Now that I had a week to comprehend the sudden death of Whitney Houston, I finally had some time to reflect on her illustrious career and the devastating impact of her consequences.
Last week, I was working on my radio station playlist when a New York Times notice ran on my iPad screen, “R&B Singer Whitney Houston Dead at 48”. Looking at the bulletin, I didn’t cry. In fact, I wasn’t surprised at all.
I foretold her fate sometime ago after seeing her life played out through the cameras on reality TV. Her marriage to Bobby Brown was tumultuous, filled with alcohol, drugs and a loveless devotion to each other. Being pulled from one side to the other, with every one wanting a piece of you, the stress of the relationship and the constant quest to be at your best each and every night was enough to kill a perfectly healthy person.
Her mother, Cissy Houston originally didn’t want her daughter to get into singing professionally because she knew of the dangers of what the music business could bring. Cissy’s niece was Dee Dee Warwick. Though not as successful as her sister, pop singing great Dionne Warwick, Dee Dee struggled with drug addiction during her music career. She died in 2008.
At Whitney’s funeral yesterday, the 78 year old gospel singing legend wrote a touching letter to her daughter saying, she knew she had her for a short time. “I never told you that when you were born, the Holy Spirit told me that you would not be with me long…and I thank God for the beautiful flower he allowed me to raise and cherish for 48 years. Rest, my baby girl, in peace,” the letter ends, signed “mommie.”
In Whitney’s case, her Christian upbringing should have been enough to keep her from harm’s way. Instead, it only compounded her heartbreaking fall from grace. Like a impending car crash, we can only look away and hear the sound of the impact, knowing there was little we could do to stop her destruction. We can only learn from her mistakes and pray we don’t follow in her footsteps.
Rest easy, ‘Nippy’. You’re home safe and sound.