I’ve been trying to understand why certain entertainer’s deaths hurt me so much. Luther Vandross…Gerald Levert…Michael Jackson…Whitney Houston…and now Prince. I think it’s because I grew up listening to their songs…singing along to them…LIVING to them.
I fell in love in my teen years to Luther Vandross…and promptly had my heart broken for the 1st time. Luther Vandross provided the music to everything that went on (first loves, first dates, broken hearts).
I fell in love again to Gerald Levert….twice….and again had to mend a broken heart. I fell in love again (three times the charm)…married to one of his songs..and then promptly lost the best mother I ever had. Gerald’s songs soothed and healed.
I grew up on Michael Jackson…idolized him…wanted to dance like him…waited with baited breath every time he released a new video and watched with all of America while his electricity captured our minds and hearts.
Whitney Houston…I had EVERY album she ever put out. First ones were gifts from the neighborhood boy vying for my heart….as I pined for another over Where Do Broken Hearts Go..sang her songs in the bathroom mirror into my hairbrush. I wanted her smile, her girl next door beauty..and even though she struggled to dance (smile), she commanded everyone’s attention when she opened her mouth. I came of age to her songs….
I lose a piece of myself every time I lose one of my childhood/teen idols because I lose a piece of my own mortality.
And now there’s Prince. And I find myself here yet again….Prince was always different to me…but I could not deny the magnetic charm and sheer artistry he presented. He adorned my teenage walls right alongside Michael Jackson. I was in awe of his talent and his ability to play every instrument. And once again, I LIVED to his songs – had my first date to see Purple Rain..and then a second for Under the Cherry Moon (which I didn’t get and neither did anyone else – smile). I danced my college years away to Erotic City…and tried out as a dancer to Baby I’m a Star.
And so it is….I lose a piece of myself every time I lose one of my childhood/teen idols because I lose a piece of my own mortality. Songs will take you back to where you were at the time – be it a 16 year old girl in love for the first or second time….a 20 year old woman contemplating sex for the first time….or a 24 year old woman….in her first career, navigating life, and bills, and relationships…. And when the singers of those songs are silenced forever…you know you can never truly go back to those times with them actually singing those songs to you….and you will have to rely on old CDs, and Youtube, and XM, and the radio….And then you cry…and feel sad..and listen to their music however you can…but most importantly you LIVE, albeit differently…but knowing life will never be the same.
#Prince #RIP #Whitney #MJ #Luther #Gerald
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