Multi-Grammy Award Winner and Actress Whitney Houston Dies At 48

This is a time for me when words and emotions come together and produce nothing. Whitney Houston always had the physical appearance of a princess to my eyes – beautiful, sassy and confident. And when she belted out a note – the heavens opened up. Her voice was regal – if it came from the concert stage or the choir loft, it was all Whitney – it was all real.

Maybe I’m not the one to write this right now because my mind is racing and my heart hurts for Bobby Christina. All I know that Black History month is eleven days deep and two legends (Houston and Don Cornelius, who passed on February 1st.) are gone. The passing of the great Etta James in late January was another.

Whitney’s hit single ‘Where Do Broken Hearts Go?’ takes on a different meaning tonight.


23 Responses to “Multi-Grammy Award Winner and Actress Whitney Houston Dies At 48”

  1. eric daniels says:

    I am not a fan of Houston’s music (I find it banal and soulless personally) and she was the first of the modern singers to have style but no substance leading to the Mariahs and Beyonces of the modern Black Music World. With the exception of “Saving All My Love” Houston’s music was just sterile Black Pop.

    Also she was self- destructive, I am not going to speak ill of the dead but I kinda saw this coming years ago, friends of mine in the business who knew her said she was a major league addict going back to the mid 80’s and success just made it worse. I hope she found the peace she was looking for and may she travel well to the ancestors

  2. sankofa says:

    As someone who works with the homeless and have daily face-to-face encounters with those afflicted by addiction, I was not surprised and indifferent at her demise. Not because of disrespect, but as I travel up the ladder of the years, I have over stand that this is an inevitability for us all and we must balance the good people have done to others and themselves, with with that they have not done. It was obvious to me that the years of abuse took its toll and was evident so much the last few years.

    That being said, while she is celebrated ( too much for me) as a great act, which as to do more with industry propaganda, I think many of us should cast a critical eye at the industry and the prevalence of risky life styles that destroys talents like Whitney and others on her level.

    More so than her death and the suspicious manner, which is unfortunate at that age, is the lack of intelligent discourse on who the hell was truly intervening during the tumultuous years when even Steve Wonder could see she needed help. Excessive fan worshipping and or blaming Bobby Brown does not contribute to the fact that the industry continues to destroy the talented amongst us while at the same time rise up the talentless as pied pipers for the gullible fanatics, before discarding even them to the trash heap of his-story. Keep in mind that to the industry, a dead artist is worth more than a live one.

    The Death of Michael Jackson, Etta James and now Whitney are cautionary tales of the devil cashing in on the loan we take out for fame and fortune. May her family find peace from the difficult demons she experienced when alive, and we all must remember that , as we all must cross over to the otherside, how well does our heart measure up on the scale of Ma’at in the halls of judgement.

  3. Miranda says:

    RIP Whitney – her voice was truly a gift from God.

  4. CDF says:

    Good points being made. I guess I was more irritated than saddened when hearing the news, given her past struggles. Yeah, that’s one particular industry I don’t want a part of. It was sort of telling last night when thinking a lot of the elders in the biz are still here and how I tend to listen to them more so than many of the stars in and around my age.

    To lighten it up, it was also telling when a Sly and the Family Stone jam was playing on my Music Choice channel…that mofo’s an iron-man in comparison…O_o

  5. GrandNubian says:

    I echo the sentiments of Sakofa. Every word…..

    May her ka (soul) find its way into Amenta (the Source of all).


  6. GrandNubian says:

    Sankofa (sorry for the grammatical error). 😉

  7. mapoui says:

    Sankofa’s comment seems absolutely relevant, rooted! useful!

  8. Ron Glover says:

    My mother said many of the same things that Sankofa mentioned, anytime she sees Michael Jordan she always says, “I hope he didn’t sell his soul.

