Posts Tagged With: Whitney Houston

Reflections from Whitney Houston’s funeral

I got this from a recent acquaintance and I felt the need to share it with you too.

The Five F’s and the Whitney Houston’s Funeral 

By Chido Nwakanma

Over three hours on Saturday, February 18, the world watched and prayed along with the Houston family as they held a funeral service for their dearly departed daughter, Whitney Houston. Major international cable stations, notably CNN, BBC and Sky, aired the programme live. It ranked next to the funerals for Lady Diana and Michael Jackson in drawing a global audience.

I was one of the millions in that global audience of persons interested in saying farewell to a major contributor to the human race. Yes, Whitney Houston came, played her part in stirring and lifting souls, and has now gone the way of all humans.

Whitney Houston for me remains one of the few musicians whose music lasts beyond their sale by date. Her music had strong and meaningful lyrics as well as great rhythm. Then she had the voice, the persona and the carriage to deliver that message. Her songs would linger and join the evergreens.

Back to the funeral. Wise King Solomon advised that funerals are great occasions to attend. Indeed, Solomon would go so far as to advise that it is preferable to attend a funeral than go to a party. Ecclesiastes 7:2 (NKJV) states:

Better to go to the house of mourning,
Than to go to the house of feasting
For that is the end of all men;
And the living will take it to heart.

Well, take it to heart we did, ruminating on death celebrations here and there and several aspects of life drawing from the funeral.

Whitney Houston’s funeral bears out the wisdom of Solomon.

It was a great production. The tributes were simple, heartfelt and straight to the point. The performances seemed designed to play out the poet John Dunne’s poignant quote, “Death, where is thy sting?”

No one in America reported any full page obituary ads in the papers. As the major networks beamed the funeral live, I searched for a key part of typical funerals here, the entertainment part.

Remember? Item 7 is a key component of funerals here, for young as well as old persons. The grieving family has to feed the equivalent of four villages, as well as give souvenirs.

What was the aso-ebi for Whitney? How many cows did they slaughter? The absence of these extras we indulge here did not seem to reduce the grandeur and solemnity of the event. They simply said, and we join them to say, goodbye Whitney. We will always love you!

There was also a more poignant portion for me. It is the fact that very few attain the five Fs of life. Each of the five Fs count and it is a challenge to rank order them.

The five Fs are faith, family, friends, fame and fortune.  Whitney Houston had all five.

At the end, however, the first three counted the most. It finally boils down to these three, whether or not you had fame and fortune. Whitney Houston’s service dwelt on faith, family and friends. Fame and fortune hovered over it all, but everything eventually gets down to the Fundamental Fs.

We pray God helps us find the five Fs. More importantly, we pray never to lose the fundamental or foundational ones: faith, family and friends.

Keep the faith, dear friends and family!

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In celebration of an Icon: Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston reminds me of a happy childhood.

It was in 1989, I think. My Dad had just returned from one of his numerous trips to the US for another of his many military trainings. This time, he brought along with him something very special. It was a gift for my younger sis and me – a video of Whitney Houston’s greatest hits. There were four videos on that tape, but the ones that had the most profound effect on me as a child were “How will I know” and “The greatest love of all”. Till date, my Dad still jokingly calls me “how will I know” because I sang that song,  I think up to a million times, never mind that I jumbled the lyrics together and probably never got one line right.

I pause to reflect on the lyrics of the Greatest Love Of All, and the one line that keeps jolting me is this:

“I decided long ago never to walk in anyone’s shadow.

 If I fail, if I succeed, at least I live as I believe.

No matter what they take from me they can’t take away my dignity.”

And as I reflect, it reminds me of another quote that I love, “Insist on yourself. Never imitate.”

Another one of her songs that I soooo love that sometimes pushes me to keep going regardless of the challenge is “I’m every woman, it’s only me.  Anything you want done babe, I’ll do it naturally….” Remember that song?

Today the world mourns Whitney and I mourn her as well. I also celebrate her, for she was an Icon. An Icon who would be remembered for her powerful voice and equally powerful songs. I can only hope that she has now found peace, considering the fact that she did have some very turbulent years towards her end.

Adieu Whitney!  God’s peace.

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