanna and too many more to name, can now enjoy their Pop success without apologizing for being Pop.  They don’t have to say sorry for their talents or whatever greatness they have.  Yes, learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.

Please enjoy this collection of my favorite Whitney Houston songs, including a live performance of her enduring “I Will Always Love You,” performed here in Washington, DC.

Thank you Whitney for your contributions, your smile, your talent, your effortless voice and perfect pitch.  And thank you for triumphantly standing alone, so that so many of us can boldly stand today.  Now rest in peace.

Download the 192kbps/HQ version (59.2 MB) here!

Whitney Houston – I Love the Lord

I Love the LordWhen considering which one of Whitney Houston’s many hits I should feature as a Song of the Moment in her honor, I decided that instead of a hit I would select a song that many of you may not have heard before.  Whitney Houston was a child of God who took every moment she could to praise him and during a concert in Washington, DC back in 1997 she did just that.  Please enjoy her live rendition of I Love the Lord.    

Whitney Houston

I’m too hurt and sad to say much more than this… goodbye to one of the most influential vocalist ever, music will never be the same.  Rest in peace Whitney Houston.