We are deeply saddened by the loss of Whitney Houston, one of the greatest singing talents our world will ever know. She was simply one of the best. Her voice, her music, our shining Black princess on the cover of that iconic first album; before it went wrong, everything was so right about Whitney.
So it hurts when, without warning, someone who was able to touch us so deeply disappears, never able to create any of those new, cherished moments again. It hurts. A lot.
But we know in our hearts her voice will live on. Her power. Whitney was a superstar who deserved it all, because we wanted it all, and she had it all to give. Whitney Houston, and the joy she created when she sang, will stay with us as long as we need her to. The magic of true God-given talents always does. For that, we tell her thank you.
But, we also know that in the life of Whitney Houston there was warning. I last saw her on the stage of her comeback performance. I Look To You was done. Clive Davis, her mentor, was proud in the way only fathers can be. And the power ballad everyone knew she must have to make any comeback of a woman who's top 10 list of career classics, note-for-note, was better than anyone else's on Earth, was triumphant. A star re-born. But there was also a new truth in that room. A truth so many would only whisper about then, but talk loudly about after.
Lost touch with my soul / I had nowhere to turn / I had nowhere to go
So when the grief ends and the celebration begins, a celebration of music and song and unparalleled achievement, let us all be mindful of the truths about life's challenges. Sometimes there are things that not talent or money or fame can ever make well.
Two days prior to her passing, HelloBeautiful.com, our website dedicated to creating an empowering and uplifting space for Black women, showed concern for their favorite sister asking, "Is Whitney Houston Trying To Kill Herself?" Prophetic words you wish you could either take back, or do more about. Neither is an option now.
See, all too often a hero's red flag is found too late, trapped behind the masquerade of public life, and more often than that, a response comes too slow. Michael Jackson. Amy Winehouse. Don Cornelius. Their pain was in plain view for us all to see. It was in their face, in their lyrics, in the descent of their talents. Did we do enough?
In the wake of Whitney Houston's death, let's make that more than a rhetorical question. Did we do enough?
Perhaps the best way to honor the memory of an artist we will never forget is to choose to do that little bit more for someone in our lives who needs our help. Take a call, heed a warning, make a sacrifice. Return the gift of joy by acting more and watching less when the struggles come. In so doing, perhaps a change can be made, a path altered, a life saved. For a woman who blessed us all, let that be the greatest love of all...