    What Sankofa said puts everything in line. Great post

  9. sankofa says:

    Ashe family, but really I am not saying anything other sensible people aren’t saying. It’s just that most of us who are slumbering are fed emotional and mental narcotics by the media and tend to get caught up in the Coles note version of the big picture and not the details. Hell, most of us don’t even know how the picture was put together and don’t care. Due to that the true value of a Whitney Huston, a Don Cornelius, Michael Jackson, for instance will be lost in the insipid narrative of those who pay the piper.

    Nuff respect to Mike for continuing this excellent site and Ron and the crew for holding it down, straight no chaser, when talking not just sports, but the intersection where Sports avenue meets social reality boulevard. That’s why I am proud to be on a site that got its ish together and is even encouraging of dissenting points of view, as long as it is respectful. Incidentally, during breaks of the Massacre in Atlanta last night, I tried watching that golden globe’s, er…thing, but was reminded of the old tel-lie-vision add: This is your brain…this is your brain on drugs! I ended up reading a magazine on decorating small places instead. So I wasn’t sure what they did with this hasty tribute to Whitney other than hearing about Jennifer Hudson representing well. I hope there was more quality than glitz in it.

  10. ks says:

    Yeah, well while Whitney had her issues and, when she was on top, her brand of pop might not have been everybodys cup of tea but, her immense talent was undeniable.

    When you consider the breath of her career (the modeling, the singing, the acting) she might have been one of the most sucessful and versatile female artists in music history. Imo, the only real modern comparisons are Streisand and more tragically accurate, Judy Garland.

    People talk about a Beyonce comparison but I think B is more of a Diana Ross 2.0 with a lot more natural singing talent but a bit less “presence”. The career similarities between the two are errie.

    Also people tend to forget Whitney’s “subtle” accomplishments like being one of the first young black models used in Teen magazines and general endorsements and more importantly, along with Michael Jackson, obliterating the whole notion of crossover which was incredibly significant.

    Anyway, RIP Whitney. Condolences to her family and good luck to Bobbi Kristina and Bobby Brown.

  11. sankofa says:

    Not to highjack this thread but how is this relevant,–video-jeremy-lin-s-religious-pregame-ritual

    But the case of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf and Toni Smith isn’t?

    It’s in the narrative!

  12. MICHELLE says:

    So sad. God Bless her family..

  13. MICHELLE says:

    She was one woman who stood by her man. She loved Bobby til the end. All while everyone from the beginning told her not to marry him. Brothers take notice. If the genders were reversed that relationship would never have taken place. Unless of course the woman was white. I’ll miss her smile the most. Her music will live on forever.

  14. eric daniels says:

    Michelle, most Black Men are married to Black Women, I am not going to get out of sorts because Tim Duncan or Halle Berry is dating/married to a non- black person. Stop believing in White American media propaganda. Whitney was not the only Black Woman/Man to stand by their partner.

    There are 400,000 Black- White unions in the United States

    there are 38 million People of African descent 90% of them prefer to date,Sleep marry and divorce each other .


    You are absolute right about the religious propaganda that goes on in American Sports, there should be no Religion or Pledge of Allegiance in sporting events. I don’t even stand up for the anthem because this is entertainment and it should be neutral. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf and Toni Smith got a raw deal and the media should criticize Jeremy Lin and Tim Tebow for their proselytizing on the field or court.

  15. MICHELLE says:

    ERIC……You don’t understand my point nor do you know the ratio of wealthy black men married to women who aren’t black compared to the opposite. I make this point because of BLACK men who give ridiculous reasons for excluding black women as potential mates.

  16. MICHELLE says:

    Pay a little more attention to athletes, doctors and lawyers. Actors to. Love is colorblind. But it’s not when you exclude your own color.

  17. MICHELLE says:

    Also black women are the least married of all other races in the US.. The number of black people in the country is irrellavant to my point and actually helps to prove my point. This post is about Whitney and I will miss her presence on this earth. I was merely pointing out her love for Bobby and how she didn’t go the route the media would have chose for her. Such as a white producer type.

