The Queen of Pop, Whitney Houston, passed away this weekend after being found in the bathroom of a Beverly Hills Hotel. She was only 48 years old. Although she had problems with substance abuse and anxiety over the course of her career, she will always be remembered as a singer whose voice touched millions. After learning of the news of her death, the Grammy Awards committee hastened to create a tribute for Houston. They finally decided on a simpler task, tapping Jennifer Hudson to do a beautiful rendition of Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.”
Whitney Houston was undoubtedly the most accomplished female artist of all-time, winning six Grammy awards, selling over 170 million albums, songs, and videos, and charting seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits. However, it was not just her music that made her so successful. As an actress, producer, and model, it was the way in which she used her talents and carried herself that inspired women all over the world. Just as Michael Jackson did for Black males, Whitney Houston paved the way for Black females to gain exposure in the world of mainstream music. She especially did so after her “How Will I Know” video was put in heavy rotation on MTV. Before Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, MTV had been notoriously known for not playing music by African American artists. Houston also touched the lives as children, as she played the fairy godmother in the 1997 remake of Cinderella, singing and acting alongside Brandy. As portrayed in her rendition of “Impossible,” Whitney Houston made it possible for Black girls around the world to believe that they could be princesses too.
In spite of all of her fame, Whitney Houston always made sure to acknowledge her roots by visiting her old church in New Jersey. She started singing at her church in at age 11 after being inspired by her mother, Cissy Houston. The song Joy to the World from Whitney’s album “The Preacher’s Wife,” shows off Whitney’s vocal ability as well as her close connection to the church.
Let’s all keep Houston’s family in our prayers during this difficult time, and thank Whitney Houston for sharing her phenomenal gift with us. For she not only changed the world of music, she changed the world itself. Rest in Peace Whitney Houston.