For Black Women: R.I.P. Whitney Houston

I did not know her personally. Yet, there’s so much hear-say that black folks like to pass along – gossipy nonsense – just so they could pretend they knew her. You know, a friend of a friend of a friend. I live in New Jersey. So, I’ve heard my share of crap.

Back in the day, pre-innernets, Bossip and TMZ, et al, I couldn’t read a black magazine or go to a hair salon without people talking about Ms Whitney. It was the same for Eddie Murphy, and a few other fresh faces of black super-stardom. That’s because there are neighborhoods in NJ where some wealthy (famous and non-famous) blacks clustered. I can recall people who saw her in person – shopping at a local store – and they spoke about not only how beautiful she was, but nice and graceous.

I grabbed this image from:

Acting Black / Acting White Dogma

The criticisms of her back when she was a rising star, collectively uttered from the Black Thought Police, had very little to do with her supposed attraction to roughneck DBR (damaged beyond repair) black males. It was actually the opposite: she was criticized for being extremely tight with her own crew of close-knit female friends, and being very accommodating – polite and very willing to mingle – with white people. Folks were also up-in-arms, because her music writers were white. I kid you not.

Black critics complained about Ms Whitney like they were frightened of her becoming – I dunno – white or something? The accusations were so bizarre and idiotic. I think they just hated the fact that she was classy, well spoken, and kept to her own little group. Yet, isn’t this the weird stigma that blacks who do well in school have to face? Being smart and well spoken is being white?

I recently had some chicks at my job ask me why I’m always well dressed. Digest the stupidity of that for a moment. You don’t need to ask if they’re black. πŸ™‚

Think of it this way: wasn’t the fear of her “escaping” somewhat similar to the grief black women get for thinking for themselves? You know, dating IR, leaving the neighborhood, getting a better job, finishing school, and living to the best of your ability? Do you think it’s an accident Tina Turner left the country? Or how Diana Ross ran from black folks? Isn’t Halle Berry running away too? These women have self-preservation utmost in their minds. They know that kowtowing to the Black Thought Police is detrimental.

The Hood Chick Fiction

I’ll be honest. I hate reading about people trying to make Ms Whitney into a rough neck girl or a hood-rat that hid it well from the public, because she grew up near or in Newark, NJ. Come on, now.

You ever watch Whitney during her early days when she was being interviewed by the mainstream media nationally and internationally? You cannot fake that kind of class. You cannot fake speaking that well unless you went to a good school and learned how. You ever watch some our illiterate, uneducated and gangsta wannabe athletes struggle to utter a coherent sentence? So, why are people trying to put Whitney down there with them? Come on, now.

How could she be hood, when her mother is Sissy Houston, a well-known R&B singer, a famous cousin that is Dionne Warwick, and a father that was in the music business long before she was born? Come on, now.

And don’t we always say we speak differently depending on the environment? There’s relaxed “I’m among friends” speech, and then there’s formal speech. Listen to Whitney sing: she could enunciate like nobody’s business. Try listening to Mary J. Blige and some of these girls who really are hood. Good luck figuring out what they are singing about. (And I like Mary J., so don’t get me wrong.)

Even if she was from a tough neighborhood, that doesn’t mean she wasn’t a sensitive, delicate, vulnerable and emotional woman. That’s the part that bothers me the most when people are dismissive of black girls or women who come from rough neighborhoods. They have feelings too. Just because they are better at masking it doesn’t mean they still don’t hurt. You think it’s easy to be dogged on a daily basis? That’s emotionally damaging, folks.

Anyone coming out of that environment untroubled is miraculous and highly improbable. The damage lingers for years, the scars cannot be seen, because they are the emotional kind.

An American Icon

She was one of the last true divas whose music I purchased. I cannot think of anyone who can hold a candle to that voice.

“I’ll Always Love You,” makes me cry every time I heard it.

You think any of these synthetic, Auto-Tune, overly-dramatic, yipping like a dog struck by a car, too cute to be for real, computer assisted chicks really know how to sing? Come on, now.

She blew the roof off with her rendition of the National Anthem. Now, look at how many twits cannot even remember the lyrics to give a decent performance singing it. They have no shame. They have no class. They show up for themselves. They aren’t there for the fans who made them rich. I cannot stand most of them.

What I loved about Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson is that they were old school in their professionalism. They showed up and gave 110% of themselves to their fans. I’ll give Madonna and Prince the same props – they’re performers who give it their all.

