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Dear Whitney Houston, You Were the Voice of My Generation

I don’t understand at all and it’s not registering in my head fully that you’re really gone, Whitney.

Whitney HoustonI screamed when I found out. I literally screamed as I saw on TMZ.com “Whitney Houston Dies at 48.” I refreshed the page because surely, they’ll take it back. They didn’t. How are you gone? HOW? I just saw your pics on YBF two days ago coming out of a club with your wig askew. And I muttered “Oh Whitney.” Now? I’m repeating the same thing for different reasons. Whitney… Oh Whitney…

You were the voice of my generation and my childhood. Who didn’t sing (or try to anyway) one of your ballads into a hairbrush? “Bittersweet memories. That is all I’m taking with meeeeeeee.” I used to sing that when I was like 10, knowing I had none yet. As a little girl, I loved the pretty brown lady with the curls and the great voice. And you know we all had to sing “I believe in you and me” for one of our elementary school assemblies. When I started getting an allowance and paying for stuff myself, one of the first things I bought was the “My Love is Your Love” CD and I played it til it skipped. And now, the song of that name is the hardest thing for me to listen to.

Someone tweeted “If tomorrow was judgment day (sing mommy)” and the moment I read that last night, my eyes welled up and my cheeks stayed wet for 10 minutes. Gahtdambit, Whitney. Today isn’t supposed to be that day for you. I didn’t expect you to live forever, but I thought we’d have you at 90 years old, still snatching the wigs of folks who tried to come for you. Still with that grace under fire and sass that made you tell Diane Sawyer to “show you the receipts.” In fact, bless you for even giving us that phrase. I use it at least twice every day to tell people they need more proof or the devil is a LIE.

Your legacy is so big and your accomplishments so numerous. You won 415 awards total, including 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards, 6 Grammys, 2 Emmys, and a gang of others. But that undeniable voice! THAT. VOICE.

“I hope life treats you kind and I hope you have all you’ve dreamed of. And I wish you, joy and happiness. But above all this, I wish you love.”

Your voice sounded like it was coated with the unicorn tears and tickled with Phoenix feathers. You’d sing and I’d wanna kick down every chair in a one mile radius. Nawl, you’d SANG and I’d wanna just holy ghost stomp for Jesus and Allah and Vishnu. Your version of the star-spangled banner even made me wanna relinquish my Nigerian citizenship. It was THAT damb good! That voice you had was surely a gift from God and thank you for sharing it with us. Yes, that awesome voice took a hit in recent years but we never forgot how it was. How could we?

wanna dance with somebody

Getchu some of Whitney's Curly Wig!

You’re not supposed to be gone yet because you were still fighting to live. You were still living loudly. Maybe this is why your passing hit me harder than Michael Jackson’s. I can’t fully articulate how this affected me, and why I cried so much having never met you. Maybe it’s because your life’s work is all in my iTunes. Nary a week went by when I didn’t listen to a Whitney song. I still bust into random solo jam sessions of “Dance with somebody” and jig like my wallet depended on it. I’ve barely updated my iTunes since 2010, but no dambs were given because I have most of your discography in there.

I’m not about this whole “growing up and losing my childhood” life. I AM NOT! I don’t want you legends whose work helped raise me to keep leaving like this! I hate how history perpetually repeats itself with the greats. You come and grace us with your presence and gifts, do some epic things and leave quickly. And we’re left going “But wait. We weren’t done with you.” It’s like you and the others are so epic, the Earth couldn’t hold on to you for too long.

48. I feel cheated, Whitney. And I can’t possibly imagine how Bobbi Kristina feels. Lord, please give that child strength.

Whitney Elizabeth Houston, Bobbi Kristina’s mother, Cissy’s daughter – I really hope you’re resting in perfect paradise. You gave us an amazing gift with your gift and you’ve left a permanent mark on this Earth. I pray for strength for those closest to you.

I was “So Emotional” when I found out, because “It’s not right, but it’s okay” that you’re gone so soon. You were taken in just “One Moment in Time” and I’m *wall sliding* in a “Heartbreak Hotel.” You were the “Queen of the Night”, Whitney, and you’ve slipped away just like that. For the soundtrack of my childhood and the growing me, “I Look to You” and for this and much more, “I Will Always Love You.”

