Feeling Bad About This Image I Made

Posted: February 19, 2012 by chuckspears in Art, life, Music, Pop Culture
Tags: , , , ,

I had no way of knowing

I made this image back in 2008 for a photoshop contest on Cracked.com with the theme of how big companies are diversifying in a volatile economy,  way before it was possible to know two out of three of these world renowned singers would have passed on in tragic ways. I mean it’s clear that they were troubled and dealing with demons I don’t even want to imagine having to contend with, but it was all in fun while they were still alive and relatively healthy. The only reason I bring this up is because in looking at my stats in Photobucket I couldn’t help but notice this was the most popular image for the last week; by a lot. This isn’t how I want Whitney remembered. But I still find it funny as hell.

Whitney Houston had one of the most amazing voices in R&B music and she was a class act in her early career, so elegant and undeniably beautiful. I remember when her first album Whitney Houston came out on Arista Records in 1985, the art nouveau design with the orange/peace backdrop, the regal and elegant photo in a cream/white dress and the months on end that my mother played it non-stop. Well she might have snuck in a Luther Vandross or Michael Jackson album just to switch it up, but Whitney would be playing before you knew it. It was clear why, there was an innocence in that album, the dance songs were fun and a little flirtatious, but not raunchy and the ballads were mind blowing. The producers knew just what to do with her voice to make listeners really feel something. Looking at the credits now it’s no wonder, Jermaine Jackson, Teddy Pendergrass and Kashif were among the talents behind the project. Perhaps the best known song on that album was the remake of George Benson’s song the Greatest Love of All. So inspirational  and so powerfully performed. One Moment in Time was another powerful song, one I had to dance to  in my last year of elementary school, maybe for a random assembly but more likely for graduation. It was made for the 1988 olympics and was another song that spurned people towards the excellence inside them. Through her music she offered great advice for the youth of the world.

For a good deal of her career in the 80s there were rumors that she was a lesbian. The kind of scandalous gossip that preteens ate up like Now and Laters and David’s Sunflower Seeds around my way. But it was all squashed when we read in Word Up! and Right On that she was dating Bobby Brown from New Edition. My sisters always thought he was nasty. In this one New Edition video he was clearly grabbing a girls breast as he was walking  through a park with his arm around her shoulder. He was a bad boy and Whitney was an angel. This relationship was blossoming around the time Mike Tyson was married to Robin Givens, and they had similar reputations, the aggressive male from the hood and the sophisticated beauty from the burbs. America didn’t want to see Bobby and Whitney, maybe they were holding out the hope that Whitney and Michael Jackson would get together. Now that’s a universe I would have liked to live in, that seems like a special kind of dysfunction only two top pop stars could bring. But Whitney and Bobby looked like they were having a blast and rubbing it in the medias face. Yeah, he’s younger, yeah he’s rough around the edges, but he fills me with life and vitality. I saw them together in the mid-nineties on Hudson Street in Tribeca. My rap group was taking a break from a session and went to our favorite deli to get this vegetarian sandwich with avocados that the counter man “Chewie”always served up with a smile. Somehow I was the only one in the group that recognized them, they looked like they were having a blast standing outside of a fancy restaurant just shooting the shit. I didn’t see a problem at all.

I’m not going to beat you upside the head with the history of Whitney, you already know it. The Bodyguard, Waiting to Exhale, the Preachers’s Wife and let’s not forget the Barbara Walters interview. The ups and the downs. We were always pulling for Whitney, we always saw her as a shining star, and she was. Even at her worst. I used to want to curse these assholes that booed her when she wasn’t pitch perfect in some of her final performances. F*ck those people, you pay money to listen to autotune singers. Whitney you will be missed, along with Amy Winehouse and I’m praying for you Britney. Hopefully my stupid little picture isn’t to prophetic.

  1. sirdiggy says:

    Another great writeup, my dude. One that I would’ve shared on that other site had there not been a case of poor management, too much ego and too much perceived “power” mixed with a little immaturity. In my early teens I liked Whitney, but I had followed hip-hop more-so and I had checked out when the Bobby/Whitney marriage turned into super-drama. Up until now I could not still get my head around why she was drawn to him, but I think your personal observation and accounts shed some real light, especially in using Tyson/Givens as a comparison.

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