Biographical Poetry posted January 14, 2024

This work has reached the exceptional level
The Voice

Whitney Houston

by Debbie D'Arcy

With music in her genes, her fame
seemed destined from the start.
Her Joy of song, so young, would claim
her passion and her heart.
Her Gospel roots inspired the way
to Higher Love within.
She sang in choirs and learnt to play,
encouraged by her kin.
By fourteen years, her dream to sing
came true in Cissy's* band
and, Step by Step with tutoring,
her craft would then expand.
And, All at Once, folk wanted more -
those looks that stole the scene,
with easy charm of girl-next-door,
Salute to teenage queen!
Then record deals would oft beguile
this girl away from school.
With Fam'ly First, she'd wait a while,
Tomorrow - was the rule.
And, when that came, her heart still set
on stardom to achieve,
she knew with trust in God she'd get
her gift When you Believe.
With melismatic* style of song,
she grasped her precious chance
and, full of fire, could do no wrong,
declared I Wanna Dance.
Though Tina had been there before,
this new girl bucked a trend.
Her Ev'ry Woman opened doors
for others to ascend.
Her dazzling light would shine upon
apartheid's dire display.
With Nelson* she prayed hate be gone
while Love will Save the Day.
A patriot with pride who'd pull
in crowds at Super Bowl -
America the Beautiful
would stir the nation's soul.
Then at her peak, her world unveiled
a new, dramatic call -
The Bodyguard with Costner hailed
the Greatest Love of All.
But just as she flew high above,
ill fate would bring her down.
Her yearning for Eternal Love
would not be met with Brown.*
Forever love was history
for battles soon entailed
and Stop the Madness was her plea
when battery prevailed.
His cocaine use and tabloid show
destroyed her once good name,
while I Will Always Love You so
now echoed loss and shame.
With Cissy's aid, she fled his might
to face a better day,
with grit, declaring It's Not Right
But (trusting) it's Okay.
Yet, sadly no, her magic shed,
her Sparkle less desired -
One Moment (cast) in Time, unread,
when deathly drugs conspired.
And always starred to reach the top
in Mem'ries we adore
but Didn't We (this Queen of Pop
so) Almost Have it All?
Then, tragically, just three years on,
a loss with daughter too.
in self-same act of Whitney's song  -
With love - I Run to You!



Whitney Elizabeth Houston (1963 - 2012)

Image courtesy of Google free pics; factual sources: Wikipedia and other biographies; video courtesy of You Tube.

Song and film titles have been used for the poetic purpose of this biography and may not necessarily relate to their context or period. They may also be slightly amended or shortened to accommodate the meter. The dates in the brackets refer to original release. Thank you for reading and your kind understanding.

Stanzas 1-2: Joy (1996); Higher Love (1986)
She was born into a musical heritage. Her mother *Cissy was a Grammy award-winning Gospel singer; she was also a cousin of Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick and a distant cousin of opera singer, Leontyne Price. Among other connections, Aretha Franklin became her honorary aunt.
She was raised in the Baptist faith, joined a choir at her local church and learnt to play the piano at age five.

Stanza 3: Step by Step (1997)
She began singing background for her mother's band on the cabaret circuit in New York city and later in 1978 on Cissy's solo album, Think it Over.

Stanza 4: All at Once (1985); Salute (2009)
She briefly became a fashion model and was one of the first black women to appear on the cover of a fashion magazine (Seventeen).

Stanza 5: Family First (2007 A powerful reminder of family in our lives); Tomorrow (Sung live in 1983 before she was famous and later included on1987 album I Wanna Dance with Somebody).
With wise advice from her mother and subsequent support from Dionne Warwick, she finished her schooling and signed with Tara Productions.

Stanza 6-7: When you Believe (1998); I Wanna Dance with Somebody (song 1987; musical biographical drama film 2022).
*Melismatic - a style, very special to her art, that allows several notes to be sung to one syllable of text.
She always believed that her voice was a gift from God.

Stanzas 8-9 Every Woman (1978 Bodyguard soundtrack); Love Will Save the Day (1988).
She was a supporter of Nelson Mandela and, during her modeling days, refused to do work with agencies that did business with (the then) apartheid South Africa. When she became more famous, she raised substantial sums of money for charities bringing awareness of apartheid to the world. She contributed significantly to the success of black artists on the pop scene with the New York Times stating that she "was a major catalyst for a movement within black music that recognised the continuity of soul, pop, jazz and gospel vocal traditions."

Stanza 10: America the Beautiful (1991)
The face of America who sang her anthem, Star Spangled banner (1991) at sports stadia and the like.

Stanza 11: Greatest Love of All (1986); The Bodyguard (1992 a romantic thriller movie in which she took her debut acting role. Apparently Costner had originally, reportedly, considered Princess Diana for the role!)

Stanza 12-13: Eternal Love (1983); Stop the Madness (1986)
She began her doomed relationship with the rapper, *Bobby Brown. In the beginning they enjoyed a loving and passionate relationship. But this deteriorated as drugs (on both sides) and violence took hold.

Stanza 14: I Will Always Love You (1992 Written by Dolly Parton, this soared to no 1 in the world for Houston).
Once known as the good girl of pop, her name and reputation became irrevocably tarnished during the latter years of this relationship which lasted 17 years before divorce papers were filed. The couple had one daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown (1993 - 2015).

Stanza 15: It's Not Right But it's Ok (1999)
Cissy was the driving force behind the eventual separation and divorce and the subsequent attempted rehabilitation process for her daughter.

Stanza 16: Sparkle (2012 film - her last); One Moment in Time (1988)
She died immersed in a bath with cocaine in her system, her death concluded as accidental due to associated heart disease.

Stanza 17: Memories (1982); Didn't We Almost Have it All (1987)
She never regained her glory status in life although now widely proclaimed as the Queen of Pop and nicknamed The Voice.

Addendum: Run to You (1993)
After a problematic beginning in which Houston found difficulty coming to terms with motherhood, mother and daughter forged a strong bond together and they became extremely close, their temperaments being very similar. Bobbi was completely distraught at her mother's death. Her own mimicked it when she was found face down in a bath of water. Though put into an induced coma, she officially died some six months later. Her death was attributed to immersion associated with drug intoxication.

She is regarded as one of the greatest vocalists of all time, a cultural icon and one of the most influential R&B artists in history.
In 1989 she formed a charity now known as the Whitney E Houston Legacy Foundation which raises funds for children all over the world.

Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Save to Bookcase Promote This Share or Bookmark
Print It View Reviews

You need to login or register to write reviews. It's quick! We only ask four questions to new members.

© Copyright 2024. Debbie D'Arcy All rights reserved.
Debbie D'Arcy has granted, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.