Still reeling from the Don Cornelius situation, I thought this week would provide a sense of normalcy.
I had so much to talk about. There was the Jennifer Holliday “Amateur Night at the Apollo” performance, followed shortly by the passing of David Peaston, a man who earned a place in Apollo Theater lore as a multiple winner on “Showtime at the Apollo.”
There was the “Freedom’s Sisters” opening at the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center. Teen sensation Mindless Behavior caused pandemonium at Kmart on 34th Street. The New York Giants’ celebration at MetLife Stadium galvanized the real Giants fans after the parade down Broadway earlier in the day.
The Motown tribute show at Carnige Hall was phenomenal. Season nine of the romantic comedy “Platanos and Collard Greens,” featuring reality star Royce Reed (of VH1’s “Basketball Wives” fame), premiered to sold-out crowds this weekend at the Baruch Performing Arts Center. Three more shows are left on Friday, Feb. 17 at 7:30 and Saturday, Feb. 18 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Then came Saturday, Feb. 11. After an informative interview with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and member of one of the most influential groups in the history of R&B music Dennis Edwards, I shot by the Beacon Theatre to check out the ’70s Soul Jam Valentine’s Concert consisting of the Temptation Review featuring Dennis Edwards, the Main Ingredient, featuring Cuba Gooding Sr., Enchantment, the Delphonics and the Stylistics.
Soon thereafter, I was en route to the crib to put everything together and the texts started to pour in. The phone calls soon followed. I didn’t want to believe what was being relayed, but I got a confirmation while driving…”Whitney Houston has passed!” Whoa!
It was hard to stay poised and remain composed. At the age of 48, with a daughter to help guide and experiences to share, Houston had a full life ahead. To a lesser degree, artistically, she had a project coming down the pike, the remake of the film “Sparkle,” which could’ve once more taken her to the top of the charts or at least served as a reminder of why she was held in such reverence.
To my ears, some of her greatest work has been interpreting soul classics, such as the Manhattans’ “Just the Lonely Talking Again,” the Isley Brothers’ “For the Love of You,” Linda Clifford’s “All the Man I Need” and the Four Tops’ “I Believe in You and Me.”
Nonetheless, it was a soundtrack to “The Bodyguard,” that transformed her into a deity in music. “I Will Always Love You” may have spent 14 weeks at the top of the charts, but “Jesus Loves Me,” “I Have Nothing,” ‘Run to You” and “I’m Every Woman” don’t take a backseat at all!
The specter of Houston recreating a Curtis Mayfield composition for a soundtrack was an anticipated moment all year, for this writer at least, but as that can only be speculated, I had to come back to the here and now and address the fact that she’s gone.
Emotions are running rampant now and at the risk of rambling, I’m going to shut it down for now. Next week I’ll do it right.
In a strange irony, Aretha Franklin is scheduled to perform at Radio City Music Hall on Feb. 17 and 18 and New Edition is slated for the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., on Feb. 18.
I’m out. ‘Til then, enjoy the nightlife.