As we reflect tonight on the life of Whitney Houston, sparked by the release of the Lifetime Movie Whitney I recall this post from 2012. My thoughts of the movie will not be mentioned. I’ll simply say rest in peace Whitney Houston.
February 18, 2012
I remember being a young girl at Homewood Middle School in the 1980’s. I was tall, lanky, awkwardly poised, secretly shy, different, uncertain of myself and I never really fit in. I grew up in Birmingham’s West End, an urban oasis that was home, but I never really fit in. Then I heard a voice, and saw a video that put my life at that point in perspective. In retrospect, I should not have been listening to songs like “Saving All My Love” and “You Give Good Love”, but I did and I loved them! Even more, I loved seeing a woman who reminded me of the me I wanted to be. She was tall, graceful, and poised. But underneath, I could see a bit of urban, street edge that radiated through her captivating voice. I knew she was from Newark, NJ, another urban oasis, but something about her didn’t feel urban. That was me. I knew she sang pop, but something about her didn’t feel pop. That was me. To me, at that age, she was the perfect combination of two worlds having to come together, just as my world of black and white had to come together in my own little teenage life. In that regard I related to Whitney.
Fastforward to her love life, particularly with Bobby Brown and again I felt a connection. Let me just be real, my choice in boyfriends was probably not what some who thought they knew me would have expected, starting right with my first love and carrying on from there. But I understood her love for him and realize the courage it must take to love when others don’t understand. In that regard I related, and STILL relate to Whitney.
I remember “Waiting to Exhale” and thinking of how absolutely close I felt to her character Savannah. My friends and I LOVED that movie and each had a character. No, I didn’t date married men like Savannah, but, I was in television at the time like she was, and boy-oh-boy, did I feel like I would never find the right one, and part of that was because I was always finding the wrong one. I remember “Cinderella”, “The Preacher’s Wife”, “The Bodyguard” and her movies that spoke to me of the importance of the end being better than the start, and definitely the middle of a thing. In that regard, I related to Whitney.
I’ve never drank or done any drugs in my life, but loved ones of mine have dealt with drug/alcohol addiction in major ways. I too have overcome troubles like overeating, overspending, and over-shopping. Did my loved ones purpose to have their lives take the road of destruction it took? Absolutely not! Thank GOD my loved ones have overcome their addictions and are daily healing. Did I purpose to have my struggles take me down the road I went? Absolutely not! Thank God I overcame and I’m healthy and whole! Do I believe Whitney Houston purposed to go the winding path she journeyed? Absolutely not!!!!!!!! But hurt, pain, peer influences, personal and public pressures, people who love you one day and hate you the other, genetics, generational issues, bad choices, lack of reliance on God or not truly loving who we are can take all of us down roads we don’t mean to travel if we aren’t careful. In that regard, I related to Whitney.
So here I am thinking of her life on the day of her homegoing, typing feverishly (I’m sure with all kinds of errors) before I go to watch her funeral with my sister eating Chinese Food, Coca-Cola and peach cobbler.
I choose to think of her music, because I remember the times when her music (and God) was all my little mind thought I had, especially when she belted out a Gospel song like only a testimony like hers could do. I remember singing and dancing to her songs during times of celebration. I remember crying over loss(es) while her album played on my record player and finally my boom box in my room.
I choose to pray for her family, staff, management, and mourners alike who are dealing with incredible loss. I stop to think of the times I might have laughed at a joke about her or repeated a famous “unfortunate” quote she made to Diane Sawyer not understanding the hurt that was behind it all…. and I repent.
But most importantly, I choose to remember the last visual and vocal message she left the world in her impromptu rendition with Kelly Price of “Yes, Jesus Loves Me”…because certainly HE does!!!!!! Whitney is proof that regardless of what we do or have done, HE loves us, and we have a right to love Him! In that regard, I relate to Whitney!