From her seven #1 Billboard singles to her first leading role in “The Bodyguard”, we fell in love with her. During those rough years when she was battling with her drug addiction under the constant scrutiny of the public eye, we prayed and rooted for her recovery. Now we are two months into the 2012 year, hardly finishing out the month of February, and at this moment in time the world misses and mourns her. If you don’t know, or haven’t heard by now, the woman I’m talking about is the legendary, late, great songstress Whitney Houston. She was found unresponsive and pronounced deceased in her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 11; just one day before she was to appear at the Grammys.

Born on August 9, 1963 in Newark, New Jersey, Whitney Houston’s early beginnings as a singer started at her Baptist church where she sang solos in the youth choir. After a few years of getting her feet wet with acting in a few sitcoms and performing with a couple of jazz/ funk ensembles, in 1983 Houston was spotted by Arista President Clive Davis while singing at a nightclub, and offered a contract.

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The rest as they say, is history…

Since the release of her self-titled debut album in 1985, Ms. Houston began earning her title, later given to her, as the “Queen of Pop”. Throughout her career, she received an array of awards, including 30 Billboard Awards, 22 American Music Awards, and 6 Grammys. She also holds the record as the only artist to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits.

Although facts surrounding the cause of Ms. Houston’s sudden and tragic death are still under investigation and not completely pieced together, two things should remain clear: Whitney Houston left an everlasting impact on the music industry and between her and her fans, as well as her music colleagues.

From Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder to Mariah Carey and Jennifer Hudson, Whitney Houston touched and inspired the lives of millions. Yes, with the news of her passing comes feelings of sorrow, but there also should come feelings of relief; relief in knowing that she is finally free from everything and everyone that hindered her; relief that she is no longer here to be judged or criticized. Our once caged songbird has been freed.

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