Luminaries, Celebrities, Divas, National Figures, Idols, Icons and Legends are all words specially chosen to identify those among us who stand out on a grand scale; either by beauty, special talent or some other special attribute that has earned them national or world attention. The names of such figures bring a host of memories to mind for most of us, such as Princess Di, Martin Luther King, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, John F. Kennedy and our latest world loss: Whitney Houston. The world needs human luminaries, the human diamonds and rubies whose glitter inspires us and helps us to get through our lives, and inspire us to hope, to wish and to dream; our luminaries are the human art forms that we revere and they in turn, offer us the gift of their talents. Whitney was one of a kind, an unforgettable voice and talent whose life, like Michael Jackson’s, was cut short too soon.
The news of The death of Whitney Houston caught me by surprise and totally off guard, coming like a slap of cold water in the face. My family and I were all watching a movie when my daughter refreshed the news line on her smart phone on February 11th, late afternoon and gasped “Oh no! Whitney Houston is dead!” It was as simple as that, she was gone. There will be no more new Whitney songs, what she left behind would be all the world would get. Whitney the artist was gone, but more importantly, Whitney the person, was gone. It was then I remembered the Whitney that I ‘knew’, and the most poignant recollections resurfaced as the giant news screen flashed the reactions of the public; each one citing what most impressed them in the context of the shock of people gone too soon.
The memory that came to mind for me was The 1992 movie The Bodyguard , although the movie itself was not superlative, Whitney Houston’s magnificent rendition of I Will Always Love You imbedded in the final scene like a jewel was indeed superlative, going on to become the best selling single by a female artist in music history. The voice of Whitney was like a clear bell, smooth and flowing, powerful and searing and most of all, enormously moving, so much so that the song forced you to dig deep and remember all the loves of your life, all the beauty and all the pain. The Art in Whitney’s music was unmistakable and you knew then that the only thing that could stop Whitney at that point would be Whitney. She has won the heart of the world and needed only to keep singing and giving her best like the song bird she was, but complications of life got in the way.
It may not be possible to say for certain why Whitney died in a bathtub in the posh Beverly Hilton hotel on the afternoon of February 11th, although every mind wonders if drug addiction was either the primary or secondary cause of her premature death. Drug Addiction is one of the Three Headed Monsters alluded to in the The Torn Trilogy and The Face of Dysfunction; it is one of the most difficult of the dragons to slay. Addiction steals lives from the rich and the poor, and rips the peace away from multiple families in America. Addiction is a monster and a killer.
“Alcoholism and drug addiction is a major monster in the theater of human dysfunctions, accounting for large portions of the world population and especially rampant in prosperous America, where everyone is encouraged to not just ‘be’ but to be better and stronger, to excel and chase the American dream.”
Excerpted from The Face of Dysfunction, Sara Niles
Good bye Whitney,
We will always miss you.
Whitney Houston: Cited in 2009 as the most awarded female artist of all time by Guinness Book of World Records (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitney_Houston)