The emotions were high and undoubtedly palpable; various people, including family, celebrated Whitney Houston’s life in a way that remembered her for the timeless music that her masterful talent produced. At first, I thought about writing a long extended piece about it because I was completely enveloped in her spirit and music. Instead, I will share a few thoughts out of respect for that moment that my mere words will never be able to recap or relive. In fact, here is the performance for those who may have missed it. Do yourself a favor and spend roughly twenty minutes remembering Whitney Houston, regardless if you are a fan or not.
- Mariah Carey: Awkward opening, saved by the moment in which she choked up, saying, “I miss my friend.” Tears would have started the tribute at an unbelievably emotional level, not that the level wasn’t already astronomical.
- Monica: Her soulful rendition, backed by a choir, of “I Love the Lord” let everyone in attendance and watching around the world know that we were privy to something special that night.
- Brandy: Fitting that two of the better singers of my generation were tapped for this tribute. Brandy brought a playful energy as she sang and danced like Whitney, especially during, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.”
- Gary Houston: At first, I was not sure who he was. His name and identity didn’t matter because I could feel the love as he sang, “I Love You Back To Life Everyday.” The mood shifted, feeling much more serious after the fun dance moves and songs. That moment elevated the emotional pitch, which the varied voices with each performance pushed upward. Then he introduced their mother…
- Cissy Houston: Admittedly, I did not know that the Houstons were all singers; I did not know that Cissy was an acclaimed vocalist. Once again, it did not matter. No parent should have to bury his/her child…and that pain poured through her woeful eyes and resonated in her unsteady voice, ebbing and flowing as her emotions undoubtedly did during that moment.
- Cast of Waiting to Exhale: Angela Basett stole the moment from the other two with her beauty and strength. She pronounced that Whitney “had laid [her burdens] down” with such authority that I felt a chill of belief course through my body.
- Chaka Khan: Finally healed from surgery, Chaka Khan looked amazing as she strolled around the stage belting out the high notes of “I’m Every Woman” with the confidence that the song engenders.
Well done, BET. *Standing ovation*
Rest in Peace, Power, and Love, Whitney Houston. You will live forever through your music!