Six degrees of separation, refers to the idea, that everyone is on average approximately six steps away by way of introduction, from any other person on Earth. “A friend of a friend” statements can be made, to connect any two people, in six steps or fewer. If anything proves this theory, it’s the social networking sites like facebook. As a mater of fact, facebook has knocked off about 5 of those degrees, where people are now, only one click away from instant connection. It’s wonderful, but actually kind of scary, when you really think about it. These types of sites can create all kinds of false concepts about relationships, and try to disguise true and real connections or friendships with the click of an . People can click to add someone to their facebook friend’s list, out of genuine desire to create, develop or continue a relationship, or randomly add some person, either because of celebrity, or pure nosiness, just to get a window, to see if their new connection is just as much of an exhibitionist, as they are a voyeur. A great subject to help analyze this topic, is celebrity.
In some way or another, we are all fascinated by the celebrity culture. Back in the day, we were mere outsiders wishing to get a peak into their lives, to see what they were like outside of a movie script, or off stage. These days, not only do we get a peak, they open the door, let us right in and give us a chance to record it. Times sure have changed.
I don’t consider myself to be a ‘fan’ of anyone. There are artists that I respect immensely and I adore their work, but other than getting into the spirit of the moment and dancing at a concert and singing along, ‘you not gonna catch me bawling and crying over NO ONE!” The only entertainers that may have had that privilege in my life, are dead, sad to say. Peter Tosh, Lucky Dube, Bob Marley, Tupac, Dennis Brown and of course my heart string Aaliyah.. I can’t ever explain the Aaliyah thing to anyone. I just had a thing for that girl. Only Jah know. 😀 Truth be told, I wouldn’t have even cried or carried on over them, I would’ve just wanted to sit and engage in a nice quiet dinner with them and just pick their brains a little. 😀 If I could have dinner with any entertainer, dead or alive, it would be those I previously mentioned, plus Bunny Livingston, Rita Marley, Bill Cosby, Sizzla and about two or three more that are just not coming to me.
Technology and media being the way that it is now, has taken away the mystery and the glamour of celebrity. There are blogs, (which I read) that are totally dedicated to discussing and analyzing their every word, thought and action, consisting of open forum, where regular old joes can sit masked behind their avatar and throw stones, critique, bash and comment mercilessly, until the cows come home. I can’t imagine what it must be like to sit and read pages and pages of comments dedicated to you, with 75% of them being negative, in some of the most hurtful ways. I must admit, that many of these celebrities do throw gas on the fire and and put ammunition in many a gun aimed in their direction, by the sheer stupidity and moronic , douchbaggyness (yes its a word. I made it up.) of their actions. Quite a few of them need to unfriend social media and back away from the twitter and the facebook, but alas, some folks gotta learn their lessons the hard way.
I too am guilty of reading some of the foolishness that is blogged about and formulating my own opinions about people I have never met, based on other people’s ideas and information, be it factual or fictional, but I dare not comment on shit I don’t know first hand.
About 2 weeks ago, the music world lost another mega talent, that had been raked over the coals many times in tabloids and on the blogs, especially in the last week of her life. It was quite funny to see comments and blog post go literally from demonizing her ‘erratic behaviour’ to calling her an angel from heaven’s choir. Whitney Houston, no doubt, had probably the most perfect singing voice, when she was at her peak. The woman could not be out done. There was some competition out there though and I am not talking about Mariah Carey. This lady is first to come to mind, when I think of genuine singing talent like Whitney, but there were others.
All of the hindsight love that is being thrown Miss. Houston’s way is completely irrelevant to her now, as she needed it most when she was alive. Let that be a lesson to us all, to let our loved ones know how much we appreciate them, while they are still present and amongst us. Her funeral ceremony was beautiful. I did roll my eyes a couple of times, but for the most part, it was really touching. It did make me wonder though, with all of those spiritual Godly people around, why is it no one was able to reach that part of Whitney, to save her from herself?
There was one particular interview with Whitney that I remember. It was after her last album came out and she was on a press junket promoting it. She said that she had no intentions of doing another album and that she was seriously weighing the idea of moving to an island (I believe she was talking about Antigua and only Jesus can tell me otherwise) 😀 , and opening up a fruit stand and just chillin’ out and enjoying the rest of her life. I think it would’ve looked just like this.
Can you imagine driving around Fig Tree Drive and stopping to buy some mangoes or bananas and see Whitney Houston serve you?… That would be soo cool,..then she’d bust into “I willl always love youuuuuuu”..lol..It couldda happened…. 😀 Lemme show you why I believe so..
Here is a brief interview with my auntie, someone who knew Miss. Houston pretty well. She’s worked in the hotel industry for many years has met many celebrities, but for the most part, they were just brief pleasant interactions, that never developed beyond a cordial employee, guest relationship. Whitney was a little different though. She usually never talks about the guests that she encounters, and she’s met plenty, but she obliged me this interview. So thank you auntie. Much appreciated.
Me: How long ago did you meet Whitney Houston?
Auntie C: Sometime in the 80’s. It may have been in 87? I was working at St.James Club at the time.
Me: How did you end up meeting her?