I still can’t fully grasp this.

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  1. Dinasty
    February 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    No other celeb’s death has affected me the way Whitney’s has. Now I see what all of the others were going through.

    I’m wall-sliding (in my bed) and just asking, “Why, though? Why?” It was just so sudden, especially after the pics of her coming out of the club looking like the sweaty Nippy we all know and love to cut a fool with.

    The sad part about our generation getting older, is that our icons we looked up to are now getting older, and are beginning to pass on. Sad that there will be more, and nothing we can do about it.

    But 48, though? Man, when Mariah goes…… I’m gonna shut myself in my room and listen to I Can’t Live (If Living Is Without You) on repeat in some pumas, cut off jeans, and a flannel shirt. I already know. And Toni…!

    Jesus, let me get out of your post.

  2. jaydedblu20
    February 12, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    this is an amazing tribute luvvie. its hard to belive that she’s gone. between michael and whitney’s death, it feels like i’ve lost a chunk of my childhood.
    watcing these tributes on bet and mtv jamz, i can’t help but to cry like a baby. knowing that true talent no longer exists, makes the pain even worse. what lil girl didn’t run around the house singing ‘i’m every woman’ or ‘you give good love’, the movies she made. all the good stuff.

    so what she had her demons? who doesn’t have them? she fought them and fought hard. it was just her time. but i will never forget her. because without her, there would be no beyonce, adele,etc.

    i miss you whitney, you will always be remembered. just pray for her family, esp bobbi kristina. the worst feeling in the world
    is too lose a parent.

  3. Tiffanie
    February 12, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Thank you for this tribute. I’ve been crying on and off since hearing the news. Whitneyyyyyyyyy! I just can’t. She was so many things and yeah this death hits me harder than MJ’s and his knocked me out too. It’s just, IDK so much. #RIPWhitney

  4. Janico44
    February 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Poignant and simply beautiful. Thank you, Luvvie.

  5. blazian5
    February 12, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    I feel you on the reaction. I happened to be at my parents’ when my mom randomly turned on CNN. I saw the bottom of the screen and screamed, reaching out for the tv as if doing that would allow us to hold onto her a little bit longer. I thought she was on the rough road to recovery and it never crossed my mind that she might go too soon. I will take the memory of watching Whitney coverage and videos with my parents til the wee hours of the morning for the rest of my life.

  6. B. Sanders
    February 12, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Dear Luvvie,

    Thank you articulating everything I’m feeling and more. I’m so tired of folks questioning my grief for Whitney. She made a lasting impression on me and I was rooting mightily for her in the “comeback choir” through it all!

    I am proud to say I was a card carrying member of the Whitney Houston Fan Club. It used to be the Whitney Houston Platinum Fan Club and then the name was changed in 2007 due to her struggles. I was incensed and let her management know that I still considered her very worthy of PLATINUM STATUS and how dare you guys project anything less to my princess? I received a beautiful note from Whitney thanking me for my staunch support. I have that note and all my WH fan club items in a very visible location in my home. I’m a STAN for life. That’s what’s up!

    Whitney … You were loved, you were loved, you were loved.

  7. luxurylatte
    February 12, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Listen…. I found out last night while i was out having dinner in the Castro with friends (SF… Google if if ya dont know lol). By the time we left, the entire spot was talking about Whitney in hushed tones. The clubs were putting her music in rotation. Drag queens were already paying tribute. Men were shouting her name out the window. And all I could do was cry. I mean, my 5th grade class sang “Greatest Love of All” as part of our graduation exercise. And we all got a relative like Whitney in our fam. She was a great talented diva I could identify with. And now she’s gone. Sniff….

  8. Bukky
    February 12, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Luvvie, this is the best tribute post I’ve read. I’m really still in disbelief about this because it really doesn’t make sense in my head. Ms. Nippy is gone?! Its a lie! I truly loved her for her voice (which was adorned with unicorn tears and phoenix feathers), her sassiness, and her fight. She will be missed.

    • Bukky
      February 12, 2012 at 1:58 pm

      And that gif gives me LIFE! My absolute fave Whitney song and video, all those neon colors!!

  9. Mrs.Reed
    February 12, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    I still can’t believe it! Whitney I love you.

