Whitney Houston’s Twin Legacies: Beauty and Pain

Story tools

A A AResize

Print

 
 Though speculation continues to swirl about exactly how she died, vocal legend and pop diva Whitney Houston’s legacy is, in many ways, already set. She’ll be known to generations of fans and hundreds of young singers as an extraordinarily talented woman with a powerhouse voice—and a cautionary tale about the hazards of fame and the often lonely battle of addiction.

Of course, that’s a biased look. One that feels selfishly unfair to a woman like Houston, who’d spent the better part of three decades changing the sound and the reach of R&B and pop music. Not only was she the most lauded and among the highest selling vocalists of our time, she was an artist whose talent moved seamlessly from the modeling runway to the recording booth and then to the camera.

At least, that’s how I, an ’80s baby, first became familiar with her in the early to mid 1990s, when she starred in “The Bodyguard” and “Waiting to Exhale.” In both films, she exuded an almost regal air. I imagined that that was how she was in real life: a calm, confident, reflective black woman. Read more here.