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Saturday, I was in the grocery store line and saw a tabloid headline claiming that Whitney Houston was “spiraling out of control.” The lady in front of me said, “my my my, is that girl going to ever get it together?” I responded, I don’t know, I don’t know her. My response earned me a look of utter shock. But, even without knowing what I would later learn, I didn’t feel it my place to comment on something I know nothing about.

How shocked I was to return home and hear on every news channel that Whitney Houston had transitioned from this life. Following that, all the stories and the speculation, with this authority and that authority, all claiming that they knew what happened.

As I listened across a number of channels, the outpouring of Teddy Bears and candles and people gathering as they did for Michael, and James and Aliyah to pour out the love they each had for Whitney.

At the risk of appearing cynical, I’m wondering where all the outcries were when she was in her struggle, whatever they were or were not? One of the interviews I listened to was with Jennifer Holliday, the original “and I am telling you…….!” Jennifer was sharing how difficult it was to convince Whitney that the public would still accept her if she lowered her vocal range. She went on to suggest that Whitney could not conceive that concept and felt that the negative comments were sure to come if she wasn’t hitting the notes quite right.

It’s not hard to imagine that as Whitney set out to rekindle her career, she would have access to the court of public opinion. All the tools of social media have made it easy to know what the average person is thinking on a subject. Years ago, it used to only be reviews in the newspaper limited to a performance, or a planned interview. Not so today, like it or not, what someone wants to say is relatively easy to communicate across the country and the world.

We are all human, and if we are not careful, we can easily allow another persons opinion or comments to penetrate our psyche when really its not their business. The headlines read, Whitney had five dollars in her bank account, today, all her albums are selling out. Yet, the reality show where viewer voyeurs tuned in and saw live in living color that something was wrong, very wrong, continued to tune in week after week. So much so, it earned another season. Where was the outcry then, to pull it off the air and cry out and crowd the streets for Whitney to get help. Where were the candles and posters in her life that would assure her that she was loved beyond the sound of her voice?

In the scripture, Proverbs 24:17 says. Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-16, goes on to say, We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.

At the end of the day, the chance of anyone knowing what really happened are slim to none. It doesn’t really matter, the reality is we have lost another life, that happened to be a talented entertainer, far too soon. Now, the story needs to focus on what she contributed to our world that we did not have before she got here. Not, where she fell short. If we look in the mirror, we can see a person just like her, with faults and failures, the only difference is we are not in the tabloids.

Rest in peace songbird, you sho nuff sang while you were here.

Tanya is an inspirational speaker and writer living in Charlotte. You can friend her on Facebook or email her at Read more columns by Tanya Wilson.

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Tanya Wilson is an inspirational speaker and writer living in Charlotte. To learn more about her visit

RIP Whitney Houston: Did We Really Know You?  was originally published on