By Okachikwu Dibia, Abuja
It was during the final football match between Zambia and Ivory Coast in the just concluded African Cup of Nations competition that I read the news that Whitney Houston is dead. She was a musical icon and legend from the United States of America (USA). She hit the limelight in the 1980s. She had won over five Grammy Awards. She got married to Bobby Brown and they had a baby girl. Bobby Brown has got kids from other ladies too. She was discovered dead in a hotel room in Los Angeles that weekend.
My instant response was to switch off the television: but I did not for the sake of others who were watching the match and also to see who finally wins this peculiar competition. Yet, my efforts to hide my wild pitiable sad feeling about the death of a woman I so dearly loved her artistry could not succeed. So I suddenly announced that I was retiring to my bedroom; not to watch the match anymore. My co-watchers, in apparent bewilderment, were dead silent and I left. On my way, my wife insisted to know why I suddenly decided to go to bed. I broke the news to her and from her report to me later, everybody was just sad; even though they may not have known very well who Whitney was. This is one power of death. This simple narrative was to bring to bear the emotions that prevailed in my house on hearing of Whitney’s death.
The next day in my office, I was worried and nearly got myself devastated at least psychologically. But I managed to pull-through and that is one beauty of baby-maturity. Since the 1980s when I discovered and knew who Whitney Houston was, what she has and what she had given to the World, I decided to love the essential Whitney: her voice. God’s precious gift to her was her voice which she used to deliciously serve the World. She had a golden and originally authentic voice. That voice was quintessential, magnificent and majestic in its imperial odyssey that saw it conquer the World. So her voice, which was the best voice God gave to humanity in the 20th Century, in the entertainment parlance, had settled as a Royal Majesty whenever it is heard henceforth. It was her voice that won her in the hearts of many across the whole World; not really the message therein, which of course we may have heard before but certainly not in the same kind of voice. It was in her voice that God dwelt. Without that voice, there was no Whitney Houston. One beauty in God is His ability to create good virtues or things (that was why my people of Ikwerre call Him Chiokike) with which to sustain life. And the World saw it, recognized it, enjoyed it and appreciated it.
Her voice raised so many voices across the World. It raised so many hopes across nations of the earth. Her voice gave peace, joy and progress to some of the rich and richless peoples of the World. That Golden Voice of Whitney’s which God gave to the World in the 20th Century was like those of King David and other great singers in the Bible way back between 1000 – 500 B. C. Because He is Chiokike, He will surely create and give to humanity another of such powerful voice to serve the World. That is the significance of Whitney Houston. You can simply find this essentiality of Whitney Houston in “I will always love you” and “I wanna dance with somebody”.
Throughout the ages down to the present times, Chiokike, has been creating and giving the World great voices. Some were used for powerful speeches, while others were used for songs or to propagate progressive ideologies. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Hobbes, St Augustine, Paul, Shakespeare’s Mark Anthony, Bob Nesta Marley, Martin Lurther King Jnr, Mahatma Ghandi, Karl Heinrich Marx, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Jimmy Conter (Eze Agala 1 of Ikwerre), Lucky Dube, Michael Jackson etc all had great voices through which they served the World.
But there is something very distasteful about the loss of some of these voices through either drug related complications or assassinations. They are no longer available to serve humanity in higher and current developments. The most frustrating is why do some of them willfully go into drug lives they know can kill them even at their prime? This thinking had been with me since the World lost Bob Marley on 11th May 1981 when he was just 36 years of age. We were told that he died due to cancer arising from too much consumption of Indian hemp or Marijuana or Kaya. What about our own egbami eda, Fela Kuti? What about Jimmy Conter? What about Michael Jackson? And now my own dear Whitney Houston! Was it that they could not manage the gift in them or that they can simply afford to abuse their celebrity?
In the case of Whitney Houston, I dare to say that she died because she was not able to handle the huge and destabilizing abuse of her marital life by a misfit and unmerited husband like Bobby Brown. Instead of surrendering her life back to God, she chose the highly ineffective option of rehabilitation. Rehabilitation cannot work for a psychologically devastated person who still had access to drugs. Having access to drugs is her right, but society needed to pay special attention to such celebrity by restricting her right from drugs and channeling her mind recovery to God through a good church of Jesus Christ. Well the United States of America does not believe in these suggestions, but Whitney’s case proves that the teachings of morality and God through Jesus Christ is the best cure to such problems. That country must do something to save the lives of other celebrities who are engulfed in such problems. Humanity cannot afford to lose them because they are precious and unique gifts to us from God.
For those voices forcefully silenced, society must ensure that their killers are brought to book. The killers of Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jnr., Peter Tosh on 11th September 1987, Lucky Dube in 2004 etc, must be fully prosecuted even if those killers are dead. It is injustice to take a life you never created; it is huge injustice when you deny humanity the life of special talents.
In the same vein, all those identified to have indirectly caused problems that led to the extinction of golden voices should be prosecuted. It is established that Whitney Houston started being unstable after her marriage crisis with Bobby Brown. It was the crisis that unleashed problems unto her, which she couldn’t handle that led her to drugs and drugs-related death. In this circumstance, should Bobby Brown not be prosecuted for indirectly aiding her to drugs which finally killed her? If he is not checked, he will continue to spread such marital troubles to other golden voices across the World, thereby sending more of humanity’s precious and great voices to early graves. This argument may not make any legal sense, but if it can be proven that Whitney’s death is related to her marital crisis, then the argument may be valid.
The great Psalms Industry (the musical World) had been losing its voices it needs at their old ages to fulfill and mature the beauty of the industry. There is urgent need to save the World’s great voices from mind disasters arising from drugs and private problems and the excessive abuse of human rights. If a right is susceptible to abuse and death of the abuser, that right tempts. Whatever tempts is immoral, unGodly and that is why we have morality, laws, religions, parents, elders, guardians to guide the upbringing of human beings. The USA need to be careful in spreading the propaganda that freedom and human rights are absolutely limitless. They are not; they must as a matter of necessity have limits. That limit is morality. In times and histories, morality remains the unshakeable basis of the law and ultimately, the society.
Whitney Houston, the World’s greatest musical voice of the 20th Century, adieu and rest in peace. AMEN!