“Bitter-sweet memories is all I’m taking with me.”
I woke up this morning to hear that the long time influential musical legend Whitney Houston had sadly passed. Due to causes currently unknown, however we are all familiar with the singer’s relationship with drugs, primarily cocaine, as her later career became overshadowed by substance abuse and left her in a shambolic state. Of course we would all jump to the conclusion that she took a drug overdose after her life concluded at the premature age of 48.
While I am deeply saddened by the news of her passing, as I was always and will still remain a huge fan of her work, both musically and theatrically, it is horrifying to think that it takes a sudden vastly unexpected shock of an event such as Whitney’s life being taken, for us to truly appreciate her – hundreds of thousands of Facebook statuses, tweets and her albums shooting to number one on the download charts. People who had previously never mentioned Whitney on these public social networking sites were suddenly trumpeting her triumphs; singing out praises and sorrows for “our” loss of indeed one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.
I indeed am guilty of this too. The majority of us were born into a generation who merely viewed the memories of Whitney’s rise to stardom as ‘the first pop diva’, rather than living with them as they unfolded and developed into the troubled character she commercialized into until today.
As with many other characters who are sadly not with us today after suffering a tragic end; Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson, and Marilyn Monroe to name a few, it becomes an apparent question to ponder whether their deaths are what makes them ever more successful than before their tragic ends, or whether the shock of the premature occurrence will simply die down after the worldwide shock has been lifted.
Whitney Elizabeth Houston, pop singer, born 9 August 1963, died 11 February 2012 — “the first black America’s sweetheart”.