JASON REYNOLDS

writin' and whatnot

My final, final, final note on Whitney

So, this is my final, final, final note on the late, legend, Whitney Houston. I know, most of you are either thinking, "Enough with the Whitney commentary," or, "Wait, Jason, you havent said anything about her yet." No I haven't , but I have in my head. I just haven't had time to write about it, not to mention, I too have grown weary of the propaganda machine and wasn't sure if I really wanted to contribute any thoughts at all. But alas... this my LAST (and only) two cents.

I don't want to talk about the drugs, etc. Not really important, and there isn't much to learn from that, other than what we already know from our corny D.A.R.E. assemblies (80's babies), and even moreso through our many lost loved ones.

But there is something far greater to learn from Whitney's death. The one thing people such as Kevin Costner, and many others keep pointing out, is her push for perfection and her struggle with not being able to perform the way she used to, due to the depreciation of her voice over time. Can you imagine being a piano player and suddenly your fingers don't work? Can you imagine being a dancer, but your ankles have grown brittle? Even as a writer, I don't know what I'd do if I could no longer express myself though words - language. Apparently, Whitney sufferered from the fall from grace, not only in public image, but also in professional skill, a skill that perched her atop a mountain of greatness for years, and turned her into a musical aphrodite.

No one can sing "I Will Always Love You," like Whitney. Including Whitney herself, later in her career. The pressure and stress of maintaing relevance, and performing at a perfect level most have been thick enough to suffocate her.

And I can relate. Not to the degree she was going through it, of course,  but there have been times where I've sat in an open mic, and heard the next best thing ripping the mic apart, and realized that I've lost a step, or that there's a budding new generation of shiners on the rise, with a new, more evolved style. Or even when I write my novels, and I second guess my diction, my stories, and ultimately my purpose, swearing nothing is as good as the last thing I wrote. When I've felt untrained, unprepared, unqualified, though I've been granted every opportunity I've ever wanted. It's real. So real.

But there's a lesson in this, from Whitney, and I've been processing it since before her death, but I'd be lying if I said her demise didn't drive it home even more for me. It's simple.

WHAT WE DO AND WHO WE ARE HAVE TO REMAIN TWO SEPARATE THINGS. 

What we do, can change. But who we are HAS to be solid, so that we aren't changed in the process.

The worst thing Whitney ever did (in my opinion) was become a fan of herself. We knew her as "Whitney the singer," and unfortunately, she began to only know herself as that, as well.