The music business keeps wondering why the sales of their music declines every year. It’s because they’re running out of real talent, here in the USA, that appeals to everyone. And passing restrictive Internet laws isn’t going to recoup those losses either.

I’ll miss you Ms Whitney Houston, because I was rooting for you to come back and blow everyone away again.


Kevin Costner Stays Mum About Their Relationship
He Will Speak at Her Funeral


Lessons In Synchronicity & Love: Kevin Costner On Whitney Houston – A fantastic post from Faith’s Blog. Check it out.

Had no idea they were friends....



55 Replies to “For Black Women: R.I.P. Whitney Houston”

  1. “You cannot fake that kind of class.” I agree with you wholeheartedly. She may have come from the hood, but she definitely improved herself. Just wish she had married better. Her legacy is that she was a crossover hit machine, with “the voice”.

    I was praying that she would make a comeback, so this hit me hard. It’s funny that so far out of all the celebs who have passed, I’ve only cried for Whitney and Aliyah. RIP Girl!

    GoldenAh: That marriage was Exhibit A, Marry Well or Marry Hell. A good marriage improves you, uplifts you and makes you happy. And I know it’s not a utopian fantasy if it’s a good thing. A really bad marriage can … well, I’ll let Ms Whitney’s lost decade(s) speak for itself. It’s all about the company we keep.

    And yet, I still see black women crawling out of the woodwork to make it seem like who you marry doesn’t matter. I think a lot of us truly believe we are the “man” in the relationship. She’s the boss. The male spouse has so much influence over his woman it’s not funny. This is so elementary. There have been studies done: men pull the women in their direction, even affecting her IQ – he can drag it down!, not the other way around. And black women, who are female too, are not an exception to this reality. Some of us are dangerously delusional when it comes to male-female relationships.

    I’m still angry at her passing, maybe eventually I’ll be ready to cry.

    Thanks for your thoughts on this, Patricia.

  2. “I’ll be honest. I hate reading about people trying to make Ms Whitney into a rough neck girl or a hood-rat that hid it well from the public, because she grew up near or in Newark, NJ. Come on, now.

    You ever watch Whitney during her early days when she was being interviewed by the mainstream media nationally and internationally? You cannot fake that kind of class. You cannot fake speaking that well unless you went to a good school and learned how. You ever watch some our illiterate, uneducated and gangsta wannabe athletes struggle to utter a coherent sentence? So, why are people trying to put Whitney down there with them? Come on, now.”

    Thank you for saying this!!! That nonsense has really ticked me off. I didn’t know if people were lying or if it really was true. THIS JUST GOES TO SHOW YOU THE LENGTHS BLACK MEN AND THEIR BLACK WOMEN DOORMATS WILL GO TO CODDLE DBR BLACK MEN. Even in her death, they still want to lay all the blame on her as if Beatdown Brown(Bobby not Chris) had nothing to do with the hell she was clearly going through. Any idiot can look at the videos and images of her before and after her marriage to Beatdown Brown and see the toll that marriage took on her and her career.

    I am so grateful that you, Evia, Gina, and everyone else with common sense is drilling it into our heads that WHO YOU MATE WITH WILL DETERMINE YOUR FATE. I’m already getting messages on tumblr from damaged bw who want to play dumb or act offended that I’m warning bw of what can happen if we don’t make the right choices. It is very scary how many bw refuse to open their eyes and face reality.

    People think it’s over now that Whitney’s gone…NOPE. These mistakes last for generations. What the hell is going to happen to their daughter? What….Bobby is going to raise her now??? Ha. It seems to me she is surrounded by enablers and damaged people. My prayers go out to the safety of their daughter and that someone responsible will look after her.

    As if things couldn’t get any worse, Beatdown Brown (Chris not Bobby) is scheduled to perform at the Grammy’s. It makes my stomach hurt. The beating incident between Chris and Rihanna is not that far off from the destructive relationship Bobby and Whitney had. Let’s hope Rihanna (there are reports she has had contact w/ him) gets the help she needs before its too late.

    GoldenAh: It’s a predictable horror movie. You keep screaming, “Don’t open that door!” And what do they do? They open that door. Even as they know there is a horde of drooling, hungry, brain eating zombies on the other side.

    I am so through with these folks. There must be some kind of parasite that’s infecting their brains. πŸ˜€

    Thanks for the excellent input, Bwlivingwell.

  3. I’m “hood” and I can speak in complete sentences and enunciate properly. Contrary to what you think everyone in the “hood” is not some broke gutter snipe. There are many working class and middle class people in inner city neighborhoods who struggle mightily to send their kids to private and Catholic schools. Their children grow up well educated despite where they come from.

