I am tucked away at the corner right opposite the Graduate Writing and Research Center. This where you come to get help with assignments. The culture shock that I faced when a professor asked that we adhere to the APA style of writing , six years after after my undergraduate, is reminiscent of a nervous breakdown. The center also has great snacks. As I type this I am seconds shy of walking in there to borrow some snacks but I worry it might lead to endless banter.
I am wearing a white top collar neck sweater over a yellow crop top that has since come a bralette. The late 20s humble your waist very quickly. I am cranking away on my laptop for a paper that is due tomorrow at 3pm. This assignment carries five points which my brain refuses to hear and continues to write a paper as though we are in the gunning for my entire grade.
Over my ears are black headphones that I got from Amazon for $14, a steal. Whitney Houston is dancing in my ears to How Will I Know. I have sang this song when in the pits of emotional distress. Before this it was I Look To You which tears me up all the time. It feels like eavesdropping a prayer to God. One which she desperately made in the height of isolation and loss of self.
I never met her personally and only got to know her through interviews and documentaries. Whitney comes off as someone who cared for those around her and the need for acceptance tuned her gullible. There is something to say about growing up in a sheltered home. Cissy Houston does not seem like a woman you want to mess with. Like every christian parent who wants to protect her child, she took Whitney to church but her talent burst through the doors of glory to Hollywood.
The first time I encountered whitney was through a JVC radio that my mother kept in our bedroom. She would play Classic 105 all through the night. I secretly think that my mother was trying to quiet the madness of her late 20’s and a rambunctious child. Whitney in my eyes was the source of comfort.
Every Christmas holiday I try to keep the tradition of watching the The Preacher’s Wife and The Bodyguard. The scene in the music video where whitney sits in the chair dunked into snow and she belts out the infamous notes of I Will Always Love You is iconic. In the movie, it is just before there is an attempt on Fletcher’s (her nephew) life but Frank (Kevin Costner) saves the day. Listen,I will buy a lifetime access to The Bodyguard just to see Frank make that run again. 1992 was a great year. That is when the movie was made and when the person writing this was born.
In The Preacher’s Wife, Julia Briggs played the Queen herself gave insight to how lonely preacher’s families can get. I did a whole show on this while at Family Media Kenya. Also Denzel Washington is the angel in the film who saves a marriage and Christmas. The first moment I watched that film I did not think that there was any two women more beautiful than my mother and Whitney. The soundtrack album won 4 Grammy’s in 1994 including the album of the year.
Whitney Houston is remembered as the pop queen who broke barriers in the music industry opening doors for other stars. The church girl who ended up in a tumultuous marriage with the 1990’s bad boy RnB star Bobby Brown. The woman who was destabilized by the whirlwind of fame. From whom people took from with no instinct to give back. A woman whose spirituality was tangible.
Whitney is, not was, The Voice. A mother who loved her child so dearly she felt like a mommy to all of us. A force that controlled the world with her vocals. Whitney was Whitney.
Whitney to me was comfort. She was the aunty whose house you would love to go to. Strength in the face of adversity. Forgiveness of self even in the aftermath of self -destruction. A star with a light so bright it illuminated all our hearts with a familiarity of a best friend. Whitney was truth. She was the treasure in the search for the greatest love of all. Greatness oblivious of her power.
I loved Whitney. I love Whitney. I have often joked that one of the people I want to see in heaven is Whitney.
All this has come to me in the last four hours of finding music to listen to as I work. I pick Whitney because she gives me comfort just like she did in the small apartment my mom got us when her business grew. After a couple of songs in, I Google when she died and today February 11th 2020 is the 8th anniversary of her death. I am spiritual enough to dissect coincidences. It feels like her spirit lingers in the air today. The bible has been used to dismiss the existence of spirits but indeed if there is a heaven, there is a presence beyond our mortality. I cannot bring myself to write about Bobbi Brown. She is with her mother.
Thank you Whitney for being part of my childhood.