Of all the news coverage and reflections on the sudden death of singer/actress Whitney Houston (1963-2012), I was moved when the host of the 54th Grammy Awards, LL Cool J, said "The only thing that feels right is to begin with a prayer … for our fallen sister, Whitney Houston."
The prayer is simple, but I was watching the audience. From what I could see, everyone in camera range bowed their heads in prayer. Sunday, the Grammys represented a community in grief for a woman whose voice was the soundtrack for a generation.
The Grammys, of all of the award shows, is perhaps the most religious. How many artists thank God for the gift of their music that garnered them accolades for their work? Whitney Houston herself won six Grammys in her short lifetime.
Just last week I was having dinner with some publishing colleagues, and the conversation moved from movies to music. Who is the best female vocalist of all time? I said, "Whitney Houston." My friends conceded that she is, perhaps, the greatest of our generation, but I think she's an all-time great because her voice will resound through the universe, care of iTunes, for decades to come.