Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Requiem Rosé: Miss You, Sistah Whitney

Yesterday as I pumped gas in my car, I watched a chorus of women sing “I have nothing if I don’t have you,” at the top of their lungs. As our sister, Whitney, strained through speakers beaten down by years of Miami bass, these bent-headed women sang with eyes closed and voices coiled around Sistah Whitney’s spirit. I joined them from the near distance, encouraging them to sing on in a call-response sort of way. It was church. We were singing Whitney through. It’s been interesting listening to different people’s reactions to Whitney’s transition. Some women weep. They sympathize. Other women dismiss Whitney as a crack head who had it coming. That pisses me off. Who are we to judge? If cameras snuck into our homes, what ugly rituals might they see? How quickly we forget how Whitney sang us through those passionate love affairs (“You Give Good Love”) and their endings (“I Will Always Love You”). Whitney helped me find my rhythm as one of the only little, black girls in my Catholic school. Her song would come on the radio and I would dance and feel free in my black girlness—Give me one moment in time when I’m racing with destiny. Then in that one moment in time, I will be free…The race is over, Sis. Be still. A drop of rosé for you, dear Rose of Zion.

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