|Pictured: Whitney as I like to remember her, in sleek white one shoulder gown. Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty|
Last night was Clive Davis’ pre Grammy gala here in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton. The evening, designed to be a celebration for the music industry’s annual celebration, was marred by sad news. Singer Whitney Houston died yesterday afternoon in her suite at the hotel. The singer had been in Los Angeles all week and had even performed with Kelly Price at Tru in Hollywood on Thursday night. At this time, no cause of death has been determined and the Beverly Hilton is a sea of paparazzi seeking photos and fans holding vigil. I actually had hoped that rumors of her death were just that rumor, since it had been reported before and been revealed to be a hoax. Sadly, that was not to be the case.
I’ll always love Whitney’s music, and like most of the world, I’m so sad to hear this news. Like many fans, I hoped her 2009 “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” single demonstrated that Whitney’s battle with addiction had come to an end. I really hoped she wasn’t built to break. But in the end she was all too human. It was heartbreaking to watch this beautiful woman go on tour in 2009 and be less than perfect. Her voice was often raspy and she no longer hit many of the high notes she once had. The British press dubbed her appearances “shambolic” and fans walked out. But even at her worst, she was better than so many entertainers. As a style icon, we watched her evolve from a young girl with big hair and 80s big shoulder pads to match, to a sleeker diva with couture outfits and an array of wigs coordinated for each look. The girl who at one time had modeled and graced the covers of Glamour and Seveteen magazines had come a long way.
Last night at the Clive Davis party the mood was somber. Blogger Soul Bounce reported that Alicia Keyes urged ” everyone to sing “No One” into the heavens for Whitney.” Tony Bennett sang,” How Do You Keep the Music Playing.” Tonight, Jennifer Hudson and Chaka Khan are set to honor Whitney at the Grammys. I’m looking forward to the tribute. I hope her death brings people to a new realization of her talent and the incredible voice she had. Like Judy Garland, Billie Holiday, Michael Jackson, she is gone too soon. RIP Dear Whitney.