Most Read: National

Live Discussions

Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax

Live Q&A, noon ET

Advice columnist Carolyn Hax takes reader questions.

Weekly schedule, past shows

She the People
On Twitter Follow Us |  On Facebook Fan Us |  RSS RSS Feed
Posted at 09:17 AM ET, 02/12/2012

Whitney Houston, I will always love you

I was 15 and my younger sister was nine years old in 1987 when my family danced around the living room of our apartment to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.”

My sister placed a half-slip on top of her head to imitate Whitney’s over-sized, curly blondish weave.

I was already imagining myself as a mistress when I fell in love with “Saving All My Love for You,” a song way beyond my maturity. (But hey, it wasn’t that bad; I was a Prince fan.)

For my generation, Houston helped define the innocence of our youth — and then unveiled the sometimes ugly truth of celebrities when the music is no longer playing: Depression and addiction.

“Crack is wack” and “hell to the naw” overshadowed “I Will Always Love You” and “The Greatest Love of All.”

We laughed to stop crying. What had happened to Whitney? Model. Queen of the power ballad. Girl next door married to bad boy Bobby Brown.

When I covered politics in Newark, I got a taste of a town loving its own.

The city council would blast her incredible performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before each legislative meeting. It was surreal because they also turned a fan on the American flag to make it wave, but it was Houston’s five-octave ability that moved me.

WATCH: Super Bowl national anthem was a classic

In recent years, every time I heard she was on an awards show, I wanted to see her in the hopes that this would be the end of the trainwreck, the comeback that would stick.

Instead, I saw her again and again as I waited in the grocery store aisle; a grim-faced Houston staring back at me from a tabloid. I’m sure those will hit stores again any minute, but right now I just want to close my eyes and listen, to the music and my memories.

Nikita Stewart is a Washington Post staff writer who covers DC Mayor Vince Gray. Follow her on Twitter at @KitaStew

CLICK TRACK: Pop music loses one of its most influential voices

Obituary: A golden girl later ravaged by drugs

By  |  09:17 AM ET, 02/12/2012

Tags:  Whitney Houston, "Saving All My Love for You", "I Wanna Dance with Somebody", Whitney Houston Newark, Bobby Brown, Prince

Read what others are saying

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company