Friday, October 19, 2018

Whitney Houston in casket, and media.

February 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Ent., Music, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( Media coverage of singer Whitney Houston’s funeral evoked a disappointment I often feel as a black woman in America. It reminded me that many elements of black culture are still viewed as exotic and, in some cases, disdained as such.

Houston’s funeral, but for being broadcast live and attended by celebrities, seemed unremarkable in the context of other black Baptist memorials I have witnessed. There was rousing gospel; truth-telling; passion; equal doses of laughing and crying, clapping and shouting; references to Jesus; moving sermons; a few long-winded eulogizers; some preening preachers on “thrones” in the pulpit; a sense of sorrow, but a greater sense of joy–celebration of life  and of a soul “going home” and being released from earthly sorrows. This is not to say that all African Americans grieve the same way or grieve in a Baptist Christian way, but for most black viewers Houston’s service was not completely alien.

But judging from CNN’s coverage, Houston’s home going was alien indeed to the greater public. There was a po-faced Don Lemon painfully explaining what a “wake” is, as if the vigil for the dead is some perplexing rite, rather than a ritual practiced by a host of cultures and religions since ancient days. Then someone noted that, after funeral services, the family might gather to eat and fellowship with love ones, as if that too was odd. It was all very National Geographic. Very othering. It rubbed me the wrong way.

But I suppose it is just that CNN knows its viewing public. When I went online to discover how other people had processed the memorial, I was surprised at the level of consternation I found. Folks wondered about the clapping and laughter and deemed it “disrespectful.” They marveled at the caregivers in white. They called the service an over-long “spectacle.”

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5 Responses to “Whitney Houston in casket, and media.”
  1. renea heath says:

    God forgive us one more day for not having joy in our heart for you having watch over your angel Whitney and leting out heart be overcome with hurt and pain but with love and such caring. I thank Ms. Cissy for allowing Whitney’s home going to be share with the world. This shows the same kind of sharing she did when she allowed us to have Whitney in our live’s for 29 years. Such a beautiful person you are. God eyes are watching this nation and the people whom are in it. He gave us Whitney and still we complain about her funeral which was the the most beautiful funeral I had ever pertaked of in my life. And I thank her mother for allowing to share in her child life one more time. Thank you and give also is greatful because young and old need to see and understand what pain a parent has to be going through when the parent has to bury a child not the child bury the parent first. The whole has become such a bad place now parent are burying their children first. This is not in God wholly word. But remember when we have our child at birth given back to the lord. Because we only have them to raise for him, they do not belong to us. He in intrusting us only to raise them and he will do the rest. Parent and child do not let your children strait far from him and his words. God please watch over Bobbi k. and Ms Cisssy and let their yellow brick road of life be many and please send and Angel to meet them along life highways to make their jorney easier and more accepting please for Whitney sake. And please allow angel to watch over them and direct their pathway. Please don’t forget to pray for them and make them strong when they are weak. And a special pray plesse dont forget to see for them when they can’t see for themselves. Thank you lord. I want forget to pray for them and there angel Whitney is alway watching over them.

  2. scallywag says:

    What is also noteworthy though is how the Funeral home has now been able to identify the perpetrator and the time when the photos were taken, which leads one to wonder how long has it been since the Funeral home has known this information and why furthermore the Houston clan has done an about face and not sought to publicly identify the identity of the leaker or exonerate the funeral home with any involvement? Unless of course the leaker is a Houston family or friend insider….

  3. tavia powell says:

    I think that the photos that has been put over the internet of Miss Whinty Houston should have never been,showing pitchers of her in her coffin was uncalled for.She is now with her lord and the papers should have enough respect for her family not to such athing. Ifound the pitchers to be done in very bad tast,the furnail home should take some of the blame if not all. I feel that her whishs was and her family,s whish was not up held, and if the family wanted for all her fans to see her that way they would done so.I have a hard time beliving that people could have that little respectfor other in their time of grif that they would do such a nasty thing.

  4. Fidel C says:

    I’m a white guy and I watched a good bit of Whitney Houston’s funeral. I found it disturbing not because it was ‘disrespectful’ as such, but because I found it dishonest. I got the feeling that very few of the speakers or singers were there to grieve or celebrate Whitney but to but to squeeze every last second of face time on camera. Put simply, it wasn’t a “going-home” so much as an ego fest. And that includes the preachers, who were clearly more interested in promoting themselves than comforting or uplifting the friends and family of the deceased. Anyone who actually cared about Whitney’s elderly mother or distraught daughter wouldn’t have put them through a memorial that lasted more than 3.5 hours. And, frankly, I don’t buy this “home-going” idea or “celebrating” Whitney’s life. The woman was dead and had it been otherwise I don’t think anyone would have been in that church ‘celebrating’ her life. The only ones I found sincere at all were the ones who were actually sad, like her sister-in-law and Kevin Costner. Most of the rest was denial and self promotion. Lastly, I couldn’t understand what was so important about holding the memorial in that particular church. True, it was Whitney’s church from childhood but the service itself was “invitation only” which means most of the actual congretion was urged to watch it on television or stand blocks away so as not to inconvience the celebrities.

  5. Natosha C says:

    I’m an african american female, who attends and african american baptist church, but my church isn’t limited to just african americans, we have people from different races in my church and just as we saw in Whitney Houstons “homegoing” services, we have church like that too. I get confused when I hear other people criticize how we praise, calling it “disrespectful”, yes we sing, clap, dance, respond when the pastor says something that touches our spirits, but I don’t understand why that’s disrespectful, that’s how we PRAISE GOD for our own indivisual deliverance. Whitney Houstons funeral was all to beautiful and respectable, in my opinion, it was a funeral that we, the regular people of the world are accustomed to having in the black community, the only difference was Whitney Houston was a celebrity and so were here friends and some family, but overall her funeral was very beautiful, I laughed and cried, I think she was smiling down from Heaven from the turnout she could see and her spirit was definately in tha building, keeping her mother and daughter strong. I’m forever grateful that her family decided to share her service with the world. I LOVE U WHITNEY AND I WILL TRULY MISS U, THERE’S NO TALENT I’VE HEARD, THUS FAR THAT COULD EVER TAKE UR PLACE IN MY HEART


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