I join the rest of the world to pause and to pay tribute to Whitney. For the past several hours I’ve been playing Whitney non-stop and I am unable to sleep. Oh Whitney you are dearly missed. You know you are the greatest, you know no one can compare when you reach across continents, cultures, faiths, and generations. Besides Michael there is no other like Whitney. I remember watching the Bodyguard years ago as a child in the early 90s and listening to Whitney sing with my mother. And even though English was not our first language and music was not played in our home without protests from my parents only Whitney’s voice transcended the barriers of language, culture and religion. Only Whitney’s voice silenced the noises and made everyone sit back in awe to listen to such an amazing voice like no other.
I feel lucky to be part of a generation that grew up with Whitney’s voice. When one has experienced the magic of Whitney, the zenith of human talent it’s difficult to be impressed after that and I doubt I ever will be so I remain possessive of the music Whitney left behind. There is Whitney and there is everyone else.
As a Muslim I do not believe one life is more important, or more significant than another life. My faith encourages me to remember death often as it puts life into a perspective. We shall each be put in a hole in the ground and covered with dirt regardless of how we walked upon the earth. Truly the peasant and the king, the celebrated world icon and the nameless person on the street corner, the rich and the poor come from God and shall return to God equally. And that is what counts the most than world recognition.
So that we pause and pay tribute to Whitney is not to say her life is more important than the hundreds of thousands of people that die each day, including those dying right now in war, and oppression in Syria and other parts of the world. Nor does our remembrance do anything for Whitney after departing this world. It’s only that for many us Whitney was part of our experience and we feel a friend has passed on.
The world pauses tonight to remember Whitney and will do so for the coming days, months, years, and to those who truly loved Whitney till their own deaths. Tomorrow is the Grammy’s and as I type this post the Clive Davis party Whitney was supposed to attend is probably ending.
And as I watch the tributes to Whitney like I watched the tributes to Michael I say Aduunyo xalka ba’! Oh how fleeting and deceiving is the world! Death is ever creeping around the corner, sooner or later will knock out our souls and those we love. Death does not discriminate between rich or poor, powerful or weak, famous or unknown, young or old, healthy or unhealthy, it’s the one truth that is guaranteed for all. World fame, awards, riches, sooner or later the mansion raised up will be replaced by the home in the grave lowered onto the earth. I can’t think of a scene more humbling for life than that of death.
Tonight many remember Whitney, many have cried, but only a very few have their entire world collapsed upon them, so much so that they are unable to attend a party to sing or even to speak and are under the covers of a blanket crying their heart out. They are what matter. They are the true lovers.
For the rest of us life will go on. Aduunyo xalka ba’! Oh how fleeting and deceiving is the world!