I Wanna Dance with Somebody
How Will I know
Saving All My Love for You
You Give Good Love
I’m Your Baby Tonight
All the Man that I Need
I Belong to You
My Love is Your Love
Million Dollar Bill
I Have Nothing
Run to You
I Believe in You and Me
And of course, I Will Always Love You
Mary J Blige may be who people go to when heart broken, but dammit, Whitney had that “I’m in love, I may be in love, I’m definitely at least in like” category on lock!
It’s funny when I think about how I used to sing my heart out to those songs as a little girl. Dancing in the mirror and using whatever I could find as my microphone. Remote control. Brush. Toothbrush. Broom. Sometimes just my hand, balled up in a fist, turned to the side like I’m holding an imaginary mic. It really didn’t matter, because as far as my 5 year old heart was concerned, it was just me and Whitney belting out songs about our love.
Except I had no idea at the time what I was actually singing about. How much powerful simplicity was spoken in lyrics like, “I need a man who’ll take a chance on a love that burns hot enough to last so when the night falls, my lonely heart calls… I wanna dance with somebody who loves me.”
Or how vulnerable she had to be when singing how much she wanted to run to him, but she wasn’t sure if he would stay around if she really let her guard down. What person hasn’t felt that way at some point? I know I have! And of course, there’s the all important question of how to know if he likes you as much as you like him?
Whitney sang about them all. And she was the soundtrack to my crushes and loves before I even knew I had them.
I went from singing Saving All My Love for You with my cousin in every room of our grandparents’ house, not understanding at all what we were talking about but posturing around as if we were soooo broken-hearted from not being able to be with the man we loved, to watching The Preacher’s Wife in my college dorm room, looking that guy in his eyes and finally knowing what it meant to want to believe in a relationship.
Whitney. Houston. She did that.
And while she was known mostly for her powerful, beautiful voice and the influence she had on singers, I remember her and continue to think of her whenever I meet a guy who makes my eyes flicker with the mention of his name. I know, instantly, that means soon enough I’ll be dancing around my apartment to Million Dollar Bill, talking about “If he makes you feel like a million dollar bill, say it, oh oh ohhhh, say it!” And I’ll smile, because I think in the grand scheme of things, that’s probably how she’d like to be remembered by the people who didn’t know her but felt like we did.
PS: If you enjoy reading Choices, Voices, and Sole, please consider nominating the blog for one of the categories in this year’s Black Weblog Awards. You can learn more information about the awards and the nomination process here. Also, the nomination period ends September 6, 2013. Note: Choices, Voices, and Sole was nominated in 4 categories last year by some of our most amazing readers!