It’s Not Right, But It’s OK
Published: Thursday, February 16, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
How will Whitney Houston be remembered?
The music industry was brought to a halt on Feb. 11, the eve of the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, when R&B pioneer and legend Whitney Houston was found dead in her Beverly Hills hotel room.
When the news initially broke via TMZ, social networking sites exploded with allegations. My Twitter feed showed reactions from the heartbroken to the haters. Radio personalities, rappers, singers, actors, and actresses alike all took to their Twitter accounts to pay their respects.
One reaction that stood out to me the most was Houston rapper Bun B. It read: "A lot of us are just now realizing how many of our memories are connected to Whitney's music. First love, first dance, first heartbreak, etc."
I had no idea how right he was.
The ugly reactions came after the commemorative ones. The tweets from people I refer to as "Twitter cynics" were downright disrespectful. The overwhelming theme of those tweets referenced her drug problem and failed marriage. The worst part was they were making a mockery of this woman's life based on demons she obviously couldn't control.
It's crazy what people will do for a retweet and obscure Internet fame. You can't put "Got 110+ retweets" on a résumé, moron.
Whitney definitely had her problems, but that doesn't give room for anybody to allow her faults to overshadow the mountains she moved with her presence in the music industry.
Before Whitney, the R&B world had a predominantly soulful sound with Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, and Anita Baker. These women had powerful voices and are legends in their own rights but what made Whitney such a star was her unorthodox look mixed with her colossal vocal range.
Whitney had no qualms relying on her talents to make her successful, but she also served as a pop-culture icon for black women, and eventually women of every ethnicity.
Whitney had that big hair, that bigger smile, and an even bigger voice that dominated the charts from the moment "Saving All My Love For You" was released in 1985. From then on Whitney only progressed.
It was in 1992, however, that Whitney released the song that would catapult her into superstardom. Whitney's rendition of Linda Ronstandt's "I Will Always Love You" is probably her most notable song. The song went multi-platinum a total of four times in the U.S., which is a number unheard of for musicians today.
Whitney is renowned as the inspiration and forerunner of the contemporary R&B phenomenon, along with artists like Janet Jackson. Today's pop and R&B divas like Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Rihanna, Christina Aguilera, and Mary J. Blige all credit Whitney Houston as a major influence in their careers.
This woman is immortalized as a flawless singer and yet, when she passed away, her life's worth was tainted by ignorance.
It doesn't make sense.
That woman found on Feb. 11 is the result of a world most of us don't know and would never want to know.
If you've never experienced that earth-shattering feeling when someone you love passes away, then you couldn't understand. That was a life that passed. A life that inspired more people into greatness than it did into ambiguity.
I wasn't ever a Whitney fanatic, but nobody, especially her, should be remembered that way.
I'll always love you, Whitney.
Thank you for "Heartbreak Hotel."