Hi Bloggy Friends,
I lost a piece of my soul when I found out Whitney Houston passed away on Saturday. If you didn't know this already, all gays are guided in life by a fairy god diva. Whitney was mine.
I Will Always Love You," at the top of my lungs — something I could do less screechily in the days before my vocal chords manned up.
Her voice was at its prime in those days; crystal clear — like the little bell in It's a Wonderful Life that could give angels their wings. I was hooked.
From then on, I wore out every album and movie I could get my hands on — Waiting to Exhale (Shoop!), The Preacher's Wife, and 1998's My Love is Your Love (MLIYL), which contained the songs that became the anthems of my "coming out" years. I thought she was particularly powerful during this era. Her videos were rife with you-better-watch-yourself finger waves at the camera, and enough hand-on-hip, head-twisting action to empower a whole generation of new-to-the-scene gay boys. It was exactly what I needed to guide me through the incessant "I'm gay" speeches I had to make for family and friends. Being forced to share my queerness with the world was exhausting, but all was made right when I pushed play on "It's Not Right But It's OK" and finger-waved myself back to a happier place.
crack." She didn't help the situation, either. The reality show she did with Bobby was excruciating to watch, and she looked homeless in every tabloid photo that showed up on the newsstands. And then the biggest blow of all — she couldn't sing the way she used to. There was no more confident attitude. She seemed weak. Scared. It broke my heart. I felt like my diva gave up.
There were a few post-"crack is whack" moments of hope. I was living in Chicago when she released Just Whitney, which was nowhere near as critically acclaimed as her previous works, but I was in line at Tower Records in Lincoln Park at midnight the day it was released. Then came her Christmas album, One Wish, and in 2010 she released what would become her final album, I Look to You. I played them all with the same fervor as her old stuff, straining myself to listen for the Whitney moments I adored — the sassy runs, the extra "ohs" and "uhs" at the end of a verse. I tricked myself into believing she was still there, but deep inside I knew my Whitney was gone forever.
I will always love you,
Please enjoy this video of my favorite Whitney performance, singing "I Will Always Love You" on VH1 Divas Live in 1999.