Saturday, October 08, 2011

Listening to Whitney Houston On My Way Home This Evening

On my way home this evening, Whitney Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You" came on the radio and took me aback a bit as I listened to the clear, crisp, and magnificent voice that delivered each powerful note of the song. It was Whitney at her best. and it started me to thinking about Ms. Houston, her remarkable talent, and her gold-dusted career that has seen such highs and such lows as she could once reach with that magnificent range of hers. Undoubtedly, Whitney Houston is the best female vocalist of her generation. No one could even compete with her vocal range, her vocal mastery, And she still holds court as one of the best-selling female recording artists of all time.

When Whitney started out in the early eighties, following her brief, Afrocentric moment at her debut when on the

cover of the album she sported a fade, Clive Davis and the rest of her team worked hard to produce the Whitney magic and introduced her onto the pop scene as the quintessential Black Barbie doll. Oh, she wanted to dance with somebody.... and her outfit was replete with big hair and leggings that read very middle class and feminine. The consuming public LOVED it and in no time she had carved her niche inside the music industry and was accepted as a pop princess holding her own against the likes of Madonna and even finding herself on MTV, one of the few Black artists who did at the time. For more than a decade after that, Whitney was THE most prominent Black female singer in the world. Her superstar status was cemented in 1992 with The Bodyguard. The film, crafted personally for her out of a 1970s chucked vehicle for Diana Ross and Steve McQueen, cemented her reputation as a movie star, shelling in over $400 million dollars at the box office, making it one of the most successful films of the time. The soundtrack coinciding with the film, also called The Bodygaurd, debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 setting a record at fourteen weeks in that position and went seventeen times platinum, landing it as the best selling soundtrack of all time.

There is something to be said about girls, and particularly about Black girls, from good, middle class homes who are always fixated with thugs/bad boys/ and generally unwholesome and unsavory figures. Although Whitney had been using drugs ever since the beginning of her career probably, her downfall started when she met and married Bobby Brown. I, for one, believe everything she told Oprah. She was totally committed to Bobby(good girl syndrome-trained well by her mama) and subsequently they spent a lot of days in bed snorting and shooting and watching TV. Although, though this explains her loss of control over her career( didn't mama at one point take over her finances with a court order ala Natalie Cole?) , by no means does this account for her loss of voice. I, for one, was quite befuddled over the entire brouhaha about Whitney's losing her voice. Everyone was speculating--drugs, Bobby, stress, etc, etc.. I think not. I think more it runs in the genes....It seemed no one remembered it wasnt that long ago people were yelling "Hey Dionne, sit down and shut up, please!" I wasn't surprised at all. Fortunately for Whitney, her legacy is already set....I just hope she can spare herself more embarrassing moments and that, if all she can find is the thug or the bad boy type, that she chooses to remain single for the rest of her .life.

1 comment:

Wise Senator (I-OH) said...

Good read. I have been in love with Whitney Houston since I was a little boy (she was a childhood crush)...she can do no wrong in my opinion. I pray that she can overcome her substance abuse issues and continue to make great (albeit more subdued) music.