On Saturday afternoon a text appeared on my cell phone that read, "Whitney Houston died. Wtf?" I assumed it was some stupid rumor. After the recent tragic death of the legendary Don Cornelius the Twitterverse had declared Eddie Murphy to be pushing up daisies. That prompted me to tweet RIP Eddie Murphy -- We must really all look alike to white people when Don Cornelius dies and they think he's Eddie Murphy.
Fortunately, Mr. Murphy is still with us. Unfortunately, Whitney is not.
I only met Whitney Houston once. It was several years ago after the Oscars at the Vanity Fair party. She walked up to me and said, "I love your work and you're cute. Let's dance." And we did. She had an amazing smile. We shared some drinks and laughs. Bobby greeted me with a hug and we all had a fun night. I have always remembered that night. Hollywood didn't feel like Hollywood that evening. It was a special moment for me. Important, even. That woman set a benchmark for how you treat people. Like everyone else, I've heard a lot of crazy stories about Whitney. I saw the reality show with her ex, Bobby. I don't know if that was an act. I do know that the Whitney Houston I met treated me with nothing but warmth and affection.
I watched Bobby snuggled up to Whitney. They kissed the way couples in love do. That was my cue. I smiled and said goodbye as I'm sure many others have. I turned to Whitney and said in a total dead pan voice:
If I could stay. I would only be in your way.
So I'll go, but I know
I'll think of you ev'ry step of the way.
She and Bobby were staring at me trying to figure out the hell I was saying. I continued:
And I will always remember you.
I will always remember you.
You, and Bobby too.
That is all I'm taking with me.
So, goodbye. Please, don't cry.
She burst out laughing, realizing I was saying the lyrics to her hit song "I Will Always Love You," written by Dolly Parton.
We both know I'm bout to go,
I hope life treats you kind
And I hope you have all you've dreamed of.
And I wish to you, joy and happiness.
But above all this, I wish you both good night.
It was corny. It was dumb. But it was really fun. Whitney, I really will miss you. Thanks for that evening and all the others where the sound of your voice healed my ailing heart. I truly will always love you.
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