Over the weekend, family and close friends said goodbye to Whitney Houston while the public watched. Like many famous iconic stars before her, the questionable circumstances of her premature death could easily overshadow the career and contribution she offered while alive. The Queen of Soul and Whitney's Godmother Aretha Franklin hopes people will remember her for her artistry instead of her challenges with substance abuse.
Before her death, the younger generation may have only known Whitney for her famous "crack is whack" comment to Diane Sawyer during a 2002 interview. Postmortem sales indicate she has been re-introduction to them as "the voice" many of us have always known and loved. Digital copies of her music skyrocketed the day after her death with I Will Always Love You leading the way. Although she holds the Billboard's record for most consecutive number one singles at seven between 1985 and 1988, Whitney may be worth more dead than alive as speculation suggests she may well earn millions this year posthumously. Unfortunately, this will likely add her to the Forbes list of top earning dead celebrities with other musical iconic greats like Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, and John Lennon.
Listening to many of her greatest hits again this past week brought back memories of years and experiences gone by that for me will forever be tied to her music. Like when I repeatedly listened to All at Once trying to get over a lost love or times hanging out with college friends waiting for the iconic How Will I Know video to come on VH1 and the hope it brought for new love could be found. One Moment in Time has always spoken to the athlete in me and the drive to find that "sweet spot" where ability meets performance. When I hear Whitney's Superbowl rendition of The Star Spangled Banner, it not only stirs patriotic pride but also the realization of how powerful the song is to unify people as well.
Sadly, Whitney Houston's death is the silencing of her iconic voice that as a LA Times reviewer clearly noted in 2009, she didn't understand or embrace was a national treasure that resided within her to be protected. However, even larger of a loss than a voice to the world is her role as a mother, daughter, sister, cousin, and friend to those that loved her most. So what can we learn from the loss of Whitney Houston?
Live passionately – Whitney lived a passion-filled life - passion for singing, passion for spirituality and passion for family. It is important for all of us to find our passions and then fill our days with those things that are most important and fulfilling to us. Whether through healthy living, a hobby, relationships, or pursuit of a personal interest, passionate living can provide positive effects for a happy life.
Don't lose YOU – Whitney shared in her interview with Oprah in 2009 that through the course of being a pop star, wife and mother she lost herself. It is not uncommon to feel trapped in our roles as spouse, parent, sibling, child, or employee. The needs of others can drive our daily activities and over time, we can fall to the bottom of the list. In the process of loving and supporting others, be sure you also keep focus on YOU and what you want and need in life.
Make healthy living a priority – It is clear that Whitney didn't always take care of her body, mind and spirit or maintain healthy boundaries in love and relationships. Money, position, and power can change life priorities but in the end, you can't take any of it with you. Make sure you are making conscious decisions for your life and health that will not only help you look and feel your best physically but emotionally as well.
Don’t be afraid to ask and receive help –Although Whitney had been in and out rehab and making great efforts to leave her addictions behind, addiction to anything (whether it be to attention, prescription drugs, alcohol, sugar, exercise or food) is a very hard thing to overcome. Whether through counseling, rehab or other kinds of support, get help and continue to work on areas that need attention for as long as it takes.
In honor of President's Day and in memory of Whitney Houston and the voice that will ring on for years to come – enjoy these 2 minutes and 50 seconds of history.
Photo Credit: PRPhotos.com
Tell us what will you remember most about Whitney Houston?
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