It has been such a sad time lately, with all of the deaths of great artists and movers and shakers in the music industry….Whitney Houston being the latest one. I remember her as young model for Seventeen Magazine in my teenage angst years, that magazine was my Bible. I didn’t know then what I learned recently upon her death, that she was the first Black cover model for that magazine. When she ventured into singing, I remember singing her songs in the shower or in my room and watching her videos on MTV. She was a Star in every sense of the word. What saddens me most is that her death has become a media circus. The innuendo of the circumstances of her death. The reality of her years with Bobby Brown and her addiction. The inquiries into the much speculated talk that Whitney, like Michael had doctor shopped and gotten numerous prescriptions from several physician’s. Even talk about if Bobby Brown should be allowed to attend her funeral. It is all just a dark cloud hanging over the memory of her Great Voice, even moreso to the memory of the person she was to those that loved her, including her ex-husband Bobby Brown.
Death is something I have been keenly aware of ever since I was a child, it was no stranger to me and I knew as I got older that I would die one day too. I have talked to my daughters about how I would want my funeral to be. Who should be there….I have banned no one, this is my open invitation to my Celebration Of Life. All I ask in return is that you respect my wishes and those of my families. I know in some circumstances certain people should not be involved in the public or private services of one they once loved, forbidden even, to attend. It could have devestating effects on others that they even be there. I understand this way of thinking because it was my Fathers wish to forbid certain members of his family from both my Mother's and his funeral. This came about after a falling out over the way my Grandma's estate was somehow not dispersed to him, but yet to all 3 of his other siblings. It was common knowledge in the family and was uttered out of my Grandparent's mouths that when they died the property their home was on would be his one day. It did not happen that way and I won’t go into further detail because I personally do not know all of the circumstances involving my Aunts decision to disinherit my Father. I do know it caused a chasm so deep in the family that it made my father tell them in no uncertain terms were my Aunt, the executor of my Grandmas estate or his other sister were not to attend his funeral or his wife’s. His brother, my Uncle did attend, he was also my Father’s caregiver in his final years. While I bear no ill will to any of them, I agree that them not coming was the best idea at the time, because I for one would have at that time probably spit on them. Now as a full grown adult I know Karma has a way of working on people like that. I have heard that she is quite ill and has numerous health problems. While I am sorry that she is suffering and I know there will be a day when she passes away I will in all likelihood not attend her funeral. She not only slighted my father, but denied my daughters her Great Nieces as if they were mere strangers in a public setting ignoring them from just a few feet away. This happened when I was in jail for my domestic violence incident. I want to think in my head maybe they just did not know what to say to them, but then again I remember who I am thinking about. We were, as my father was, the Black Sheep of the family.That being said, I will say nothing more about it, because my Mother taught me if you have nothing nice to say (this only pertains to family) then don't say anything at all.
I have told my daughters that regardless of my relationship with their father, past- present- future, (because there are people in my family that hate him that much) he is to be a crucial part of any celebration of my life. The people who are uncomfortable with that don’t need to be there. They don’t matter, my wishes and my children’s feelings are what matter. Whitney’s daughter should be the focus, what she wants and may need is her Father to be there. People who love and live that hard are not easily forgotten for each other. Whatever happened in their relationship to become so toxic is not different than any other average person. As a guest said on "Nancy Grace", a show I love to hate, “The only difference between Whitney and any other person was that she was famous…” No one worries about who’s going to the funeral of the meth head on the corner. Or even if Joe Blow goes to several doctors to get oxycontin or vicodin because after he hurt his back he has become addicted. For those that are famous, and under the scrutiny of the medias giant microscope their every move in life becomes a well-orchestrated event to either get them attention or to try to not be the center of it. Even their deaths become tabloid news, and their last moments speculated on with so much intensity that I wonder how people like Nancy Grace sleep....or does she? She is a predator of the media kind and while I admit to watching her show and even talking back to her and her guests (albeit my t.v.) it still does not justify that a star like Whitney Houston or Michael Jackson are only seen as their celebrity status and not human beings who were flawed as most of us mere mortals are.
I choose to remember Whitney Houston as a person who made an indelible mark on the world with the beautiful, powerful, voice she had such amazing control of, as that fresh faced young girl with the whole world ahead of her, the girl on the cover of my teen bible…Seventeen.