The Voice is now silent. The breathtaking glamour bestowed to an undeniable beauty will now be forever covered in darkness, buried beneath slabs of concrete and dirt. That light behind the charismatic, engaging smile has now gone out, shoveled into a place where we can no longer see it. Whitney Houston is no longer with us after unexpectedly passing away at the age of 48.
Tragically, Houston left behind her legacy on the eve of the 2012 Grammy Awards, found unconscious in a bathtub in her hotel suite in Beverly Hills, California. The loss of The Voice has left the music industry and the rest of the world in stunned disbelief.
“It is with deep sadness that we reflect upon a life taken from us too soon, and a woman whose talents touched so many,” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in a released statement. “During my years as Mayor, I was fortunate to have the chance to meet and know Whitney. Not only was she the most awarded female recording artist of all time, but she was one of the world’s best-selling singers.
These stunning achievements are not only hard to overstate, but they will unlikely be eclipsed in our lifetime. Her music inspired millions and the power of her voice was hard to match in its depth and crystalline beauty. I am thankful that we will have her beautiful music as a constant reminder of the light she brought with her.”
Houston may be permanently separated from us in body, but we still have our memories of the vocal dynamo that will live long after she is gone. Hearing the lovely Houston belt out songs like her No.1 smash “I Will Always Love you” is like listening to the seductive symphony of ocean waves at sunset. The inescapable power behind the voice of the magnetic singer gave Houston a gift she unselfishly shared with the world.
What a gift it was. If ever there was a person who oozed stardom and fame, it was Houston. Houston had it all: beauty, talent and that uniquely distinctive voice that brought joy and love to so many people around the globe. Her music was so transcending that it crossed genres lines and defied categories.
With hits like “I’m Your Baby, Tonight,” “Saving All My Love for You” and “Didn’t We Almost Had it All,” Houston became every bit the female equal to pop legend Michael Jackson. Houston was pop, soul, R&B, soft jazz and gospel all wrapped into one wondrous package, a sure-fire talent brimming with megawatt stardom.
Much like the way Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight paved the way for her, Houston became the gold standard to which Beyonce’, Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton, Rhianna and others are measured today. She is just as incomparable in generating music-related buzz, selling over 117 million record and video units.
Just as easily, Houston morphed her way into the big screen, becoming a full-fledged actress after starring in films such as “Waiting to Exhale” and “The Preacher’s Wife.” Watching Houston perfect her acting chops was like watching a black goddess perform her mercurial skills in her kingdom. She did it elegantly. She did it with poise and aplomb. She did it with the authority of greatness in her bones.
Her fans will have an opportunity to see that greatness again in the remake film, “Sparkle,” which Houston stars. World renowned Bishop T.D. Jakes, who worked with Houston on the movie, was touched by the passing of the pop icon.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic and untimely passing of Whitney Houston, whom we were blessed to have just completed work with on the remake of the film “Sparkle.” We ask the world to join us in lifting up Whitney’s family in prayer and ask God for their strength and comfort during this devastatingly difficult time,” Jakes said. “At the apex of her career, Whitney had no peer, with a voice that shaped a generation. She has left behind a musical and film legacy that will endure…. she will be sorely missed by us all.”
Houston had the fame. She had the glory. She had the riches. She had the looks. She had the talent to become one of the greatest entertainers of all time. Houston, apparently, also had demons she wrestled with. Those demons, according to published reports, were drugs and alcohol, addictions powerful enough to separate a person away from their money and their own self-worth.
While some in the media have already reached judgment on her passing, at the moment it is foolish to reach any conclusion about her death. Houston’s passing is an unfortunate tragedy that has left many family members, friends and fans heartbroken. It has left a daughter in sorrowful mourning of her mother. It is a pain of numbness and emotional heartache to see a bright, young life cut short.
It is a sad conclusion to a life filled with great triumphs, one that hit some turbulence along the way and experienced a few humble lows. The shooting star, better known as Whitney Houston, has now traveled to a new and better universe to sing in.
“Whitney Houston was one of the greatest pop singers of all-time, who leaves behind a robust musical soundtrack that spans the past three decades,” said Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow. “Her powerful voiced graced many memorable and award-winning songs. A light has been dimmed in our music community today, and we extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends and fans and all who have been touched by her beautiful voice.”