When a celebrity passes away, you hate to make it about you. It's their family, their legacy, their life. But then again, all you really have left is their work and how it affected you. So I found myself both reflective and saddened at the sudden passing of Whitney Houston Saturday.
Because along with the sorrow for a life lost too young, a light extinguished too soon, I also felt inconsolably nostalgic. Major artists from the soundtrack of my "younger years" are gone. But instead of waxing poetic and morbid about the loss, I thought I'd share some of my life moments that were literally soundtracked by a few artists no longer with us.
1980something - On the highway between Dallas and Atlanta. Heading to my older brother's graduation from Emory. BougieDad insisted on heading out on road trips at the crack of dawn so we'd been in the car since two freakin' a.m. It was midday and we were over the wonder of the car trip. If we could have whined "Are we there yet?" without punishment, we would have. We were pretty much on punishment for everything having worked our parents' nerves to the nub. We had long since given up on finding music we could all agree on until the last bathroom stop before Atlanta. As the first one back to the car, I dug into my bag and pulled out the "Off The Wall" cassette (yes, cassette) and popped it in. When we got back on the road, "Rock with You" soared from the speakers. One by one, we each started singing along. Peace was restored. Thanks Michael!
1992 - Austin, Texas. It was $.25 drink night for the ladies at Club X. (I know, I know) For some diggity damn reason, your girl decided that tequila shots on nothing but a Jack in the Box taco and two tortilla chips was a good idea. I was rocking a forest green suede mini-skirt with a matching silk blouse and sky high pumps that were purple and green snakeskin. I was so fly. (Yes I said fly) Any damn way, "Now That We Found Love" by Heavy D came on and some dude that I only knew by the name of Mac asked me to dance. Keep in mind, I've always been a serial two-step shuffle-shuffle hip shake shimmy-shimmy snap it up with a head bop kind of dancer. But oh no, not this evening. This evening I decided to get my New Jack on. I was hopping and skipping and high kicking like I was auditioning to be a House Party extra. Boobs defying gravity, hair frizzing up a la Chaka and ruining my "no water needed" outfit. And of course I fell out. Le Splat in the middle of the dance floor. Combination of pumps too high, moves too complicated, and girl too drunk. Just so happened the guy I had just broken up with was there and he carted my brokedown behinds out of there. Every time I hear that song, I get tempted to try that routine again. Then I hold myself back and bop my head. Thanks Heavy.
2000 - Alameda, CA. Me and the on-again off-again beau were off. Bitterly off. He was coming by so I could speak my peace (again). Being a bit dramatical, I decide to set a mood. Lights were off, candles were lit and I was dressed in all black. I put Whitney's "I Learned From The Best" on repeat and moved one of the speakers upstairs so that no corner of the house would miss a single word of her message. By the time dude got there, I was in rare form. I went on a quite, well-worded rant that lasted ten straight minutes without a pause for breath. Then he went in. We fell silent as the song played over and over. Finally, he shot me a look and said, "If you don't want me here, I'm gone." I slammed the door behind him and sang that song about five times in a row at the top of my lungs. When I was done, I was done. Thanks Whitney.
I keep imaging a jam session with Whitney, Michael, Marvin and Tupac. Donny and Ray on the piano and Sam Cooke doing the arrangement? Billie and Nat tapping a foot from a seat on the side? That's platinum.
Gotta favorite #WhitneySoundtrackMoment? Favorite Whitney song? Do share...