My parents are from the old-school. I’m talking they actually went out and bought records for the new albums that came out. My parents’ record collection is pretty astounding from Duke Ellington to The Ohio Players to Patti Labelle to Roger and Zapp. They still have all of the records which I think I’ll one day inherit to my husband’s anti-hoarding amusement.

I remember when I was a little girl, I was looking at one cover in particular. And I kept staring at it and staring at it and staring at it. It was this one:

I didn’t know who she was at the time. All I knew she was beautiful. I would soon found out who she was and was just amazed by how big of a voice can come out from someone so tiny. You see, back in my time (I’m so dating my age here), we didn’t have the Beyonces, the Katy Perrys, the Rhiannas, the Xtinas. We had Whitney. Celine and Mariah would come later but let’s face it, they both – while hugely talented in their own careers – are Whitney clones. Even Mariah and Celine will admit they were inspired by Whitney.

I think every little girl in the late 80s and early 90s wanted to be just like Whitney Houston. She was classy. She never cursed. She was, by all accounts, America’s princess. She had The Voice. My favorite song of hers at the time was “I’m Your Baby Tonight” which I still play often on my iPod. Of course, my favorite song of hers now is “Million Dollar Bill”, which often reminds me of my husband.

Despite Whitney’s struggles, she was the type of person you rooted for. Sure, she’s made some pretty famous missteps (“Oh hell to the nah!” and my personal favorite, “Crack is wack!”, not to mention an unflattering reality show she did with ex-husband, Bobby Brown) but behind the glitz and glamour, she was still a human being with demons she fought on a daily basis to overcome. Whitney once admitted in an interview several years ago that the ideal of being perfect all the time was too much to bear and she could no longer handle it.

She had been to rehab several times and by some accounts, she was on the way back on top with a movie coming out this summer. Those close to her can attest the last few hours of her life were happy moments; she was getting ready to appear at an event hosted by her longtime mentor, Clive Davis, and was pretty excited about it.

They always say the good die young and I believe there’s a lot of truth in that. I hope Whitney finally has the peace in Heaven she could not get on Earth. Can you imagine how awesome the Heavenly choir sounds like now? Just wow.

I leave this post with an amazing reblog of sorts by my good friend and awesome blogger, Rincewind, when he took over the Intoxication for a week last year. God bless you, Whitney. We’ll always love you.

Amazing Black Girls: Whitney

And there you have it,


3 thoughts on “Whitney!

  1. Chantale Reve says:

    Melikes your Whitney tribute. Short, sweet and respectful. I, too, cannot bear watching the TV blitz/blast on Whitney, so much of which is sugar-coated cynicism. Frankly, I am angry at how I learned about her death. All the relatives that interrupt my writing to talk all that ish could not pick up the phone Saturday night? But in the end I kick myself, for that’s what I get for tuning into BET to watch “35 and Ticking,” which of course, was pre-empted by a rebroadcast of Whitney’s last TV performance: with the Rev. Kim Burrell.

    I am still in a state of mourning over Whitney Houston, the person and the artist. Although, last night I broke out my 1976 Sparkle album by Aretha Franklin (R.I.P. Curtis Mayfield) and danced to “Jump” and “Hooked on Your Love.” As the chorus in the latter starts, “What can I do (umph) with this feeling?” Indeed. Hey, I believe in Second Line tradition: Grieve a li’l bit but then celebrate the decedent’s glorious passage into the next life until you are panting for your next breath.

  2. IzaakMak says:

    As it was when Michael Jackson died, I’ve had to turn off the news because there were just too people clamoring to have their say on Whitney Houston’s life and death – and I just don’t have the stomach to sort through them all.

    It’s so nice to read the thoughts of a trusted friend… Thanks Vera.

    • veraroberts says:

      You know it got to the point where I refuse to watch TV or even go goof around online. It reminded me way too much of the coverage with MJ. I also can’t stand the fake-ass celebrities coming out of the woodwork because she’s passed on.

      But I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I wanted to remember her in a way that wasn’t bashing her or some form of idolatry. She was human and had flaws like all of us. That’s what made her great.

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