I was asked today, in light of the very public memorial of Whitney Houston, what my thoughts were regarding the “media circus” that became a part of the memorializing this week. And also, how Whitney’s struggles of late had factored into her last years.
The conversation was polite, but seemed to question ‘why celebrate someone so publicly who had stumbled so long ago?’
I was glad I was asked because I haven’t spoken much about Whitney’s passing. The day it happened caught be sideways and I was a bit surprised at how emotional I was.
I was a big fan of Whitney Houston’s talent all the way back to the beginning of her spectacular career. I would sit with my friend Matt Zarley and thrill when she’d sing in public or on TV.
And I was touched that immediately after the attack of 9/11, Whitney re-released her 1991 rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” with proceeds going to the New York Firefighters 9/11 Disaster Relief Fund and the New York Fraternal Order of Police, both benefiting the departments and families affected by the attack at the World Trade Center.
Yes, I admired her incredible talent. So when I am asked what I think of all this – this is my answer:
When someone has touched so many, many lives – especially with music which is so personal to us all – we feel connected. We feel they are a part of us. Now a part of us is gone. And we feel the need to grieve and say goodbye.
Fortunately, we have Whitney’s music and films to remind us of how brightly she shined.
A few comments have been made in the media and on the internet that, of late, “she wasn’t what she had been” and “she let drugs do her in.”
I honestly don’t know any true details about the struggles we’ve all read about.
But I do know this: I would hate to be judged at the end of my life purely by my darkest days and worst decisions. No one is perfect. I’ve made many mistakes – more than I can count. I’ve also tried to do some good things as often as possible.
I think that’s probably Whitney Houston’s story too.
And in being who she was, she was perfectly human. And her humanity was a big part of her incredible gifts.
The video above is how I will always love her. And I think the lyrics say it best:
“You’re a winner for a lifetime, if you seize that one moment in time.”
We were touched by Whitney for more than just a “moment” in time. And for that, she will feel eternity.