2.11.2012

The Gift and The Curse: Legendary grammy award-winning artist Whitney Houston dies at 48. How will she be remembered?

According to an email I received from AllHipHop News, "representatives for legendary R&B singer Whitney Houston have confirmed that the singer has died. Details are still being released and the cause of death is currently not known, but her publicist Kristen Foster confirmed that Whitney Houston died today (February 11)."

Additionally AHH reported "Whitney Houston, was just 48 years old when she died. More details will be released through the evening. Whitney Houston has sold over 200 million records world-wide. She was well known for her documented struggles with drugs. Whitney is survived by one child, Bobbi Kristina, with her former husband, Bobby Brown."

We're losing a lot of iconic Black figures and this one is just as sad. I grew up listening to her music because my mother was/is a huge fan. Although my mother never met the singer in person, she certainly felt a connection to her. Like Whitney, my mother had a serious bout with drugs that impacted her life and our lives greatly for many years. That experience shaped my heart to always root for those who battled with drugs because I know what it's like to live in crack houses, be surrounded by crack pipes, see your mother beat up by a drug dealer, and await a call that your mother was found dead due to an overdose. It's something you don't understand until you go through it. That's why I was always rooting for Whitney Houston and others to "get the monkey off of their backs."

After several relapses my mother was blessed to conquer that addiction and is now a state licensed chemical dependency counselor in Texas. She believes she is walking in her calling which is to help others overcome what God blessed her to come through. She wanted that for Whitney as well. My mother was glued to the TV when Oprah interviewed Whitney in a very candid and revealing segment a few years ago. I was touched by it and we both said "Whitney is back!"

So when I got the shocking news of Whitney's death tonight I called my mother and she was disappointed by the news. She shared with me that having your spirituality in order is very critical to maintaining your recovery from drug addiction. "I really hate to see this happen," she said.

Whitney won over 400 music awards, sold over 200 million albums, had seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits, starred in multiple movies, and is credited by many popular female artists as being a source of inspiration for their careers. Yet, how will this world remember her? What will the media zero in on? The gift or the curse?

Unfortunately, we live in a world that cheers you on when you're on top, but is eager to kick when you're down. Many don't believe in redemption and will always bring up your past "demons" no matter how much you improve your life. It's harsh but that's just the way it is. Either way, we all have the opportunity choose to overcome instead of succumbing.

Whitney Elizabeth Houston lost her bout with her curse (choices) but I and others will choose to remember her most for the gift that God blessed her with that she chose not to hide: A Dynamic Voice.

(Brother Jesse Muhammad is a staff writer for The Final Call newspaper, an award-winning blogger and motivational speaker. Follow his boring tweets @BrotherJesse)


This is my favorite Whitney Houston moment. This was the National Anthem sung before Super Bowl XXV.