Growing up as a kid, I could not live without MTV. Everyday after school, I’d literally run home to turn the TV on and endlessly lose myself in the music videos playing on MTV. The music era of the 1980’s is either known for the saturation of one-hit wonders and ultra cheesy music videos and songs, or the domination of huge superstars such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, Whitney Houston, George Michael to name a few. I remember it more for the latter. Those superstars were already living legends in their day, inspiration to a whole new generation and icons of the music revolution that MTV created.
When Michael Jackson passed on June 25, 2009, my heart weakened. I was in the midst of opening the doors to The RITZ Ybor’s 1-Year Anniversary Party that I had been planning and working on with my co-workers for the last 2 months. Anyone in the event industry can totally relate to the inevitable anxiety that accompanies the start of any event, and news of his death literally sent my nerves into overdrive even more. Michael Jackson was the ultimate superstar of my childhood. He shined brighter than any of the other stars that were played on MTV. Even though his behavior became more bizarre during the later half of his career and he hadn’t released any new material since 2001’s Invincible album, his legacy as a performer, singer, entertainer and humanitarian trumped any of his oddities and stagnacy.
As a kid, I could never imagine a world without Michael Jackson. And after this past weekend, I cannot believe that I’ll be living in a world without Michael Jackson AND Whitney Houston.
I was on a cruise coming back from Cozumel when I heard the news of Whitney Houston’s death on CNN playing in the background. I was in total shock. If Michael Jackson was the ultimate superstar of my generation, then Whitney Houston was arguably the voice of my generation. I remember as far back as being 7 years old and all of the little girls at the playground talking about how pretty Whitney was or them trying to sing “The Greatest Love Of All” like she so perfectly did. And just like Michael, Whitney’s behavior became more erratic and strange. Just as Michael’s life was plagued with rumors of child abuse, Whitney was overcome with reports of her bouts with a heavy drug addiction.
How did these two superstars of my day allow themselves to fall so tragically?
I’ll always remember Whitney Houston as the girl from New Jersey who made it… who became America’s sweetheart and the Queen of Awards Shows, who kissed Kevin Costner onscreen when Jungle Fever was still a bit taboo and who sang her way into our hearts.