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When talent is not enough…

When talent is not enough…

February 20th, 2012

Hassie Calhoun is the beautiful, talented heroine in the trilogy that I am writing about her life. She aspires to be a great singer, first in the famed Copa Room in Las Vegas during the time of the Rat Pack, and later in NYC on the Broadway stage, as a recording artist or most anything that will afford her a career as a singer. She works hard, makes some unwise choices and struggles to reach her goal. Her story is recognizable to thousands of aspiring artists who just want to do what they love and get paid to do it. And most never quite get there.

Maybe this is why the untimely passing of Whitney Houston has sparked so much controversy and range of emotional outpouring over the past week. To have been bestowed with such extraordinary talent and good looks and apparently throw it all away in self-abuse saddens us all. But it has also angered a lot of people to the point of apathy or unkind, caustic remarks.

Her talent was huge but it was somehow not enough. Her drug and alcohol abuse issues were notorious but her demons were understood by very few. She was first a human being—a woman, a daughter, a mother. But Whitney, the singer, belonged to the world and many of us take it personally that she abused that privilege.

In memory and celebration of her life, we have heard replay after replay of the songs that made her famous and planted her in our hearts. That list should be longer. It is missing over ten years of entries that—if she had remained healthy—would no doubt have topped the charts. For me, that is the saddest part of her tragic demise. R.I.P.

2 Comments

  • I was never a Whitney fan. I mean, I grew up listening to her music because that’s what was playing, but never got too into it. I think she had an amazing voice, and could have had an amazing career, but it stops there for me. A lot of people are romanticizing her career and the tragedy of her death, and while I get that it’s sad that she threw away everything she worked for, I feel that her career ended years ago, rather than the moment she died.

    I do, however, think that the entertainment industry is brutal; society tends to put a lot of pressure on entertainers, and people often forget that just because someone is on stage and people are paying attention to their every move, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t people, too. I feel awful for Whitney’s daughter, who has received a heavy amount of backlash and who is struggling desperately in the wake of her mother’s death. I just want to shake people and scream at them, “Hello! She’s a person!”

    • Pamela Cory says:

      Elizabeth,
      I appreciate your comments and in some ways we are saying the same thing. It was easy to condemn Whitney when she was alive and consistently landing in bad press over her life choices. To romanticize it after the fact is a very human reaction. I was one of the people that pitied her and willed her to get her act together. The reason for that was and is very simple: I was also one of those people who worked hard to have a career as a singer and would have literally paid gold for a piece of her talent. To watch her throw it way was disgusting and painful.

      Whitney’s death accentuated how much she messed up and the fact that her talent was wasted is a crime. I do hope that her daughter will follow her own dream to be a successful singer and avoid all the wrong paths her mother followed. Divorcing herself from her father seems a good start but, unless she has inherited her mother’s extraordinary talent, the world will not be kind to her.

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