  10. webbofcomedy
    February 12, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Awesome tribute, Luvvie! Whitney and MJ were the soundtrack of my childhood. My tear ducts have been working overtime ever since I heard the news. I’m still in disbelief. Thank you for putting in words what sooo many people are feeling.

  11. MrsTDJ
    February 12, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Im still crying, I I thank you for putting my feelings (and those of so many others) ino words. Miss you already Nippy!!

  12. February 12, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Whitney was a diva who did not treat her fans like a non-issue. No matter how famous and stellar she became, she put her arms around fans, took pictures with them, and treated them with the respect humans deserved.

    Regardless of her problems, she was an amazing, spectacular, and stunning performer who put others in her shadow. Even when she re-made a song, the original performer had to show much respect, and yet, she endeared herself to them to the point where they would perform with her (CHAKA KHAN!)

    I was rooting for you, Whitney, and now I will be praying for your soul – may it be at peace, free from the demons that tortured it, able to soar as high as possible. A special prayer for Cissy – who lost a daughter and friend, and Bobbi Christina, who seems to be taking the loss very hard. God please hold her close to you now and watch over her and those who will love and care for her.

    Thank you, Luvvie. This is a beautiful tribute.

  13. Erin
    February 12, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Beautiful, Luvvie. This post made it clear to me just how long Miss Whitney reigned. See…I was in college when I Will Always Love You came out. But I have the exact same childhood memory of the hairbrush singing. Our songs were Saving All My Love and Greatest Love of All…but we loved her as much then as you did many years later. Very few artists have that kind of staying power. RIP Whitney. And thank you for an awesome tribute, Luvvie.

  14. a frequent lurker
    February 12, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    What a beautifully written tribute. Whitney Houston. Rest in peace.

  15. February 12, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    Beautiful tribute Luvvie. (As a tear rolls down my face.) Thank you for saying what I feel. For as long as I had music. I had Whitney. I still can’t believe she’s gone.

  16. February 13, 2012 at 7:18 am

    […] me some kinda hard.  I’m having trouble putting it all into words.  I blogger who I heart, Awesome Luvvie did a pretty fabulous job though.  Me thinks I’m a little older than she, so I’ll […]

  17. Elle
    February 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I’m a longtime lurker and your letter brought me to tears. We sang “When You Believe” in my children’s choir growing up, and “The Greatest Love of All” at my 8th grade promotion. I never thought I would see Whitney gone like this….

    • February 13, 2012 at 3:39 pm

      Thanks, Elle. and I appreciate you delurking for the occasion. Don’t be a stranger.

  18. February 13, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    great post. i’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this too. surreal!

  19. yadi
    February 14, 2012 at 9:48 am

    beautifully written, u have captured my sentiments exactly. i truly did a wall slide for Whitney no shade, a real wall slide. i had to fight back tears. i was rooting for Whitney. there will NEVER be another lady like Miss Whitney…and u are right Luvvie “show me the receipts” has been a classic ever since she uttered it…only Whitney!!

  20. yadi
    February 14, 2012 at 9:56 am

    omg, the funeral?! if they decide to do a non-public funeral i guess i’ii have to respect it but it would be nice to able to see and say goodbye to Whitney!

  21. Thard2006
    February 15, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    i miss her too..the 1st tape i had in the 80’s and played it till it popped…it was my moms tape. My heart is heavy, but will continue to play her Just like the other Angels we have lost too soon… Aaliyah, Luther, Teena, Left Eye, and so many more.

  22. me
    February 17, 2012 at 5:57 am


  23. shiv
    February 17, 2012 at 6:06 am

    fuck she’s gone 🙁

  24. CFAgbata
    February 17, 2012 at 6:09 am

    Wow never expected her to go at such a young age. What a great waste of talent.

  25. May 2, 2012 at 12:21 am

    As in the words of Rick James, “Cocaine is a hell of a drug.”

    Did you hear about this?


  26. brooke
    November 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    whitney was beautiful…still makes me sad to think of this

    her music will live on http://vevo.ly/VPMh9X

  27. Gregg Juarez
    February 3, 2013 at 11:52 am

    almost a year now and i still think of her often . I hope only good things for bobbi k . whitney was so special. truly special