whitney houston was a queer icon decades before the term became a marketing ploy. she was one of us before, during and after all of the rumors. confirmation was never required or desired from us – the gay boys who lip synced her songs when left alone in the room. we, the gay boys knew that the world would peck and pick it apart – the connection she had with us. the little gay boys.
i have distinct memories of singing “how will i know” as an 8 year-old for hours as i babysat for aunt janet while she out visiting her then boyfriend in prison. i remember knowing that “didn’t we almost have it all” was a song about loss and regret years before i experienced how polarizing that kind of pain can be. i remember a lot of my life in music and whitney’s voice is ever present.
i bought every album, every single. because that was my hobby. I memorized her every achievement because knowledge about divas was the only education i valued. when other boys talked about which football player scored the most touchdowns, i’d remind them that whitney held the record for the most consecutive #1 songs on the hot 100. SEVEN! and eleven chart topping singles in total.
whitney, singer, song writer, actor, producer, pioneer, icon and mother who was oh so beautifully human, died on february 11, 2012. whitney was one of the most successful recording artists of all time and rightfully regarded as the greatest vocalist of our lifetime. these are undisputed facts.
i still remember where i was, what i was doing and what i was wearing. i remember that intense feeling of lost and regret that reflectively asks “didn’t we almost have it all.”
there has been much conversation about whitney’s loves, feelings and all of the things she kept to herself. All the parts of herself that the world says she kept a “secret.” i have no opinion, really. i am grateful for the soundtrack she generously shared with the world even when it didn’t deserve it. and i am filled with gratitude that i got exist on this earth the same time to witness her greatness in real time. And I know parts of me are saved because her voice reached that little lonely gay boy dancing in the dark.
rest well, whitney.