Auntie C:Funnily enough,..she actually came looking for me. (My aunt is actually laughing her butt off recalling the moment). She came running into the casino, speaking really loudly, asking for her sister. Everyone was kind of like who is this crazy American woman and what sister is she looking for? She kept saying…“My auntie says I have a look-a-like here that could be my sister, so I’m here to see for myself.” The auntie she was referring to is Dionne Warwick. She’s actually not her aunt but her cousin, but she called her auntie out of respect, because of their age difference. Apparently, Dionne who came to St. James quite a lot told her about me, because she thought I looked a bit like Whitney, so when Whitney came to the hotel for herself the first time, she came to see who the look-a like was. She looked all the girls in the casino up and down was like no, not you and when she got to me, she said “It must be you, you got a nice flared nose just like I do.” Then hugged me. All of this time I was like Who is this crazy woman? But she was really funny and nice, so it was like whatever.
Me: So you didn’t know that it was Whitney Houston?! Are you serious?!
Auntie C: You gotta remember, back then wasn’t like now. I mean I had heard her songs on the radio, but to say I had ever known what the singer of the song looked like was a different story. And she was famous and popular, but still nothing like the fame she had years later.
Me: When did you realize who she was?
Auntie C: After she left the casino,we went back to doing what we’d been doing before she came. I went over and asked the bartender who the hell was that woman and he looked at me as if I was crazy. He was like that’s Whitney Houston, you know the singer. ..and I still didn’t really get it yet and then he was like you know “How will I know?”. That was when I realized who she was.
Me: What was your reaction the next time you saw her?
Auntie C: The next night, I actually waited to see if she would come back to the casino, even after my shift was over. When she did, I went up to her and asked he why she didn’t tell me who she was. She was like I thought you knew. Then I told her “I thought you were a mad woman.” She laughed her ass off for the longest time. She said you and a lot of people. We were really cool after that.
Me: Since her untimely passing, a lot of her acquaintances, friends and family have been interviewed and the one thing that everyone has said consistently, was how down to earth she was. Can you add to that?
Auntie C: She was the most easy going person. She was loud and friendly and funny and very open to people. She was very generous with the staff. Loved to tip.
Me: Was she mostly cloaked up in the hotel or did she really get to know Antigua?
Auntie C: She loved St.James a lot. There was a hill out there that she would go up to, just to chill out by herself, but she did move around Antigua quite a bit. She had peace here. You know how Antiguans are, it doesn’t really matter who you are, we let people have their space and are respectful. She liked that.
Me: There was a lot a lot of talk of her generosity. Have you ever seen that first hand?
My aunt hesitates for a bit.
Auntie C: She was a very giving person. She never liked to talk about that kind of stuff. But she was very kind. She fell in love with a little boy she’d met around Cobbs Cross School and she ending up building a house for him and his family. I’ll leave it at that. 😀
Me: Have you ever met Bobby (Brown)?
Auntie C: Yes I did. (She is laughing hysterically re-calling one of their encounters) Bobby actually defended me against another guest. I was dealing in the casino to a guest at the hotel. Bobby was at the table as well. Then the guy who I was dealing to said ‘I don’t like you’ to me, because he kept losing. Bobby was like “What did you say to her?! Did you tell her you didn’t like her?!” Then he went off on the man. lol.. That night I got so many tips from Bobby, I actually went to Little Switzerland and bought a necklace and called it Whitney. 😀 They both were great tippers. lol the staff loved them. She’d always say ‘Sis this is yours.’ I even met her daughter when she was just a little girl and would actually stay with her if they needed to go somewhere for a few minutes. She was was beautiful little girl.
Me: Do you still have that necklace?
Auntie C: No,..don’t you remember a couple of years ago when my house got broken into?
Me:… Oh yeah, and they stole a bunch of Jewellery….
Auntie C: Yeah, that necklace was one of them. That broke my heart actually.
Me: I’m sorry. I just remembered now that I’m interviewing you. lol 😦
Auntie C: Whitney was just a very open person. Genuinely good hearted. She was not stand-offish and she gave everyone her attention. If you were there, she’d ask you your name. She wasn’t much for autographs. I mean she would give anyone who asked, but she was like ‘I’m on vacation, I’m just chillin wid ma peeps.’ But I’d say she was most comfortable around people, who didn’t fawn all over her. She considered herself to be a regular woman. lol. She welcomed me with open arms. Sometimes I would be at her villa with her all day. You would think that her being a celebrity of her caliber, that she would keep me at bay. Yet she would invite me along to wherever she was going. Really befriended me, and kept in contact with me, at the height of her success.
Me: With all of the coverage of her death, they showed an interview that she did after her last album was released. It was one of those promotional appearances for the album and she said, She had not intended on doing an album. She had made up her mind that she was going to move to an island and set up a fruit stand? I was thinking that she meant Antigua. What do you think?
Auntie C: Me too. lol She did love Antigua a lot. She was very relaxed here. Whenever she was going to come down, she would send me a postcard before she came. It would say “Sis, I’m coming?” Maybe if she had followed her mind, she would have been here, or on some other island, had she not meant Antigua and she’d be alive today, selling fruits from her fabulous fruit stand. But that doesn’t matter now does it.
Thank you too my Aunt again.