Tribute to Whitney Houston from a young Caribbean woman

I, like millions of fans around the world, immediately went numb when I heard of the sudden passing of Whitney Houston on Saturday. I grew up in the 80s-90s to the sound of Whitney’s music. In fact, some of my all-time favourite songs are Whitney Houston songs. As a little girl, I remember singing off-key with my sister to greats like ‘The Greatest of Love of all” and “One Moment in Time”. I remember being mesmerized by her spine-tingling voice and incomparable elegance and beauty in music videos like “Run to you” and “I have nothing”. I remember movies like “The Bodyguard” and “Waiting to Exhale”.

News reports on her death constantly harp on her personal troubles. I choose to remember only the good things. Whitney Houston influenced a whole generation of singers around the world, including right here in the Caribbean.  Our very own Barbadian songstress Rihanna cited Whitney Houston as one of her idols. Whitney’s music touched people the world over, regardless of age, nationality, race or creed. But in addition to this, she was a powerful symbol of a strong, beautiful black woman who broke barrier after barrier and reached heights beyond belief. Singer, actress and mother, Whitney Houston was an example to many young black girls around the world that they can be successful once they dared to dream.

I cannot help but feel as though a part of my childhood has slipped away. For me, the most tragic part of Whitney’s passing was that she was so young (48) and still had so much more to give. While her earthly voice is silenced, I am thankful for the rich legacy of music she has left us, music which will live on for many generations to still enjoy. It is music which is reminiscent of a sadly lost era when the music industry was not purely consumed with image and sex appeal, but with genuine talent. Rest in peace, Whitney Houston. You will never be forgotten.

Alicia Nicholls is a trade policy specialist and law student at the University of the West Indies. You can contact her here or follow her on Twitter at @LicyLaw

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