Commentary: On the Magic of Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston

Commentary: On the Magic of Whitney Houston

What we learned and where we are three years after her death.

Published February 11, 2015

When Whitney Houston became a star, we still had perfect pop princesses. And soon after the release of her self-titled debut album in 1985, we cast her in the role of modern-day musical royalty, living what we believed was a charmed and beautiful life befitting the ex-model with a voice that was so magical. The fairytale of Whitney Houston was not destroyed by evil stepmothers or wicked curses, but by primetime interviews and a reality show called Being Bobby Brown, as well as TMZ, The National Enquirer and paparazzi that showed the truth, drugs and ugliness behind what we wanted to believe was only perfection and beauty.

Three years ago today, on February 11, 2012, our fairytale that began in Newark, New Jersey, ended with no chance for a reprieve when Houston died in a hotel bathtub in Beverly Hills, unintentionally drowning as a result of drug use. Today her daughter, Bobbi Kristina, lies in a coma with diminished brain function, the result of being submerged face down in a bathtub in her Atlanta home days before the anniversary of her mother’s death.

Much has been written and said about the script-like nature of their accidents, the almost Shakespearean twist to mother and daughter experiencing the same rare accident. But the pain being felt by her family, the horror that holds the world in its grasp as we remember the legend that is Whitney Houston and the life-threatening emergency that her child faces, nothing is script-like about this. It is real and complicated, and it doesn't get to be cleaned up in an edit room like the movie-of-the-week. Like princesses in towers, Whitney needed saving. And today, her daughter needs a miracle. We can only pray that Bobbi Kristina gets hers.

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(Photo: Stephane Cardinale/People Avenue/Corbis)

Written by Ayana Byrd

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