Whitney Houston passed away on 11th February, 2012. We all know the legend that was and always will be, Whitney Houston. Unfortunately, like so many talented artists whose personal lives wreak havoc on their careers, her death brings extra sadness to many. Whitney achieved unmatched heights in her career, an accolade which is cemented by the fact that she is the most awarded female act of all time, according to the Guinness World Records.
However in recent years these triumphs were overshadowed with instances like her rash public outbursts (which were (of course) eagerly captured by the press), her tumultuous marriage with singer, Bobby Brown and her battle with drugs which gave birth to her now infamous line, ‘crack is wack’.
But before all that, there was the legend that was Whitney Houston and like other iconic artists like Prince, Madonna and Michael Jackson, my fondest memories of her are from the 80’s. I am especially sentimental when it comes to Whitney because as a child my father would often play her debut album, ‘Whitney Houston’, and I remember picking up the album cover for the first time and being in great awe of the beautiful and regal creature in front of me, who was so slender and possessed that great voice-
Whitney Houston is not a name I would list as a ‘style icon’, however although she didn’t have the fashion trailblazing streak of her fellow 80’s colleagues like say Annie Lennox or Cindy Lauper; I feel that fashion-wise she did have some iconic moments. Style-wise, my favourite video of hers was her 1985 hit, ‘How Will I Know’. I look at that video today, and still marvel at the great use of colour, what the female dancers wore, her classic Pop 80’s, candy-coloured makeup and that statement bow-
I love her look in this video so much that I recently paid tribute to its colourful nature and that statement bow-
There was a time when I couldn’t pick up a paper without seeing pictures of Whitney where she was striking out at the press or generally looking majorly worse for wear. And at those times I would have flashbacks of when she looked like this in the classic, ‘white vest and blue denim jeans’ combo-
If I was ever told to write a list that encapsulated The Soundtrack to my Childhood, Whitney’s, ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’, would definitely be on that list. I first saw the video when I was 9 years old when I lived in Port Harcourt, Nigeria in the days when I had no cable. And at that time, little joys gave way to great excitement, and I rememer this video and Madonna’s, ‘La Isla Bonita’ were constantly played on our local TV.
One of my other favourite looks of Whitney was what she wore in her debut movie, ‘The Bodyguard’ (1992), when she sang, ‘Don’t Walk Away From Me’. I have searched high and low for a full length image to illustrate the decadent mixture of Black PVC meets Warrior Princess in a notorious drag queen’s club in Queen’s, but was unsuccessful-
I remember in my first year of uni, a track came on with a beat and attitude that caused me to wreak havoc on the dance floor and when I asked my friend who the singer was and she replied, Whitney Houston, I didn’t believer her. In fact we then proceeded to have a full blown argument on the dance floor because I was adamant that, that fresh, ‘trendy’ sound couldn’t be Whitney (who I associated with a more classic sound). Well, my friend was right and the sung turned out to be, ‘It’s Not Right But It’s Okay’ released from her ‘comeback’ album, ‘My Love Is Your Love’.
I remember watching the video for the first time and having to resort to ghetto mode by pumping one fist in the air and saying, ‘You Go Guuurl!!!’-
I especially love the hair and makeup she had at this time–
Finally, I’ll leave you with one of her great live performances, in these days of auto-tune and female artists having to show us what they last had for dinner when they perform. It’s great to remember that when one is blessed with great talent, one doesn’t need to resort to gimmicks, bells and whistles to catch and hold our attention. This got me through my GCSE’s. Corny but true. R.I.P Whit, There will never be ‘The Next Whitney Houston’, there can only be the Whitney Houston.