Truth be told, I didn’t watch the live screening of Whitney Houston’s burial on CNN this past weekend. I did later catch up on some clips the next day. And of all the tributes by various celebrities and family friends, Kevin Costner’s really touched me the most. This is really strange seeing that his flop movie Waterworld really hurt my feelings when I borrowed it from the video club back in the day. He redeemed himself a bit in the flick 3000 Miles to Graceland; but let it be known – MJ is the king.
But jokes aside, I had done my own private mourning on week of her passing. I was grouchy at work, and kept on replaying “The Preacher’s Wife Soundtrack” on my work PC. Even my manager knew to leave me be. At least I wasn’t Facebooking on company time.
To make matters worse, the day after the sad news of her passing broke, I got to work and stumbled into an argument between some of my co-workers. A few of these new school juveniles were comparing Beyonce to Whitney. I laughed in Mbaise Igbo ( trust me it sounds like a Coke counter scrapping the floor). No disrespect to Mama Blue Ivy, but that is like comparing Uncle Ben’s rice to Abakiliki rice (with stones inside). And besides Whitney is the better actress. Haha.
Why was Whitney special? I am not going to bore y’all by spewing what you have probably heard this past weeks about what a talent she was. Okay, sorry, I will actually have to bore you. Whitney could ‘sang’. And I have not gotten my tenses wrong; she could ‘sang’, the way Ron Isley, Mary J Blige and Jill Scott can ‘sang.” I don’t know if any Nigerian artist can ‘sang”; I know a few that can ‘sung’, but I no go name names o. Today is about Whitney.
You see the problem with some of these new singers is that a few hide behind some smokescreen so that you don’t see their talent for what it is. There is choreography, designer clothes, bling bling, auto-tune, top-notch production which masks those with voices that can break glass. How could I forget the new trend of wearing sunglasses. Every artist these days sports a pair in the videos, and when they croon love songs about how a dame has made them kolo, it is hard to believe them. Their body movements and dance routines say one thing, but their eyes tell a lie. No “R &B” or soul artiste should ever wear shades unless they are Aaron Stone, Ray Charles or R-Kelly from back in the day. D’Banj is also excused, but he nor fit sing sef anyway.
Whitney sounded sincere and original. A song like “I will always love you” had the range to appeal to the most heart-broken spinster, as well as the most hardened thug or armed robber. Even my grandmother loved that jam back in the day when she heard it on MTV during the time she came to do omu-ugwo for my baby sis. An I will or-wares ruv yoo…….
Some of these new singing cats just bellow out tunes like they are more concerned about how they come across. Open ya eye make we see whether na apollo dey do you. Abi you know say you dey deceive yourself and shame don catch you.
Is it not amazing when you notice that Whitney never broke into dance. Her voice alone could captivate you. She didn’t need any fancy video by Clarence Peters or Hype Williams to get spins. And when she displayed her magnificent vocal range, she didn’t show us her 32 molars, pre-molars and incissors. Her mouth was barely open, like I nor fit shout sef. An I will or-wares ruv yoo…….
Hers was a pure beauty and elegance. She looked every inch a super-star. She was the kind of entertainer you could take home to mama (not mommma). And actually not have mama scream in disgust and irritation like “This geh done waka well well. Make you find innocent geh marry.” Whitney’s pure unbridled talent took her to fame and fortune – she didn’t need to appear half-naked on the red carpet (Aladdin syndrome) or flash her punani when alighting from a car. Heck, she did not need Brazilian weave, or Twirra (twitter).
Have you seen some Nigerian singers try to hold a note? A music note, not a bank note. Compare that to the video of “Shoop” where Whitney was doing her mouth like she was chewing hot eba.
What makes Whitney so memorable? I listened to Whitney during the period a girl did turn turn turner with my emotions for the first time in my life. A girl with the code name C.A.N shattered my heart into tiny little pieces. She ripped my heart out of my chest like Goro (Mortal Kombat) and laughed into the sunset. She pulled my heart out of my chest like Apocalypto. I drank many bottles of Calypso, but it was Whitney not alcohol that got me through it. I can recall listening to “Why does it hurt so bad” from the “Waiting To Exhale Soundtrack” while eating yampo in my room in pitch darkness. No, craze had not caught me – NEPA had taken light, and I need to lem.
Whitney’s music inspired. I once listed the lyrics of “I believe in you and me” and put them on a card, and ‘supplied’ it to one chick like that. It worked more than buying her a BB Porsche or a weave. Not that I will ever try that nonsense anyway.
Listen to a jam like “Run To You” off The Bodygaurd Album and see if it would not make you feel like crossing 1000 Obudu Cattle Range mountains and 1 million River Nigers to find love.
That was not the only time Whitney came through for me. I recall also jamming “Until You Come Back” off the “My Love is Your Love” album with a girl I was dating because she loved that tune. When we broke up, I used to think about her a bit whenever I heard that song, and half-wish she would walk through the door. Or the gate. I even instructed our aboki to look out for her incase she came, so she wouldn’t miss me at home. I kept asking the mallam if someone had rung the bell. Well she never did walk through my door again, but Whitney had another correct song to console me with – “It’s Not Right, But Its Okay”. Or as I preferred to call it “Its all good”
And don’t you lot go thinking that Esco is mushy. Men need love too. Sensitive thugs, you all need love. Silent morning, they say a man is not supposed to cry. I hated that jam.
Truth be told, anytime I was having women problems, I kept that shit to myself, and I found music therapeutic. I have the sort of friends who if you tried to tell them about your emotional drama or relationship woes, would laugh in your face. Like you can’t be serious; abeg leave that thing. As my friend Kola once said it, the solution to woman problems is more women.
Personally, why I will miss Whitney Houston so much is that her music was there during many parts of my formative years. I was an 80s baby, but it was the 90s I came into my own, and that was when she was at the peak of her powers.
Everybody has a song that punctuates or is the soundtrack to different times in their lives.
My driver had huge Beyoncé posters on his wall in his room. He liked Bey so much that he even bought the Nollywood movie “Beyonce and Rihanna” and was disappointed and almost inconsolable when he didn’t see Mama Blue Carter in the movie. Dude, didn’t you see the poster?
One day, I mustered up the courage and time to ask him why he fancied Jay Z’s wife so much/
He said it was because of one of the songs when she had recorded when she was still in Destiny’s Child.
I closed my eyes, as I inquired. Which song, pray tell?
“I go survive o, I go survive o” he sang in answer, smiling. Proud of himself, he continued “Na that song help me when I step on poisonous nail for my village, and my oga come reduce my salary.”
I racked my brain. Was he confusing Destiny’s Child with The Mandators or Tosin Jegede that 80s child star?
Eureka! You wrecker, “Oh you mean, I am a survivor”.
I was just blowing English jare. He had put his own twist on a song that motivated him and made it his own.
So he didn’t like Bey cos of her bootylicious curves or her thunder thighs then? Interesting.
As I end this, my heart goes out to Bobbi Kristina, Whitney’s daughter. May Whitney also rest in peace. This is a woah-Nigerian blog, but she was an honorary Nigerian because we blasted her music, and helped contribute to the millions of records she sold (Alaba or not).
Rest in peace to a great songstress and a unique talent – the late Whitney Houston.
I leave you with this great tune from The Preacher’s Wife Soundtrack. It is called “You Were Loved.”
As you enjoy, please share your life and music memories with me. Make sure you post a comment if you read this, or I will stop writing posts. Just joking. But I am serious though. Lol.