The shocking news that singer Whitney Houston has died at the age of 48 is just breaking. I may have more to say about her death as more becomes known, though I found this excerpt from an especially thoughtful Associated Press article by Nekesa Mumbi Moody particularly interesting:
“Her decision not to follow the more soulful inflections of singers like Franklin drew criticism by some who saw her as playing down her black roots to go pop and reach white audiences. The criticism would become a constant refrain through much of her career. She was even booed during the “Soul Train Awards” in 1989. Sometimes it gets down to that, you know?” she told Katie Couric in 1996. “You’re not black enough for them. I don’t know. You’re not R&B enough. You’re very pop. The white audience has taken you away from them.”
Though I never had the pleasure of meeting her, I met one of her producers at a club in New York and heard wonderful things about her talent. I remember the thrill of hearing her fresh new music when it debuted with her self-titled album, pictured above. As her troubled career spiraled, I found myself wishing she would be her own “Greatest Love of All,” as she sang the song from The Greatest, and truly love herself. This is sad news. I last wrote about Whitney Houston – whose work was phenomenal and deserving of the highest praise – in a review of her last album, which is posted here.