I can never remember a time when I didn’t know who Whitney Houston was. When I was little I would sit in my car seat in the back of my mom’s car and listen to Whitney’s tapes, singing right along because I knew all of the words. The Christmas that The Preacher’s Wife came out, my mother brought the VHS home for me and my sister and I remember at six yeas old, being so mesmerized by how beautiful she was and how perfect her voice was. My mom watched the film for Denzel, but I remember watching it for Whitney and the songs she sang. She was just so poised and glamorous, even while playing such a simple role. Besides her music which was constantly in the background in my Chicago household, the next thing I remember was being about ten and seeing The Bodyguard on television and that film for me just really sealed the deal. ( And you know I still know every word and song that s in the Brandy Cinderella ).
Whitney was legendary for me and I suppose I never really understood her personal struggles because the images I saw of her were always five to eight years in the past. She was always beautiful to me, I was always in awe of her grace and her stature. My first personal Whitney CD was My Love is Your Love, I was about nine and I had just gotten a boom box for my birthday LMAO. I played the CD on repeat to the point where it was exhausting for my entire family. The next thing I can remember is stealing my mother’s copy of Waiting the Exhale (the book) when I was about twelve, and then having to plot to acquire the film. (I wasn’t allowed to watch Rated R films until I was damn near grown smh). But there she was again just as beautiful as ever. Looking back now, I feel so blessed that my mother sheltered me and I never really witnessed Whitney struggling. Even still, her struggles could never outweigh, all the she did, all that she meant or the fact that I still get goose bumps when I hear. “I Will Always Love You”.
When I was told that she had passed I was clowning in my room, getting ready to go out with my friends. My bestise’s mom texted her and she blurted out that Whitney had passed. When she told us, I screamed. I felt physically ill. I’ve never had such a violent reaction to the death of a celebrity not even MJ. Maybe it was because, I know that if my mom was still here she would have been devastated Perhaps, despite everything I felt like I knew Whitney, like I could relate to her. For a bougie Black girl from the south side of Chicago Whitney was more than iconic, she was a dream and that’s what I choose to remember.
xoxoxo Chocolate Girl In the City xoxoxoxox