Whitney Houston Leaves Behind Legacy of Unforgettable Music
Published: Sunday, February 12, 2012
Updated: Monday, February 13, 2012 00:02
Iconic R&B singer Whitney Houston—known for her stellar vocals, unforgettable songs and soulful melodies—died Saturday afternoon. She was 48.
"It really feels like I lost a family member," said Michael Hamilton, a senior telecommunications management major.
Houston's publicist Kristin Foster told The Associated Press the singer was pronounced dead at 3:55p.m. PST on Saturday. Authorities are currently conducting an investigation into Houston's cause of death.
Hamilton, who traveled to Los Angeles for the first time as an intern with Universal Music Group, was near the Hollywood Walk of Fame when he heard about Houston's death. He said the scene shifted dramatically in light of the news.
"There was no voice before or after Whitney—and I say that with all due respect to Aretha, Patti Labelle, Barbara Streisand, Chaka Khan, all those who came before Whitney," he said. "No one did it like Whitney. To me, Whitney is probably the greatest vocalist of all time, period."
Hamilton later visited the Beverly Hilton Hotel where Houston's body was discovered, according to CNN reports. He described the mood there as eerie as the entrance of the hotel was packed with people.
Born on Aug. 9, 1963 in Newark, N.J., Houston grew up singing in her church. Throughout her music career, she released seven studio albums. Her self-entitled debut album was released in 1985. From there, she would go on to release album-after-album gaining the respect of the music community and garnering a host of musical followers.
In addition to the music Houston contributed to the entertainment world, she also left her mark on the movie industry with her acting debut in "The Bodyguard" in 1992 and with "Waiting to Exhale" in 1995. A year later Houston starred opposite Denzel Washington and Courtney B. Vance in the 1996 film "The Preacher's Wife."
For her latest acting role Houston plays alongside singer Jordin Sparks in the remake of the 1976 film "Sparkle." The film is scheduled to be released later this year.
Binahkaye Joy, 29, was washing her dishes when her best friend called to give her the news. "You hear about Whitney Houston?" her friend asked. Joy said she knew it couldn't be good news. For her, Houston's music was a staple on all her family vacations and road trips growing up.
"She's just fabulous," said Joy, a D.C. resident. "She exuded a lot of power, and it crossed lots of different demographics and ages and everything, and she just held that power space, and I think that's what attracted a lot of people to her."
Some have speculated about the possible cause of Houston's death as the beloved singer had a public battle with drug abuse made more public after her interview with Diane Sawyer in 2002.
"I think it's indicative of a very ignorant society that doesn't understand the nuances and the intricacies of drug abuse," Joy said. "It's dishonoring to even go there. She's a human being, and she deserves respect."
With the death of Don Cornelius 10 days before Houston's death, Joy said she hopes no one else has to die before people learn to show love for others while they are still alive.
Houston's last Grammy win came in 1999 for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for "It's Not Right But It's Okay," according to grammy.com. Last night the Grammys paid tribute to Houston with a featured performances by Jennifer Hudson who sang Houston's hit "I Will Always Love You."
"The Whitney tribute was simple, yet beautiful at the same time," Hamilton said. "Jennifer Hudson did an amazing job. It was very appropriate, given that Whitney presented Jennifer with her Grammy a few years ago."