Last weekend, the world lost a woman of great musical heritage who was human as we are, but also blessed richly by God with an incredible voice.
Her death comes as a shock to many, as her career was far from over. Last year, Houston and singer Jordin Sparks filmed a remake of the 1976 film “Sparkle,” which contained Houston’s last recorded songs. After news of her death spread, traffic to the film’s page increased dramatically, signaling rumors that producers and film executives wanted to speed up the release date to May.
The week after she died, her albums sales increased by an extraordinary 5,994 percent. Her “Greatest Hits” album reentered the Billboard 200 at No. 6, and her blockbuster smash “I Will Always Love You” debuted at No. 3 on Digital Songs.
Houston was an icon. She is credited, along with Michael Jackson, for paving the way for black artists to follow in their footsteps. She influenced countless singers, including Mariah Carey, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige and many others. Though drug and alcohol abuse damaged her voice in later years, she could still sing better than some contestants on “The Voice” and “American Idol.”
I fell in love with Houston’s music in 2009, right before her comeback album “I Look to You” was released. As an influence of one of my novel’s main characters, I sought to fully understand Houston’s music, and I was pleasantly surprised at how phenomenal her “Could I Have This Kiss Forever” duet with Enrique Iglesias and “I Will Always Love You” were.
Houston’s career was filled with success. She sold over 170 million albums worldwide, was the most awarded female artist in history, winning 415 different awards, and was the first artist to receive the BET Lifetime Achievement Award. She is still the only artist to notch seven consecutive No. 1 hits on the Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.
“I Will Always Love You” is her signature song. After its release, it spent 12 weeks at No. 1, which was a record at that time, and has sold over 12 million singles. In my opinion, the song is the greatest in terms of vocal performance. No song rivals its success and pop culture impact.
Last weekend’s news was dominated by her death, sparking numerous negative reactions from those who either didn’t know who Houston was or thought there were more important topics to cover. Houston shouldn’t be blamed for the media’s decisions, and anything said about her lack of importance is disrespectful to family members now grieving for their loss.
I believe God brings home those who’ve fulfilled their purposes or are very troubled. Despite all of her demons, I believe without a doubt she’s in heaven now, singing with the angels.
Whitney, you will be dearly missed.