Today marks the passing of a true musical great. I am simply stunned and I'm honestly having trouble processing this information. A lot of people are posting that they aren't surprised and that she was done a long time ago...here's my response.
I don't care.
As a young black female growing up in the South in the 1980's, Ms. Houston went beyond pop star status to me. Idol isn't a proper description, either. Simply put, she represented everything I hoped I could grow to have. She showed me it was possible. She gave me dreams to strive toward. She was beautiful and talented and smart (or so it seemed) and LOVED. I hoped that one day I would be able to find that kind of acceptance. I grew up isolated from a portion of the black community available to me because I was "too smart" and spoke "too proper" (read: white). Watching her handle that same very vocal faction with grace and poise was inspiring.
Yes, her life became a sad and tragic cautionary tale. Her Prince Charming became her worst nightmare and she became her own worst enemy. This only served, to me, to show she was human. I always believed she would eventually dig out of the well she'd fallen into.
Now she won't. And I'm feeling pretty torn up about that.
RIP, Ms. Houston. I hope you have peace now.