Whitney Houston – A voice that will NEVER be measured up.

Posted: February 12, 2012 in African American Stories and Viewpoints, Decision Factors, Editorial, Entertainment, Music
Tags: , , , ,

I am very stunned. Another of the 80’s singers had passed on. No, I’m not talking about Michael Jackson. I did that in 2009. Whitney Houston. Man, I tell you. She had a gift and a voice that no other would capitalize. No matter if you were black, white, latino, or any other race of music fans alike. Or born in the 70’s and lived in the 80’s when her hits came out, you had to admit you had some Whitney Houston joints stored somewhere in your house right now. Or maybe on your ipod, your android systems or whatever. But I didn’t have a “fan connection” with Whitney Houston until about 1991. And I should point out, I am a child of the 80’s when her, Michael Jackson, Run DMC, LL Cool J, Janet Jackson, Prince, and many others were in their prime. It was the same year when our Military was in Operation: Desert Storm and most of still remember when the NY Giants defeated the Buffalo Bills. And I’ll admit I viewed the game of SuperBowl XXV. But that wasn’t the only one part of the game. “The Star Spangled Banner” was the highlight of the pregame shows. To me, I don’t care what anyone says, either on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Tumblr, BlogSpot, some local blog post, or THIS blog: Whitney Houston’s version of the Star Spangled Banner was one of the absolute best ever! I can talk about Marvin Gaye’s version from the 80’s, or Beyonce’s from SuperBowl 38, but her version still to this day, makes my spine freeze. I’m dead serious! It resinated about the fabric of America and of course the support of our Military at the time.  And I’m sure alot of you or related still think and believe that her version (without all the autotune and pre-American Idol stuff) stands out the most.

It didn’t matter when you hear her voice, yes you get some reaction to it. And maybe when you hear about her 1989 Soul Train Awards appearance of being booed because of her crossover move to other audiences besides black, you question why? I mean Michael Jackson crossed over and STILL got mad love during his career! Why not Whitney Houston? Maybe she was doing her, and confessed that she was not ashamed of it. Nowadays you see other artists of color having that exposure, and yes there are going to be critics from all sides and angles making comments. Sort of like Nicki Minaj. There was a time she was sitting in a BET Awards audience being mad for some reason. And Duane Martin told her, that “why don’t you get up on stage and do something?” Guess what, Nicki is on stage, winning awards and the rest is history.

But shifting back to Whitney Houston. All those including me will remember the highs and lows of her career. From her start in the church. But the fact of the matter is, she did her job. Of course she’ll be remembered for her low points with all the drug use that nearly costed her career and livelihood. Was it pressure? Did it made her a bad person? Just Asking. Plus her acting career of movies like The Bodyguard, the Preacher’s Wife, Waiting To Exhale and soon to be: Sparkle. And I’ll bet alot of you still sing “I’ll will always love you”.  And many others like “I’m Every Woman”, I Wanna Dance With Somebody”,  “Greatest Love Of All”, and etc.  Just a fact that I read tonight, when Michael Jackson did the MTV barrier busting thing, Whitney Houston did the same for the female black artists. And just to add to those who are younger: without Whitney Houston, there wouldn’t be a Beyonce, an Alicia Keys, Christina Aguleria, Jennifer Hudson, and I dare say Lady Gaga. That’s right I said it! Artists like them were influenced by her vocals and hope to understand that she, didn’t use all the Autotune, digital stuff that most use now. She used the one thing that God gave her: her voice! That was her autotune. That was her Digital memory bank. Her vise. Her original sound. Period!

I want to direct this to all those who are younger. Alot younger who are like 10 years old. Or maybe still hooked on Justin Bieber, Soulja Boy, and the Autotune house musician fans in all. Yes you. Earlier in the day, there were comments coming in from folks who were online and asking the question, “who was Whitney Houston?”  Again, I know you are young, and that’s ok. BUT I have a homework assignment for you. And since this is Black History Month, do this: Ask your parents or grandparents, or uncles, or aunts and ask them to play a Whitney Houston song. No matter which one it is. It can be her earlier hits or her latest hits that was 2009. No matter. Or you can go on Youtube and watch (and I mean WATCH) plus listen how she “sang” songs. She opened her mouth and the notes flowed out!  She was that kind of performer that should be influence on you, in terms of singing! I mean you can go onto your favorites and talk about them all day everyday. When I was your age, I knew about Michael Jackson growing up in the 80’s and my parents knew him growing up in the 60’s and 70’s. But I got my education!

In conclusion, to those of us who have kids, and/or are around kids: I posted this on my Twitter wall, and I think this should be shared here: “Those of us who have kids or have kids around us, and asked who Whitney Houston was, WE need to tell them and educate them about her.” In other words, we the 80’s music fans, and some 90’s need to tell them about the talent she brought to us. No matter what, because these kids now are searching for knowledge and must have that information passed through so they will know. Hopefully. And even though that she was a star, but we also should never forget the lessons learned as well.

So to all of us: know this. Whitney Elizabeth Houston ran her race for 48 years. And her race has been done. Even though the race that she ran may not have been a good one, but she gave it her all. But now, we have our race to continue. Even after the passing of Don Cornelius and Etta James. And even through Black History Month 2012. They say that this year’s Black History Month celebrates women. Well, I think it can’t be more real with Whitney Houston in mind.

And by the way, what are my favorite tracks from Whitney Houston’s hits? Here are some that I thought I should share:

1) I Wanna Dance With Somebody

2) My Love Is Your Love

3) Fine

4) So Emotional

5) Heartbreak Hotel

6) Deck The Halls/Silent Night -from her Christmas album

7) Million Dollar Bill

8) Like I Never Left

9) I Look To You

10) If I Told You That

11) Call You Tonight

12) I Didn’t Know My Own Strength

13) Exhale

14) A Song For You

15) The Star Spangled Banner

16) I Will Always Love You – even thought it’s a Dolly Parton song, but equal with respect.

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