HOUSTON, February 22, 2012 – Without a doubt Whitney Houston’s voice and musical talent was phenomenal. But like all of us, she had her faults. Unlike all of us however, she had plenty of money to fund her failings, and exorbitant pressures to exacerbate and fuel them.
Many gossip columnists have speculated as to the cause of her death. Many of her ex-colleagues have pointed fingers. Her family is grief stricken, and her friends determined to remember the happier times. We all watch, and pray for her daughter Bobbi Kristini, reported to be struggling with drug abuse as well.
And while we may have all recognized that Houston was an icon in the USA, she also had an impact abroad. Below is a collection of quotes and reminisces from around the globe.
Whether we realized it while she lived or not – from the richest nations to the poorest and most war-torn countries – Whitney Houston changed the world.
Just two months before Houston’s death, the choir of Kenya’s Humble Hearts School for the Deaf, were inspired by the pop icon to sing her song, “I Love The Lord.”
On February 16, Ghana Web News reported the following African tribute to Houston:
“Channel O Africa has joined the world in honoring the legendary singer, Whitney Houston who passed away on Saturday, 11 February. Africa Remembers Whitney Houston is Channel O’s collaboration with some of the continent’s well-known artists, to record a tribute to the fallen musical diva, which will be aired on the channel.
Some of the artists who are part of this tribute include Nigeria’s Tiwa Savage, who has done backing vocals for Whitney Houston, South Africa’s Lira and Leanne, Maurice Kirya from Uganda, Efya from Ghana, Darey and Banky W also from Nigeria. The segment, which will be aired on the channel throughout the weekend, includes a heartfelt biographical account of Whitney’s life in music, recorded with Channel O VJ, Joey from Kenya.”
“Whitney Houston …Words cannot express what my heart is feeling right now. RIP ‘The Voice’”
- Nigeria artist Tiwa Savage, via Twitter
The following is an interview by Communities @WashingtonTimes.com correspondent correspondent James Picht recorded during a community gathering of Ukrainian people, including an elderly woman named Olena, a man named Igor, and two teenage girls.
Picht: Were you fond of Whitney Houston?
First Girl: Of course! Everyone here listened to her. She had a wonderful voice and was a great talent.
Olena: Ukrainians know Whitney, of course. We listen to her recordings a lot, and we’ve heard a lot of them this week.
First Girl: Her death is a terrible tragedy.
Igor: She had a great gift, but she wasted it at the end. [Looking very indignantly at the young people]. She used narcotics [drugs].
First Girl: But you can’t judge her on that. [Young men nodding agreement.]
Igor: [Emphatically] She wasted her talent. She used drugs. [Igor stalked off at this point, clearly angry.]
Picht: Did you watch her funeral?
First Girl: Yes, it was very (something I can’t quite figure out).
Second Girl: How did you see it? When?
First Girl: Last night. It was on foreign TV.
Olena: I didn’t watch it at all. But I loved her voice. It was very strong. [She addresses Picht] Didn’t you love her music? Elton John was class. But so many of the great singers have died young, like Michael Jackson.
Picht: Do you have any memories of listening to Whitney Houston? Did her music mean anything to you?
First Girl: Well I’ve always known her music. It’s American. [Much nodding agreement from the other young people.]
Olena [agreeing]: Your music is what I’ve always liked about America, and Whitney was your best.
“Dedicated this morning to the beautiful Whitney. Listening to her greatest hits while getting ready. She’s the voice I grew up on.”
- Actress and vocalist, Priyanka Chopra, via Twitter
“And we waste so much time on inconsequential aspects of life. Criticism, cynicism, voyeuristic. Live your life so you don’t miss it. Whitney R.I.P.”
- Actor, Shah Rukh Khan, via Twitter
“Another sad news this morning. Such things make you think how much for granted we take our lives. The loss of one of the greatest voices of all time!! R.I.P. Whitney Houston. I will always love you.”
- Actor and director, Akshay Kumar, via Facebook
“In Egypt Whitney Houston is remembered by her famous movie The Body Guard. The official papers were concerned more about her death than one Egypt’s most famous activists/thinkers Galal Amer.
A lot of people here criticized the media that was broadcasting her songs and her famous movies for few days.”
- Communities @WashingtonTimes.com correspondent, Anwaar Abdalla
“Long before YouTube gave us instant access to all of our favorite music, my older sister and I would wait for the videos of our preferred artists to appear on televised music countdowns and record them on a videocassette so we could watch them over and over again. We would replay the tunes on the family room VCR and, along with our younger sister, often try to mimic the notes and dance moves of our most-loved musicians.
“When I learned of Whitney Houston’s death, my mind almost instantly turned to that videotape because there was a song of hers that we had recorded on it and, at one stage when I was about 13-14 years old, I watched it repeatedly. It was called ‘Miracle’.
“The holding power a great song has over the course of one’s lifetime is remarkable. Hearing it, we instantly tune back to the moment its effect was most palpable.”
- The Express Tribune columnist, Daliah Merzaban
Former Iraq correspondent, Maryam Zar, of The Huffington Post, remembers a singular car trip with her Iraqi friend and guide, a 24 year old veteran who had been a volunteer fighter in Iran’s army against the onslaught of Saddam’s forces in the Iran-Iraq war just six years before.
“One afternoon, he showed up at my place of work waiting outside in his rickety, but freshly washed, car. I got in. He abruptly pushed a tape into the cassette player mounted to the dashboard of a 1970’s domestic car, and glanced over at me with a broad grin. He was a burly man, with a dark beard and full mustache that belied the kind heart inside. He had small but piercing eyes, a big face and a winning smile.
As his eyes started to light-up with the glimmer of tears Whitney Houston began crooning her Bodyguard movie theme song for us. ‘Have you seen this movie?’ he asked. ‘No,’ though I had. ‘Why?’ I said.
He recounted for me the story of the bodyguard and how he protected the heroine in the movie to his best ability, then finally had to let her go because their two worlds could never intermingle. ‘I am your bodyguard,’ he said. In hindsight, I sure needed one - and he was surely resourceful enough to keep me away from IRI harm.”
“I listened to Whitney Huston as a teenager behind the Iron Curtain. Her voice and persona seemed so beautiful then. ‘One Moment in Time’ made a specially strong impression. She was a visible manifestation of America and of freedom for many of us. May God have mercy on her soul.”
- Communities @WashingtonTimes.com correspondent, Vasko Kohlmayer
“For days, here in France, the sound of her voice could be heard coming from open apartment windows, car stereos, and in the restaurants at closing time. I was surprised to see how many younger French kids know the lyrics to her songs.”
- Communities @WashingtonTimes.com correspondent, Ivan Ilić
About Jennifer Grassman:
Singer, songwriter and pianist, Jennifer Grassman is an award-winning recording artist based in Houston, Texas. Subscribe by RSS feed and read more from Jennifer at www.JenniferGrassman.com. You can follow Jennifer on @Jgrassman or Facebook.com/JenniferGrassmanMusic
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