I write this blog with a heavy heart. I was on Facebook on the evening of February 11, 2012, and I saw one of my friends’ status updates stating that pop/soul diva Whitney Houston had died according to TMZ.com. Now, on twitter, people have made up stories on various celebrities saying “so and so has died” only to find out that the story is not true. However, I clicked on the link, and there it was, “Breaking News: Whitney Houston Dead at 48.” I then went to CNN’s website, and the sad news was confirmed. Evidently, Houston died at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, and medics could not resuscitate her. She was 48 years old, and leaves behind her daughter from her previous marriage to Bobby Brown, Bobbi Christina.
Whitney Houston was born in Newark, NJ on August 9, 1963. Her mom was soul singer Cissy Houston, as were her cousins Dionne Warwick, and the late Dee Dee Warwick. Whitney got started as a singer in the New Hope Baptist Church as a child. Her mother would give her singing lessons. She was influenced by the music of Roberta Flack, and Chaka Khan as well as her mom, and Dionne Warwick. As a teenager, she would sing with her mom, Cissy, in clubs, and would do some modeling. It was during this time that she would eventually be discovered by Arista Record executive, Clive Davis who would not only sign Whitney, but would be like a father figure to her for the rest of her career.
It was the first one by a female to do so, and the important thing was with the hit single, “How Will I Know” crossing over onto MTV (at the time there was a huge outcry about MTV not showing videos of musical acts featuring racial minorities) , and having all the success, African American female acts were influenced by the success to start their own careers, and have success as well.
She had many hits that are still played to this day such as “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” “Where Do Broken Hearts Go,” “Greatest Love of All,” and “So Emotional.” Houston did a great cover of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.” which was featured in a movie “The Bodyguard” where she made her acting debut opposite Kevin Costner. She played a star stalked by a crazed fan, and Kevin Costner is hired to protect her. Her rendition of Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” was a huge hit, and set a record for the best selling single by a female in music history. Whitney would also have some acting and soundtrack success with “Waiting to Exhale, ” and “The Preacher’s Wife.”
I won’t get too much into her personal life because I rather remember her for her singing, but I will be brief. Whitney Houston had a three year relationship with New Edition’s Bobby Brown starting in 1989. The couple married on July 18, 1992. Bobbi Christina Houston Brown, their daughter was born about a year after they married. After a rather stormy 14 year marriage where both Bobby and Whitney had drug and alcohol problems, and Bobby spent some time in jail, the couple sadly divorced. Houston, had battled alcohol and drugs for a long while, and was in the midst of planning her comeback when she sadly passed away on February 11, 2012.
Her impact on the music world was great. She will be missed. So many of today’s artists have been influenced by Houston. You see a huge Whitney influence in an artist like Mariah Carey. Even those contestants on American Idol still try to sing Houston’s songs. She has made an impact in this industry. Houston’s voice has so much soul. You can just put a blindfold on, and put on a recording and when you hear her, you know that is Whitney Houston. She was really special.
What solidified her as a great one for me was when she performed the National Anthem right before Super Bowl 25 when the NY Giants defeated the Buffalo Bills, 20-19. That National Anthem not only convinced me that she was going to be a legendary singer, but it was, and is the best version of the National Anthem EVER.
This is really a sad way for a legend to go out. She was a great artist. She will be missed by her family, her daughter, and her fans. Thank You Whitney for everything you were able to do on this Earth. I hope that you have found peace in the arms of God where you were not able to on earth.
Terri Bey currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for F4WOnline.com. Terri can be found here at Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TerriBey and at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/missedgehead