Dear America and the world:

Today was the home-going service of Whitney Houston. I can’t believe I’m actually saying “Home-going Service” with Whitney Houston in the same sentence. All this week, I like everyone else paided attention to the tributes, music, videos, moments, and anything that had Whitney Houston all over it. I am still stunned and have a surreal feeling that she’s no longer around to entertain us. We know the reasons. No need to say it. I know for a fact that somewhere in the middle of all of this, it’s going to be a treacherous road to recover. Fact of the matter is, it will be tough. Now your probably saying “yeah, I know. I’m feeling the same way, and I never met the chick”. I mean what I’m saying is, every time I listen to a Whitney Houston song, that is how I was introduced to her. The same with Michael Jackson, and countless others.

Morely, I think the focus of the family will be thought of one person the most: Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown. The young 18 year old will have face and ask herself, what now? Many of us who lost close relatives know what that feels like. 10 years ago, I lost one of my younger cousins to violence. That hit my family hard. Another was in 2010. And if anyone knows about my family that mostly, that my father’s side gathers, if there is a funeral. Strange as it sounds, it is. But most of us who are living are trying to change it to a point that it doesn’t have to be like this, all the time.

Having said that, I like everyone else today, just watched Whitney Houston’s Service of Homegoing. Now for those who don’t know what a homegoing is, take notes. A homegoing service or homegoing is defined as this from the “The funeral of someone loved by family and friends. Not wanting to call the service a funeral, homegoing to be with God.” So for all of you curious what it is, now you know. When Dick Gregory spoke at Coretta Scott King’s funeral back around 2006, he talked about the variations of a “homecoming” and a “homegoing”. He said a homecoming in reference to being born, you come into the world, through a small door. But when a homegoing service comes, the body, along with the casket, pallbearers and all, takes you through the big doors after the funeral services are completed. Henceforth, a homegoing. Or going home. Very common in black churches, by the way.

Looking at the funeral or the Memorial Service, it was all surreal about Whitney Houston. That’s what it was. From her stories of being “crazy Whitney”, generous, given a chance to act with Kevin Costner, her singing, but most of all: having her love for the Almighty. From her start in the church, the same church in which gave her gift of singing, was also the same site of her celebration. I am also surprised that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie ordered the flags at half-staff in recognition of the singer. Now those are probably in the state are probably mad all because it was supposed to be in recognition of the those passed on in battle, or in law enforcement. After looking at that, I’ll bet, (and I’ll be the first to say it here) I’ll bet that other states and cities would lower the flags at half-mast in recognition of citizens who were born in a city or state since birth, would get the same. I’ll predict that will happen somehow. Let’s say for instance if a well-known person from Milwaukee, WI passes on. And had been recognized. The mayor could make the city flags to the half mast settings for that person. Or if the governor decides to put the state flags in the same predicament.

When I was in college, I used to have a teacher that used to say, “You’re not going to remember everything”. I’m like what is he talking  about? Really. But he also concluded, “As long if you learned something.” He pointed his finger towards his forehead in a thinking sense. (ala Malcolm X) I hope those of us, who took the time to view the service, have to ask themselves “have I learned something today”? I mean have I really learned what Pastor Marvin Winans had to say? Did I learned what Tyler Perry commented about Whitney’s love for religion after he was credited for sending a private plane to California to bring the body of Whitney to her native New Jersey? Did I learned about what Kevin Costner commented about Whitney being good enough?  Did I learned something about what Bishop T.D. Jakes commented about death can not win, and having God to love? Did I learned anything at all today, even when the pallbearers hoisted Whitney Houston’s chrome casket while the song she caught attention the most during the 90’s “I Will Always Love You?” Towards the end of that, I had no words to comment. In sense of having a loss for words. And to add, alot who were watching the homegoing, probably were jotting down the songs from the service to be useful for their own planning.

Today was a day of learning! There were some references about Whitney Houston I learned. And things that I already know. Plus also references about her that I didn’t know, such as being real in helping folks. Being real about her love for religion. Being real about having Bobbi Kristina as a motivational element in her times of questioning, and advice. Plus struggles. And most of all, Whitney Houston was and is a REAL performer with class. And even though that she had her dilemmas of looking for ways out of her addictions and having her and Kelly Price to sing “Jesus Loves Me” days before her death, Whitney was cool. There might be some haters in which those who are going to comment that “why can’t our military have that in what Whitney had during her homegoing service?” And having to say that it’s a slap in the face? Is that right? The last music superstar that had a homegoing service so huge and did serve……Elvis. So I think those who front on what Whitney had, what Michael had, and other stars had for their last blast of appreciation, need to relax. When we have our last legs, will those will really care to come out? Will our cities and states have the flags lowered? A day off to reflect on us of what we did in all? That’s needs to ponder.

As a fan of Whitney Houston’s music, and a music fan of rediscovering music, I was glad to show some respect today. I didn’t went to any of her concerts, but I watched them on TV. I own three of her music in my collection ranging from the Star Spangled Banner, to her Christmas Album, and her 2009 album.  But as far as artists of color, or any artist that are a favorite, I made a vow to go to their concerts whenever they appear. Simply because, I just want to have that extra memory to last with me for life to say that yeah, I was there!

So to end this, I have to paraphrase what Senator Edward Kennedy once said, at his brother’s funeral for Robert F. Kennedy:  “Love is not an easy feeling to put into words. Nor is loyalty, or trust, or joy. But he was all of these. He loved life completely and he lived it intensely”. In this case for Whitney Houston, I think she was all of those as well. So I as point and look to the heavens, I can say this:

“Whitney, you have rocked this nation. You have rocked this globe. Your God-Given talent was your instrument to instruct, teach, dance, love, respect, and most of all, having an inspiration to make the world a better place. You have won your race. Even though you struggled, and having hard times to express it, and there maybe times we didn’t understand your pain, those of us who stood by you and rooted for you to rise again NEVER STOPPED BELIEVING! Whitney you did your thing. And even though you are in a different realm where no one can’t judge you, you are still a great motivator of faith. That alone, will never stop. And never die. We will continue to play your music, your movies,  your words of advice, and talk about the times that you made us want to dance and sing. Laugh, comfort, stand up, and most of all, love.

Whitney Elizabeth Houston- Thank you for the lessons. And even though you’re not around, and your family’s heart has been wounded, your spirit will continue to  be a beacon of freedom, and never EVER will be extinguished!”

So it is written. So it shall be done. Continue to celebrate, always.


Stephen’s Spot – live from Milwaukee, WI.


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