Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Celebrating My Grandma Luella!

15 years ago today my Grandma passed away. I believe she went to heaven to get her wings. I miss her so much. I think about her all the time and say her name almost if not each and every day. She had such a great impact on me. My mom said I remind her of Luella a lot. If you knew her then you know that is a big compliment. Today when I spoke to my mom she re-told me about the moment she found out her mother had passed away. She was at work and knew my grandma was dying from this thing called Cancer. During her lunch break it was snowing and she remembers asking God how was she going to live without her mother? Not too long after that the sun came out and it was like GOD was telling her that it was going to be alright. 30 minutes later she got the phone call that her mother had passed. Instead of rushing over to her mother's last resting place she took my youngest brother to the doctor, all while dreading telling this heartbreaking news via a phone call to her sisters. "I had to get them both on the phone," she said "Because I couldn't say my mom had died more than once." I hear the emotion in her voice as she tells me the story. I wish I could be in the room with her so I can reach out and give her a hug. But I don't interrupt with that thought, because I don't want to miss a word. I want to hear everything she has to say about this day. I never get tired of hearing anything about my grandma. I am thankful that she is even comfortable enough with me that she can share her memories, even if they are painful. After speaking with my mom about my grandma, I wanted to celebrate my grandma's presence in my life on the day she physically left it. Mainly, I just want to thank my grandma for her love. I asked my mother what does she still miss about her mother. "Just the dependability. Knowing someone is there for you. I miss calling her and saying mom can you believe this?" To me it sounds like she misses not just a mother, but a good friend. I recognize that what she misses about her mother is what I treasure most about my relationship with her. What I still miss most is the protective feeling I had when around my grandma. Being the oldest child, I chose to be very responsible most of the time. I hardly ever felt like a kid when I was a kid. I always found myself mustering up courage to deal with something adult. But around my grandmother that was never the case. With my mom, I always wanted to help. With my grandmother, I knew she didn't need me. She had it covered and that always gave me a feeling of relief. If I wanted to help, fine. But it wasn't required or necessary. I treasured that feeling. It made me feel free. Grandma's house equaled cartoons, pancakes and donuts in the morning, sleeping on the floor and the couch with blankets, exploring the neighborhood with friends, starting up pretend businesses, and always feeling safe. My grandmother's phone number was the first one I knew by heart. I still remember it..523-3459. Grandma's house represented strength, love, safety,and fun. No other place did I feel such security. I knew I would be alright whenever I was in her house or in her presence. I have a place in my past, in my childhood, that I always felt safe. One person created that for me-my grandma. I am so grateful for that. It was such a gift. I love you Lady Lu, Big Sis, G-Pimp, Mrs. Logan, grandma. And I miss you, not today......everyday.

Whitney Houston HONORED at BET HONORS!

The third annual BET Honors show premiered last night and for me it was all about Whitney Houston. Sure there were other extraordinary people honored on the show, such as Queen Latifah, Diddy, Keith Black, and Dr. Ruth J. Simmons, but I was only interested in the tribute to Whitney. Can you tell I am a super fan? Let’s get right to it. As soon as Ne-Yo introduced surprise guest, and gospel great Kim Burrell, Whitney yelled out “No!” in shock, and immediately jumped up out of her seat, and rushed to the stage. This was the first time I ever saw Whitney react as a fan. It was surreal to watch her be moved in the same way she moves us. Whitney was in tears before Kim Burrell even took the mike. The emotion that was etched on Whitney’s face made me feel pure joy. And when I finally heard this woman sing, excuse me saaaaang, you knew exactly why Whitney jumped up. Her own unique version of Whitney’s “I Believe In You and Me” taken from the Preacher’s Wife soundtrack sounded like a smooth mixture of gospel and jazz. Burrell dusted off Whitney’s old platinum hit and bedazzled it. The entire performance felt so personal. She changed a few of the words and it seemed like she spoke directly to Whitney’s heart. You couldn’t help but feel like you were peeking in on a private moment between great friends. I could tell Kim Burrell had not only been there for Whitney in song, but in life.
Kim Burrell’s amazing performance tore the house down. So it was only natural for Jennifer Hudson to finish up by blowing what was left - away. Her rendition of Whitney’s signature version of “I will Always Love You” was so crisp I thought she skipped HD and was singing in Blue Ray. You could hear Whitney’s influence in JHud’s delivery. It was obvious that she had grown up listening to Whitney. I loved how she began A cappella just like the record. Hudson didn’t disappoint. She hit every note and then some. Whitney’s emotion was so palpable that she stayed standing, with tissue in hand, yelling out, “Sing the song, baby!” Everyone in the room couldn’t help but feel love for Whitney after those soul-stirring performances. “It’s nice to be looked at and not judged,” Whitney said when looking out to the crowd accepting her statue. My heart sank as I watched her mother, Cissy Houston, wipe tears from her eyes. I love Whitney so much, and finally JUST her accomplishments were on display not her personal life. Regardless of anyone’s cynical opinion, Whitney Houston is an icon. Everyone on this show was great, but my reason for watching was to see Whitney get nothing but love. She needed it, she's earned it, and I am happy to report that's exactly what she got.