Saturday, February 18, 2012

Whitney Houston

That Voice!  It is undeniable and instantly recognizable.  What an amazing voice and an amazing talent.  I can recall when she first burst onto the music scene.  I was a teenager attending Thomas Stone High School in Waldorf, Maryland.  She was a glamorous teenager who had grown up in East Orange, New Jersey.  She had the good fortune of someone hearing that voice and telling someone, who told someone, who told someone, who told a music man named Clive Davis.  The rest is history.  She became what is termed a phenomenal music sensation.  Her records sold millions worldwide.  Everyone wanted to hear that voice sing.  She could sing anything because we all just simply wanted her to sing.  It seemed as if no one could get enough of her singing.  I recall her music being played on the radio constantly.  Then came THE BODYGUARD.  That movie and soundtrack propelled her to international stardom.  On TV she seemed beautiful, sweet, wonderful to watch and someone you just wanted to befriend.

Then came public reports of "cracks" in her image.  The public saw her socializing with people the public didn't think she should socialize.  The public began to hear stories about her behavior being erratic, unprofessional and unpredictable.  Then came the stories of drug use, missed commitments and that reality show.  For years, the public watched as Whitney Houston appeared to self-destruct and wondered how such an amazing talent could fall astray.

I didn't have the pleasure of personally meeting Whitney Houston.  All I know about her is what I have gained from television interviews with her and others, footage of performances, magazine articles and gossip.  I'm not here to judge, but use her story as an inspiration and lesson for young people.

This was a woman who dared to dream.  She dared to follow her dreams.  She dared to take her talents from a city in New Jersey to the world stage.  She was a black woman who graciously navigated a nonblack world.  She took her studies seriously, believed in education and had her childhood school renamed in her honor.  She was a woman who didn't come from a famous or wealthy family, yet she achieved.  She gave back to her community and often spoke of the lessons taught to her by her parents.  That is the lesson or takeaway of her life story.  She was a dreamer and an achiever.  She didn't let obstacles hinder her and she believed in her abilities. 

All young people have ability and talent.  They just need to believe in themselves and dream that anything is possible if you are willing to put in the work.  Negative stuff aside, Whitney Houston clearly put in the work and she clearly achieved.  Let that be a lesson for all.

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