    And as for the music business, everyone knows that it has a history of devaluing Black artists. They didn’t get paid what they’re worth. So, it is entirely possible that two parents in the music business would be living in a middle income neighborhood. For instance, Mary J. Bilge’s father was a jazz musician, and even when he was with the family, they were living in the projects in Yonkers. The same with NAS. He grew up in Queensbridge, even though his dad is Olu Dara, the horn player.

    What I’m saying is, people can’t be judged by their zip code.

    GoldenAh: I am a NYC girl. So, don’t try and lecture to me about what I’ve seen, what I know, and who I know.

    I’m deliberately defining hood rats, ghetto and other kinds of rough necks for people who think that the “keeping it real” personae defines blackness. In my view, it’s toxic garbage that limits black people.

    Hey, if you wanna embrace “hood” then live with the consequences without complaint. It’s not a positive tag around here or anywhere else in the real world. So, if you want to be offended: knock yourself out.

    I like Mary J., but she’s a hood rat. She acts it, sounds it, didn’t finish school, and cannot mold herself into anything different. I admire that she continues to work on her self-esteem. She admits that she struggles with “issues”. Wherever she grew up scarred her emotionally. So, let’s not play cute here. Also, NAS is a knucklehead and a classless, base misogynist. And he’s nowhere as deep or intelligent as his fans want to believe he is.

    The distinction I’m making here is that some black people love “acting black”, which is substandard, uncivilized, ignorant and degenerate behavior, as though that is synonymous with being black. We’re human beings, not mentally impaired caricatures who continually need to act out for the entertainment of others. Being hood or ghetto is not something anyone with any sense strives for. So, you’re not getting any apologies from me on this topic.

    A lot of us who grew up in urban environments, such as myself, avoided the hood rats. Frankly, I’m very scornful of them and I make no bones about it. I hated anybody who’d try and persecute me for achieving high grades, dressing well, speaking well, pursuing “non-black” activities, and outlining goals to live the kind of life I want. I have no patience for any piece of garbage trying to dictate to me what “black” is.

    I’m not complimenting or condemning anybody based on their zip code. I’m certainly not playing that game here.

    Thanks for stopping by, Denise.

  4. Wow. I love this post. I never really thought about why Tina Turner left the US. Could be she was running from the Thought Police.

    About this whole marrying down thing. I wonder why so many bf celebrities marry down or not at all? (BY marrying down I don’t mean strictly financially, I mean even in terms of class and decent, mature behavior.)

    I find it really strange. I mean Vivica Fox dated 50 Cent. How now?

    GoldenAh: I can imagine that in all the years that Ike was knocking Tina’s head in, all the black folks around them said nothing, suggested it was her fault, and probably counseled her to stay with him. It literally took a change of religion, and her introduction to a different social circle, for her to decide to escape the clutches (mindset) of the people around her.

    By default, black people are so misogynist, whether a man is killing us quickly or slowly, we will be asked what we did to make the man upset enough to raise his hand towards us. ‘Cause it’s our fault for getting beat – no matter what. You cannot find people more twisted than this.

    Tina left America to save her life. She knew the deal; she’s still in Switzerland. My tour bus went past her house. πŸ™‚

    I cannot even wrap my mind about Vivica and 50 Cent. I mean, really?

    I’m not even sure what black women are telling themselves anymore when it comes to certain kinds of black males. Maybe it’s the parasite in their brain at work. Beats me. πŸ˜€

    Thank you for your comments, Belleafrique.

  5. Ah my head and heart hurts but dang it if this train wreck existence wasn’t going to come to it’s logical conclusion. I had a Pt 3 to my “Beat Her Down Brown” series but I was so tired of writing about atrocities. I felt conflicted about MJ because of his purchased white kids and inappropriate actions, but Whitney is different. And what’s scary is BW who aren’t famous are killing themselves every day over mess like this. Also, I remember the lesbian rumors about her and BFF Robin. It would have ruined her career to come out if that was true. We see how homophobic and enabling the black masses are. So if she was seeking “black” approval she certainly overextended herself to get it. She wrecked her voice and died before her time.

    GoldenAh: It does hurt. And I’m angry. You just hope they’ll find a way forward. Who likes being a pessimist and saying things wont get better for people? I’m always hoping they do well.

