“I know that when you look at me, there’s so much that you just don’t see…” — lyrics from “Run to You”
The most disturbing aspect about Whitney Houston’s death last week has been the baseless speculations touted by gossipmongers masquerading as newscasters. I found myself wondering whatever happened to at least the appearance of fact-based, objective journalism. Disgusted, I avoided all media coverage and remembered Houston in my own way, focusing on her phenomenal talent and enjoying her music. It was comforting to watch Houston’s homegoing service today as those who knew and loved her shared their remembrances, tributes and farewells – from Stevie Wonder’s “secret crush” to Kevin Costner’s insistence that Houston co-star with him in The Bodyguard to BeBe Winans’ loving recollection of “crazy” Whitney. Even with those new insights, as a fan who never met Houston, a scene from The Bodyguard remains foremost on my mind when I think of her.
In The Bodyguard Houston’s character, Rachel Marron, reluctantly hires a bodyguard, Frank Farmer (Kevin Costner), to protect her from a stalker. From an upstairs window, Rachel catches Frank transfixed by her image in the “Run to You” music video. She realizes at that moment that the brusque bodyguard is attracted to her. As I recognized how similar Houston’s life was to Rachel’s, I was struck by the irony and sadness. How often did Houston wonder if adoring fans preferred the carefully created image over her “real” self? Did the line between fantasy and reality blur from time to time? Was it difficult to distinguish genuine affection from the obsequiousness of hangers-on? Did Houston ever feel safe enough to be herself and with whom? I can only imagine how lonely that could have been for her.
As I revisited that scene in The Bodyguard over the past week, the sadness was replaced by feelings of happiness and inspiration. Instead of Rachel looking down from the window, I now see Houston, serene and beautiful, gazing down from an enlightened perspective where she is loved and finally able to fully appreciate the joy her music continues to bring to people worldwide. Houston is at peace. She is safe. She is free.
Excerpt from The Bodyguard: