I didn’t intend to watch the Whitney Houston funeral Video on MSNBC Live, yesterday, oh, no far from it. However, when I saw an interview with Aretha Franklin, on Dateline the night before, in which she said she would sing at the services, I thought, this may be a last opportunity to see Aretha sing her heart out. Well as it turned out, she didn’t make it; illness they said.
I left the live video on in the background as I did some work on the computer, if you must know, creating educational videos for YouTube: http://youtu.be/VCkLSeDK8xY. AndI came away with a couple of impressions.
It was an odd event – invitation only – hmmmm. Her ex-husband, who by most accounts ravaged her body, with the introduction to serious drugs, …left after :15 minutes (not feeling welcome?). He, apparently not in charge of the kids this “week”. A few good performances, Alica Keys, Stevie Wonder – one or two others. A couple of preachers … I don’t know who they were preaching too, but they had trouble eliciting the “Amens” they wanted from the largely Celeb crowd; but there was definitely a hollowness.
Even brother, sister, and auntie Dionne Warwick did not give you any real insight, didn’t have anything of substance to say about this person, lying before them in a casket, at 48 years old. The most telling insights came from her music business mentor Clive Davis who gave a peek into the world of manager performer relationship; how business like it really is. The powerful and the vulnerable, and the need to keep it that way… That’s what I came away with. Oh, and the other person with real insight was Kevin Costner, however, only as it related to their movie together Body Guard . Interesting in hindsight that it was these two white men… I’m just sayin’ that shared the most intimate details of their relationship with the mourners. Hmmmm…. more about that in my conclusion.
No one had anything to say about the person accept how beautiful she was, how great her voice and smile were, and some added how vulnerable and self-doubting she was.
You know we all are vulnerable at some level. We all have self doubts, and lack confidence at certain periods of our lives. But, geez… there will certainly be something more to extoll about our existence, our lives than that! – at our funeral, for crying out loud.
What I take away from what I saw and what I heard was this. Funerals, like Super Bowl half-time shows are rarely natural, if they are staged. You just wont get the sincerity. And, the most important thing, I think, is that it is hard, even for friends and loved ones, to have sympathy for someone who has had the world by the tail and let it go, voluntarily. It was hard to conjure up the real stories of who she was, and what redeeming characteristics she had as a person, partly because she had blown a $100m fortune in 20 years. She had this God given talent, but apparently not the confidence (except when performing) to accept it and move on gracefully. I’m told women with this persona find destructive men, to run their lives – – for some period (enter Bobby Brown). Be that as it may. It was obvious that she had exhausted her self, and any or all of her real friends, over the years. Because, they certainly weren’t there at her funeral. – The only ones to share real insight were a couple of white guys she knew professionally…. certainly there were others who loved her and knew her better… as a complete person.
It was too, too bad – and hollow.