Today we honor and pay tribute to the late Whitney Houston. I, as many others, was crushed to learn of Houston’s death at age 48. Houston was a part of my youth. My ex-girlfriend, Beth and I would dance like crazy to her music while we were in college (Yes, before I acknowledged I was gay, I had a wonderful girlfriend of many years and am grateful we are still quite close).
Houston had such an amazing voice and appealed to such a broad spectrum of populations. She refused to be categorized, thus holding mass appeal in R&B, Pop, Soul, and even a few country music fans when she performed Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You, which earned great praise from Dolly.
Houston was an African-American woman of several “firsts”. She was the first black woman to be on the cover of 17 Magazine and she is the most awarded female recording act of all time–winning 415 awards. Houston receives credit for forcing MTV to become more friendly to Black artists. Her sound has influenced following generations of singers, as noted by Jennifer Hudson, who will be part of a tribute to Houston at tonight’s Grammy Awarrds: “Houston has been a big influence on me…none of us would sound the same if Aretha Franklin hadn’t ever put out a record, and then Whitney Houston hadn’t.” Houston paved the way for so many different women including: Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Toni Braxton, Lady Gaga, and the list goes on. TSM extends its condolences to Ms. Houston’s family.