Volume Six, Chapter Seven: Epic Whitney, Part One
(Note: The 45th President of the United States is now in office. Neither he nor his alleged critics, who I’ll get to after this tribute and one other post, are going anywhere. Meanwhile…)
A still-record seven straight number-one singles. A huge movie with the best-selling soundtrack ever. And the artist with the most imitated rendition of the U.S. national anthem.
All these achievements took place less than a decade after a debut album, lauded even now as one of the best intro albums ever released.
For the first fifteen years of her career, Whitney Houston could do no wrong. After that, she could do no right. She was the last celebrity I deified.
By February 11, 2012, the only way to redeem her reputation left was her passing. As a fan, I was sad, and in a way relieved. And as a recovering addict, I was mad.
All the things that made Whitney iconic will be here: the music, The Bodyguard, the fashion, that initial pristine image.
That whole package, handcrafted by music mogul Clive Davis, was meant to be loved. It was, and still is.
Now, however, there is absolutely no chance at one more comeback, or one more live, epic performance of I Will Always Love You.
To my personal relief, there will be no more “Crack is Whack!” or “Hell to the naw!” meltdowns, either.
For all the epic songs, and the later epic hi-jinks with ex-husband Bobby Brown, however, there is one other epic Whitney moment I’ll sadly never get to see again…
The 2009 interview Whitney did with Oprah Winfrey was among the most real sh!t I have ever seen from a celebrity.
The often graphic details about her drug use, and the humor she could show about it in hindsight, was sad, honest, and refreshing all at once.
More importantly, she didn’t try to pretend that there would be some storybook ending for herself, or guarantee she would never slip up again.
In other words, the legendary Whitney Houston was willing to face her own mortality and humanity in front of a worldwide audience.
I loved her voice, and detested her all-too-public downfall. But after that interview, I respected the hell out of Whitney Houston as a person.
That public display of the person also broke me of constantly praising or shredding celebrities and politicians.
Nonstop adulation, excuses, and enabling, or continuous criticisms, are both extremes directed towards what are ultimately mere mortals.
Nonetheless, the entire public life of one Whitney Elizabeth Houston turned out to be an EPIC moral lesson.
Her life vividly shows the greatness a mere mortal can achieve, the tragic capacity for error, and the everyday struggle to live with both. Even if you’re Whitney Houston.
Next time, Part 2: “And as a recovering addict, I was mad”…