  18. MICHELLE says:

    Everything this site represents Whitney Houston was. She became famous at an early age and never forgot where she came from. She looked out for other black artist, supported black youth and always paid homage to the people of color who came before her.

  19. MICHELLE says:

    As a child I remember watching the Eagles and their wives during a charity event. All the white athletes had white wives and all the black players who attended had white wives. Eric Allen, Seth Joyner, and Wes Hopkins are names who vaguely come to mind. So fast foward to the present. I’m looking at my Ebony mag. They did a story on the cast of Red TAILS.. Three out of the 4 black men on the cover where married to white women… WOW!!

  20. sankofa says:

    @ Michelle …”If the genders were reversed that relationship would never have taken place. Unless of course the woman was white…”

    I am taking nothing away from the reality of that which you are alluding to but your statement is problematic when you say “would never have taken place”. There are more than enough African men willingly desiring his complement, however the media portrayal appears to be the norm not the exception, even in this industry. If we look on the level below the entertainment threshold, we will perhaps see a more balanced coloring.

    Those cat who prefer Caucasian women range from self haters to, as you say, those blinded by that dirty “L” word. I am not going to judge them on the surface on that anymore because those are moments in my life I won’t get back. That is unless they open up their traps and start creating bullshit reasons then I am obligated to call them on it.

    Still we mustn’t let it detract from the central theme in the post. That is, we have tragically lost another talented one under less than acceptable circumstances, considering her life choices.

    At least you didn’t say like some idiots on other boards that say Bobby was the reason for her choices. So far we’ve had three days of inundation by the print and visual media about Whitney Houston sprinkled with innuendos about her life choices, as if the drug use came out of a void. At least up here in icebox land.

    There should be a better response from those of us in the know, in dealing with the horrors of the industry entrapment, but it won’t happen because most people want to keep their J.O.B or are afraid of their own culpabilities. I mean do you think Whitney went to the corner to procure her own stuff?

    by the way the dirty “L” word is in reference to the misuse of that which should never be abused or misused and is thus devalued and transformed into empty platitude. Like the ones given by people at the awards, many of whom did not intervene when Whitney was battling her demons.

  21. ks says:


    Reply to your mini-thread jack about Lin. Great article form Buzz Bissinger:

    I like Lin but damn the hype is CRAZY!

  22. Burundi says:

    A buddy of mine pointed out to me how Whitney refused to perform in Sun City (South Africa) during Apartheid, which took guts and showed that she didn’t forget where she came from.

    @eric daniels: while I generally agree with your critique of the Black Pop genre right down to “Saving All My Love” as being the lone stick-to-your-ribs siren song (which played, looped in my brain, for several hours upon hearing of her untimely demise), her talent clearly transcended the genre, which I certainly had no use for, as Temple had just turned this Midwesterner on to then, life-changing, revolutionary hip hop (via Public Enemy) in the late 80s. That I couldn’t get the song out of my head coupled with Jennifer Hudson’s rendition of Houston’s Dolly Parton-penned “I Will Always Love You” has given me, after 25 years, perspective and a new appreciation for her. Sadly, like the mythical Icarus she soared high (despite the soulless genre) yet managed to touch us with a song, yet and still, before she left to soon.

    @Sankofa: Regarding Whitney and Bobby, it appears that their reality show might have given folk some perspective into their relationship such that her fans had to soberly confront that it indeed takes two to tango, so to speak, which appears to have contextualized Bobby (I recall reading that Bobby was often times the sane, rational, and reasonable one, which I wouldn’t have believed before). However, they must both nonetheless be cautionary tales to the rest of us unbetrothed (and those betrothed) folk out here that we must strive to be with someone who brings out the very best in us or, who at least compells us to want to be better—and, avaoid folk who seek to bring us down. At least, this is the lesson that I’m taking from it.