It's really hard to write about someone you didn't know at all, but whose death has affected you. I feel that way about Whitney Houston (heck, I feel that way about Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson and Jonathan Brandis, but I didn't have a blog during those times, so I was left to my own resources of catharsis).
Whitney Houston was the first woman that my sister's and I emulated. "I Wanna Dance (With Somebody)" was the first 45rpm record that I bought with my own money (she won out against Debbie Gibson's "Out of the Blue"). We would sing all of the songs from Whitney, belting out "The Greatest Love of All", really off-key while jumping, not to hard because we didn't want the record to skip, on the bed, using hairbrushes as microphones, taking turns being the background, Solid Gold-like, dancers and the lead.
I'm sure that I am not the only woman of color who found, in Whitney Houston, a powerful role-model, in my tiny home town there seemed to be so few that I could have direct access to and I recognized in Whitney Houston strength and power.
I gotta tell you that I watched "The Bodyguard", just as much for her as Kevin Costner and, sorry Kevin, the soundtrack became a background to the last couple of years of my high school career, and it is the soundtrack that I took with me to college and it is the soundtrack that I still listen to over and over and over.
For the record, I never saw the realty show that really made her kind of a household joke and I never saw her in concert. So, the memories I have of her are from the 80s and 90s through the lenses of my teen and pre-teen brain...I kind of like it that way.
I miss the person she was and the person she had the potential to become, as we all have room to change and grow.
I am sorry that she had whatever demons she had.
To me it doesn't matter the cause of death (of course, it's sadder when it is at their own hand or because of their own addictions), I am sorry that another one of my childhood heroes is gone.
My heart goes out to her family and friends.