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I think people forget about God when they’re talking about Whitney Houston. And when I mention God here, I say the word with a definition that, to me, transcends ideology & religiosity.

It’s quite simply synonymous with the word ALL or SOURCE. It has become my belief as I’ve grown that God places little pieces itself inside all of us to reflect back at it and for the edification and awakening of the pieces of itself that lay dormant in others or aren’t shining as little things inside of us can.

I’m reminded of the Color Purple – Whitney’s favorite color – when Shug Avery says to Celie “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.”

It suggests to me – and through practice I’ve come to believe – that our relationship with God and therefore it’s relationship with us is like the old slave songs “Call and Response.” In all the humanness that enveloped Whitney – because she was a human being – what’s forgotten or hasn’t been clearly articulated in a way that resonates to the core like the velvety tones of Whitney’s voice, is that every time that woman opened her mouth, she was not only giving God back to itself for its own aggrandizement, she – like a black woman who loves anything –  was an intercessor, praying for us all. She was praising God on our behalves. She was standing in gratitude for us. She, like any begotten being sent here for the salvation of humanity, took on the load of the world and surrendered it to something larger than her. Every single time she graced the stage with her statuesque body and her unbelievable beauty and regality.

In the Bible, women cried for people to come back to life. Whitney just sang. And when she did that – as only she could and ever will – closed eyes opened and stopped hearts started again.

I had the pleasure of sitting with a dear friend recently and she asked me “you ever notice how you can’t hold onto the elements? Water, Earth, Fire and Air, they’re all here to sustain us, but you can’t hold onto them, if really think about it.”

After she finished the question and in my contemplation, a breeze crept up that I thought I would try to catch and upon opening my hand was gone. Whitney E. Houston was an element of God. Happy Birthday Nippy.


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