Whitney Houston, 1963-2012

So I had this whole blog planned out, everything ready to go, and I was just about to post my two cents on whatever topic I had written up before beginning the rest of my snowed-in Saturday night.

And then I go ahead and check my Twitter to see if there’s anything I’m missing music-wise, you know, maybe someone’s new album sales numbers or a heads up for an awesome musical guest I can mention who will be on SNL tonight (Karmin, in case you were wondering), and instead of something little to add on, what do I find?

Whitney Houston has died at the age of 48.

It’s not something you expect to just stumble across; it’s really the first major, shocking passing of 2012, especially in the entertainment industry. It’s likely to be the biggest one of this year (unless 2012 decides to be especially cruel), and it comes on the eve of the Grammy Awards, also known as “music’s biggest night.”

It just has an air of strangeness about it, like it’s still a joke created by our social media-savvy minds.

You know how sometimes when you log on to Twitter and see “RIP So-and-so” as a trend? And everyone’s all, “Oh, who did Twitter kill today?” Well, that’s what I thought happened.

That is not what happened, something I realized first when Twitter seemed to be taking it seriously, and then when CNN and USA Today notified me about the breaking news – all in the span of about five minutes.

CNN is reporting that Houston was found in her hotel room at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, where Clive Davis was going to be hosting a pre-Grammy soirée later tonight. She was pronounced dead at 3:55 pm (6:55 ET), even though a number of firefighters tried to resuscitate her upon arrival at the scene.

Whitney, in a moment from the official "I Will Always Love You" video.

However, this is still a developing and confusing situation. CNN first reported that hip-hop boyfriend Ray-J (and I didn’t know she was dating Ray-J or if this is for sure confirmed, either) found her; now they are reporting that it was her bodyguard who found her. Additionally, there is still no information on how she died, although a handful of Twitter users claimed knowing that she had been sick. Again, no confirmation on that front.

In a career spanning over three decades, Houston won six Grammys – among over 400 other awards. The Guinness Book of World Records has her listed as the most awarded female act of all time, and she has sold over 170 million albums and singles (according to her official website). Even if you didn’t actively listen to Whitney Houston, you couldn’t help but hear her and, at the very least, be aware of her. I mean, everyone knows that “I Will Always Love You.” Everyone.

So now we wait to hear the cause of death. Regardless of what that may be, let’s hope that the pop culture jury can disregard whatever that may be and remember what legacy has been left behind for all of us.


Other music news…

  • The Grammys are tomorrow! Be sure to tune in to CBS at 8 PM to see all of your favorite artists (and least favorites, because they’re just as much fun) perform, win, lose, thank, trip, clap – you know, the whole awards show routine that goes on. Plus, I’m still pulling for that Bon Iver win, as well as a Lady Gaga one. Come on!
  • Speaking of Grammys, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) is coming under fire for being racist. Yes, you read that correctly. NARAS is being sued by a group of Latino artists who are angry at the axing of some of their ethnic categories from the ceremony, as well as the addition of “contemporary Christian” categories in their place. They have about 23,000 signatures right now.
  • If you remember Sleigh Bells from last blog’s winter preview, you’ll know that I kind of love them a lot. Well, here’s the thing: Sleigh Bells are kind of taking over the world right now. The electronic duo are going to be on the cover of both Spin and GQ magazines, and they’re going to be the musical guest on SNL next week. Get on the boat while they’re still hipster and you can still look cool!
  • FINALLY, Jay-Z and Kanye have released the incredibly trippy/awesome/wonderful video for their mega-hit “In Paris” (you know the full title). Obviously, I’m kind of biased, because I love the duo, but the video is really impressive, down to the frame-by-frame editing and the live versus taped versions of the song that are played. It’s worth the four minutes of your life that you’ll lose.


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