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