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Opinion

6:00pm February 12, 2012

A Whitney Farewell in the Cruelest Month

13533_whitney-houston-glows-on-the-carousel-of-hope-carpet-in-beverly-hills

If you are Black in America, this Black history month represents the cruelest of all ironies.

Why? Because lately it hasn’t been cool to be Black in America. Down in D.C. there is a powerful political group calling for less of us and, certainly, less for us. Black unemployment is still double the national average (no matter how much people want to spin the small dip we saw in it last month).  The children of Ronald Reagan’s crack generation are still “wilin’ out” in our inner cities, and, to top it all off, Whitney Houston’s brilliant and troubled career was brought to a tragic end last night.

To quote a line from a popular Marvin Gaye song and subsequent best-selling book based on it: “It’s enough to make you wanna holler.”

It makes me wanna holler because I loved Whitney Houston. I loved how she sang, how she looked, and the unapologetic way she loved her man even when the rest of America was saying ‘no.’

Still, in retrospect, America might have been right. The marriage didn’t last, and only a blind person would say that it wasn’t troubled. And yet she did it on her terms. She loved the man she wanted to love, and not the man America wanted her to have. I respected that.

Her death also troubled me because, unlike Michael Jackson, she was still one of ours. By the time Michael Jackson took his last hit of Propofol we already knew that we were losing him. We knew that he had already turned his back on us and wanted to be both Black and White. Not Whitney. She never left us, and she embraced us as we embraced her.

That’s why her death hurts so much. Because we feel like we are losing one of our own. Those other people won’t understand it. To them, she was the girl who sang the National Anthem and got a nation pumped for “Desert Storm;” just another talented singer who threw it all way. To us, she was family – we had something in common … and that was the greatest love of all.



About the Author

Wayne Bennett
Wayne Bennett
I'm a blogger, lawyer, and social commentator. If the truth hurts grab some aspirins.




 
 

 
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13 Comments


  1. corlista

    "By the time Michael Jackson took his last hit of Propofol we already knew that we were losing him. We knew that he had already turned his back on us and wanted to be both Black and White."
    What a pitiful comment. You obviously know nothing at all about Michael Jackson. Pathetic.


  2. ps;

    and raygun is honbama's hero

    fyi


  3. no slappz

    Typically confused comment from Wayne Bennett aka field.

    "The children of Ronald Reagan’s crack generation are still “wilin’ out” in our inner cities, and, to top it all off, Whitney Houston’s brilliant and troubled career was brought to a tragic end last night.",

    Ronald Reagan's crack generation? Admittedly crack consumption began and exploded during the Reagan years, but I think we can say that crack spread through the black community because black drug users liked it a lot. Reagan had nothing to do with it. Maybe Wayne means that blacks embraced crack because they hated Reagan. I don't know. His comment makes no sense.


  4. DeuCalion669

    hay bud, just can`t get that Seventh-day Adventist Teaching out of yourself can you.


  5. L. Hawel

    The whole crack "explosion" was a manufactured and engineered social dismantling. Read "The New Jim Crow," by MIchelle Alexander for a scholary look at the third incarnation of slavery in A-Merry-Ca (Real Slavery, Jim Crow Slavery, and Drug War Slavery).


  6. Jin Mugen

    You are way off on MJ, the ignorance shows. Till his last breath, the brother was like a one man economy for so many black people, down to the doctor that overdosed him. He had National of Islam brothers that provided security. His closest assistant was black. He was responsible for blowing up the music careers of many a black musician. There was MJ behind the scenes helping produce hits for black musicians. While he had issues – who in the Jackson family doesn't – one thing he wasn't was less black. If you were a multi-million dollar entertainer who had a skin disorder, how would you handle it? Walk around with white blotches all over your face all day? He couldn't sell show tickets or albums like that so he had to do what he had to do.

    Really poor choice of words and a bad way to reflect on two great musicians.


    • Yanni

      Exactly. People are still finding ways to diss this man. MJ never ever forgot his roots on any level. I am so tired of the comparisons. Anytime there is an article of a celebrity and drugs the only person that they "HAVE" to compare them to is Michael Jackson. This crap really needs to stop. If the article was about a white celebrity and drugs you never see the comparison of Elvis. They still use Michael Jackson. Black blogs really need to start reflecting the accomplishments of our great musicians, actors, politicians, writers and athletes, because the other blogs and their bloggers will take care of the negative sides.


  7. Crys

    exactly. the way I feel EXACTLY. you hit it right on.


  8. martina marty

    my son sort of knows whats going on but his son doesnt know shit and its up to us to start passing information and history down generation to generation like the slaves did to my mothers mother and her mother, because with texas rewriting the history books for history classes we need someone to tell the truth, not the truth as texas sees it. PBS is the only one trying to do anything with documentaries and I will be 59 soon and hell there was things that I learned that I did not know . I know the result but never cou;ld put two and two together….in the 60's with the riots and tanks coming down our streets….
    Texas is the supplier of school textbooks across all states http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/13/education/13tex
    Texas Conservatives Win Vote on Textbook Standards


  9. martina marty

    if you do not know your history you will be doomed to repeat it. start looking at billmoyers.com, he had a 30 year old black female on who had gone to college and was an economist and she said all of her generation is so so much in debt they cannot think of anything else right now…but they keep them for so long thinking only of clothes and music now look at them…So if you dumb them down black and white people in power always stay in control….education is the key (ask anyone how a bill is made, listen to the ans…no one knows anymore or never did)

    http://racerelations.about.com/b/2012/02/10/byu-s


  10. BoysPantHalfOff

    You are way off on MJ, the ignorance shows. Till his last breath, the brother was like a one man economy for so many black people, down to the doctor that overdosed him. He had National of Islam brothers that provided security. His closest assistant was black. He was responsible for blowing up the music careers of many a black musician. There was MJ behind the scenes helping produce hits for black musicians. While he had issues – who in the Jackson family doesn't – one thing he wasn't was less black. If you were a multi-million dollar entertainer who had a skin disorder, how would you handle it? Walk around with white blotches all over your face all day? He couldn't sell show tickets or albums like that so he had to do what he had to do.

    Really poor choice of words and a bad way to reflect on two great musicians.

    He created a lot of business for Jesus Juice Makers and little boys underwear.


  11. Lola

    Field, Whitney was booed at the Soul Train awards for being a crossover artist (remember that term?) and for being seen as a sell-out because she was liked by white folk. So, she "keeps it real" by marrying that toxic Bobby Brown who brought her to her lowest low. I would rather for Whitney to be seen as a sell-out than to have been married to that demon Bobby Brown. And now she's dead. When keeping it real goes wrong.


  12. eclecticbf

    I wonder who was the first person to slip Whitney the Coke? I'm sure it was not Bobby Brown. If she did not surcumb to white media pushing that Brown was not good enough for her, she would probably be alive and the two together along with their daughter would have worked it out.

    I hope that all the talent that my has been lost be it due to them still being treated like chattel for production or those that felt they have arrived by having chose partners that did not look like them ( did we not learn that the sign of a healthly person was one that chose a partner that resembled themself).

    I also appreciate Whitney for her trying to run her own personal life- she fought a whole bunch of people for a long time and the pressure of it all destroyed her and her marriage. Now of us gets out of this alive. God bless her soul for the period of time that she chose to live hers on her feet and think for herself.



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