    I felt her marriage to BB was a 180 from where she was heading. That’s why I don’t buy any of that “she was always that way” wishful thinking. She got squeezed down into a box so the ignorant black masses could feel good about themselves. And I remember how much pain these people caused her about her friend Robin. It’s okay for black male entertainers to run around with their all male entourage 24/7 (even in the same hotel rooms!!), but heaven forbid a black woman has her own group of friends.

    You got me thinking about how cowed black women entertainers can be if they don’t “fit the script”. They watch their tongues, they watch how they dress, they watch who they hang around with, and seem to limit themselves to a small pool of useless, damaging people. And they know never ever to say nary a word about how the black male run media industry treats them so horribly.

    On the other hand, we got these black male entertainers literally insulting, abusing, and beating! black women on a daily basis. When these black males aren’t dogging us, they’re attempting it with other people(s), only to get spanked for trying that mess, because those groups will not tolerate any disrespect. But with us, when the abuse and insults fly, we get shrunken-headed parasite afflicted black women who will line up front and center to defend these guys. My favorite excuse will always be: “It’s not that serious.” It’s serious enough to get these BM fired, reprimanded or suspended when they issue milder insults to other groups though.

    We can only hope somewhere out there a few black women will connect the dots from some of these true-life cautionary tales.

    Thanks for the feedback, Faith. πŸ™‚

  6. It sounds about right that Tina Turner left to save her life. I’m so happy that at least Tina gets to live a nice, peaceful and quiet life – hopefully until she is VERY old.

    It is so sad that Whitney didn’t get to enjoy that πŸ™

    GoldenAh: I totally agree, Belleafrique.

  7. Yes, yes, yes.

    After the initial shock my thoughts were “Lord what about Bobby Christina”? Her father is a fool with a capital F! God bless the child…

    “You cannot fake speaking that well unless you went to a good school and learned how.”

    I also was disturbed by the “hood” comments. I can compare her interviews/films to say an entertainer whose name starts with B (no stan attacks please). I can tell which between the two is a little more than functionally literate.

    Her life was pretty much derailed by that no good, triffling, sob of a husband – if you can call him that. I feel like she was being stubborn- like “I am going to make this work no matter what” – as if the failure of her marriage reflected on her in some way. When she was dealing with damaged goods to begin with.

    Denise. I am working class as well. Hood is not a term to claim.

    GoldenAh: You know, I’ve never heard, umm, Ms B speak in an interview. πŸ˜€ I’ve watched her in one movie, but I never considered whether that was her or the character she portrayed.

    You make a good point about Whitney stubbornly trying to keep that marriage alive. I think she knew that any failure would be cast as her fault. When she married him, that captivating and glowing Whitney gradually faded away. And then the rough edges appeared. But it wasn’t ’cause it was always there. The wrong man can take any lovely woman and wear down her beauty.

    I agree with you, Oshun, imagine all the energy she spent in trying to make that marriage work. People forget that BB went bankrupt. He was totally broke. Her estate or corporation bought out his foreclosed properties. She also had to deal with all those babies he had out of wedlock. She was the one that ended up feeding them for him. What woman deserved that kind of misery?

    See, I know all those black women out there running to make excuses for BB forget what a totally damaged and dysfunctional creature he is. But then again, they probably think it’s not a big deal to be with a black male so screwed up.

    I really do hope there is a supportive adult for Bobby Christina.

    Thanks for the great insights, Oshun. πŸ™‚

  8. “I recently had some chicks at my job ask me why I’m always well dressed. Digest the stupidity of that for a moment. You don’t need to ask if they’re black.”

    I did πŸ™‚ Only because I’ve had non-black people ask me that. Not just because I work in a more casual environment but also because people make assumptions about who we are based on what they see and want to keep us in a certain box.

    GoldenAh: You got me. I’ve been given the 3rd degree over a car I bought many years ago. (Ten years and it’s still running.) Back then, I wanted to tell people I robbed a bank to get it, because the questions regarding how I could afford it were so ridiculous.

    We’re stepping out of that box, Zabeth. These folks better recognize. πŸ˜€

  9. Thanks for sharing your perspective, Goldenah. Profound and incisive post.

    Like you and others, I also recall the rumors of “Well, she was always like that” when she married Bobby Brown.

    I read a story on Yahoo! that Bobbi Christina was also checked into the hospital for unspecified medical reasons. I just hope she’s okay, though I can imagine her pain at losing a parent so young. I was 22 when my father passed away, a few years older than she, and it hurts. A lot. My sympathies to Whitney’s family. Her music had such an impact on me – and really…has there been another artist like Whitney? I remember when Mariah first hit the scene, and she was compared to Whitney. And while I cannot deny Mariah is talented, Whitney has always been my preference. Something about the richness of her voice…she will be greatly missed. I sincerely hoped that her divorce would breathe new life into her. Even as a young girl, I recall being disappointed by her marriage to Bobby Brown. Even my country, working class self thought she deserved better. Who you marry does indeed matter.

    As I mentioned on WOAD, I don’t know if Whitney could have made a comeback – I think her distinctive voice was damaged (though she STILL could outsing many popular voices today), and the music industry has evolved into something else entirely today. BUT, she still had so many years of music ahead of her. It’s a damn waste. I’m glad that you mentioned Tina Turner – Tina survived her hell of a marriage, and come out the other side stronger, but she also got the hell outta Dodge. I only wish Whitney could have done that as well.

    RIP, Whitney.

    @Oshun – I hear you about B. You read my mind. Hearing her speak in interviews is like nails on a chalkboard. All of that money, all of these years spent in entertainment, and no improvement in elocution?

    Even if she was from a tough neighborhood, that doesn’t mean she wasn’t a sensitive, delicate, vulnerable and emotional woman. That’s the part that bothers me the most when people are dismissive of black girls or women who come from rough neighborhoods.

    I’m grateful that you mentioned this, though I completely co-sign that yes, Mary J. Blige is HOOD. Admittedly, I was harshly critical once upon a time, but then I remembered: several of the behaviors that many black girls and women are reamed for applied to me once upon a time. And I managed to change and evolve (pre-blogosphere). People who get to know me are usually surprised to know that I come from a family of working class parents, neither of whom graduated from high school, and were dirt poor until they married. I didn’t grow up in the hood, per se, but close enough to it and spent time around those kids that I exhibited similar behavior. But really – it was all a front – I was bookish, sensitive, and dreamed of traveling the world, doing things beyond my neighborhood. I just acted that way to keep other kids from bullying me (didn’t always work, mind you).

    In my mind, there will always be the “keeping it real” crew. But there has ALWAYS been that crew, in some form, from the day our ancestors stepped foot in what we know as the USA. This is why I am leery of waxing nostalgic about black people of the past – not everyone was enlightened, empowered, and concerned with uplift. PLENTY of blacks were ridiculous during slavery, Post Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights movement. But there was no social media back then to put these people on blast. People could be selective in how history was presented, written, and preserved.

    Anyway, we can’t change the circumstances of our birth and the way we were raised. But for those of us not privileged enough to be born outside of the South, into the middle (or higher) class, to educated and/or 1st generation American parents, to parents who reared their children to become global citizens, etc – there is still a life of quality to be had, if you seek it.

    GoldenAh: My words will be inadequate, but I am sorry to hear about the loss of your father. I understand that pain like that never really goes away, esp. losing a parent at such a young age.

    It’s going to be extremely tough for Bobbi, because she’s going to be scrutinized, stalked, and talked about constantly in this 24/7 internet age. So yeah, I hope the best for her.

    I love to read, chill and be quiet for long periods of time. And I know like many of the ladies here, we all share similarities in background, education, goals, etc. on these blogs. That’s why I love our conversations here. It’s not about where we start, it’s where we’re going and how we make the best of the ride. Or something like that. πŸ™‚

    Great comments, Daphne, as always, it’s a pleasure hearing from you. πŸ˜€

  10. Youre RIGHT—when girls try to go with the bad boys, the drunks and druggies, THEY will go down. not necessarily the man;My sis in law never drank much liquor until she married a drunk; he told her to drink and be the ‘life of the party’ he got off liquor and she died of alcoholism–Whitney reminded me of her– bobby got free of drugs but couldnt do it for Whitney–it’s too bad she got with bobby brown since he made kids before being with her and hes making babies AFTER HER. He even got a 3 yo son by another girl–i hope some men get ahold of him and tell him the ‘facts of life’ that he makes good men of all colors, bad

    GoldenAh: Wow. Sorry to hear about your sister-in-law. What you’re sharing is a powerful testimony to what happens in these kind of relationships. Slightly off topic, I honestly believe that the metabolism of some men can handle drugs / alcohol better than women. It’s more damaging to us long term than them.

    Ozzie Ozbourne has said he doesn’t understand why he’s still alive, but it turns out that something in his DNA processes drugs and alcohol differently.

    I couldn’t remember if BB had a child with another woman while he was Whitney, but that was another lash of pain to add to the others.

    Thank you very much for your input, Zipporah. πŸ™‚

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