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On Whitney Houston’s “Home Going”: A Four Hour Observation

A four hour observation


What I am going to write may be seen, by some,  as sacrilegious. I do

not apologize, These are honest thoughts and feelings after being in my

house during the three hour and 45 minutes “Home Going” for Whitney

Houston. Checking channels, I think four television channels broadcast

the funeral.

The governor of New Jersey and the Mayor of the city of Newark were in

attendance. The church was filled with more than one thousand close

friends, with thousands behind a  barricades several blocks away and

millions watching world-wide. I did not watch the entire spectacle, but

a TV was “on” in the background.

Occasionally, I stopped to watch and listen, such as when Kevin Kostner

spoke, or when I heard a singing voice where I wanted to see the

singer.–for a few moments.

I do  understand, empathize with and respect  the emotions and the

experiences that brought this day to being. I do not understand the

impulse that brought about the attention, nor the time and resources that

were expended.

For the past week, the “airwaves,” and I suppose other media, have been

filled with reports on the “unexpected” death of the American popular

singer Whitney Houston.  I do not have words to adequately convey my

thoughts and feelings about the adulation. No such attention has been

given to any of the occasions that are  important to the health and

well-being of the nation and the world–no four hour directed attention

and use of resources for the deaths of citizens in this nation and

around the world, who are being killed, starved, imprisoned.  Regularly,

I see reports of starving children, the homeless, the ill, the

unemployed. No four hour coverage has been offered for the pleas of,

say, Occupy.

The Rev. Winans perturbed me. He began his sermon at three o’clock–in

a ceremony that was, then, three hours long. He performed for the next

forty minutes. I had wondered who was the cleric behind the podium in

the black garment, with the red cummerbund. I did not think he was a

Bishop or Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. They wear hats. My

determination for his contribution to the service is that this was the

biggest “ego-trip” of the day.

My early religious environment was not in the Baptist church.  My

maternal grandmother was Baptist, and on visits I attended service with

her. There was a difference between those services and the Presbyterian,

USA congregation of my immediate family–including mother, who

converted. I have attended Methodist-Episcopal-Catholic-Jewish-Hindu-

and Muslim services. My brother-in-law joined a fundamentalist

congregation; Pentecostal, I think. His “Home Going’ was interesting,

joyous and filled with song–for about one and one-half hours. He was no

celebrity, of course.

I am annoyed by the term “Black Church,” as if that is a denomination.

There are protestant churches of various denominations, Baptist, being

only one.  I’ve had whites say, “I just love Gospel Music.” I say,  “I

don’t; I did not grow up hearing Gospel Music.” Surprise!!!

Because of my religious upbringing, Presbyterian USA, I have a different

perspective. I respect the beliefs and practices of the people who were

involved in the Home Going, today–everyone.   My experience differs. I

like the Presbyterian and Unitarian Universalist; I am comfortable.  It

is a “cultural thang.”

I heard somewhere, “I like the quiet church.”

I am, deeply, concerned with the attention to a very talented,

accomplished woman of color, who brought pleasure to many people, and

lots of money to some.   I do not deny the experience. I simply wonder.

The Reverend Winans spoke on the theme of “priorities.” I did not

listen, carefully; I was not drawn-in by his demeanor, nor remarks. I do

comprehend PRIORITIES.

Gwendoline Y. Fortune

Author; Growing Up Nigger Rich and Family Lines


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2012

Early today I went to the drug store (CVS) to get a refill of a prescription. Because the day’s order had not been inventoried I was told to “take a seat and wait a few  minutes.”

I sat in the area assigned–wondering why the store did not have someone clean the floor. The area was littered with the same debris I have noticed  during the past four day,  during which I have tried to unravel a mistake in my order.

A display of mass magazines, “People” and “US,” I think,  set atop the counter. I pulled a “People.” I seem to remember that at its initial publication it was supposed to be a replacement for LIFE.

I thumbed through the magazine, expecting to be called to the counter in a few minutes. I was able to read the entire issue before hearing my name–mispronounced. “Letters to the Editor” began with three letters thanking the magazine for a spread on the Obama family.

The fourth letter asked why did they publish stories on the Obamas. I kid you not, the e-mail writer said that there had been coverage of the Obama family a number of times. She wrote, “I buy “People” for stories on celebrities, not politicians.” Luckily, I was sitting down. The issue included a story on the British royal family. I dare say they are not political. Whoever heard of King Henry VIII?

I have no memory of any of the fancy dresses, announcements of “Golden Globes,” etc, only that I was able to pass the time without it seeming to be hours, only twenty-minutes.

At home I opened the daily Internet news reports.

1. truthout <>    Articles (essays) by Chris Hedges, Amy Goodman, David Wren, and nine more–researched, grammatically accurate, well planned and presented, as well as seven “Buzzflashes–titled but not summarized articles. I appreciate not having to wade through one, or more, newspapers, advertisements, and inane “news.”

Next, I opened,

2. nation of change <> with articles by Nick Turner, Aron Mehta, and ten additional.

I haven’t gotten to “Democracy Now.” “The Daily Digest”  is in the queue. I’ll watch it at 6 PM on LINKTV. If I didn’t–or someone telephoned, it awaits..

There is no reason for anyone to be ill-informed or for a person to have no time to “keep-up.”

I  watched “Morning Joe” on MSNBC this morning. Joe Scarborough is a former Congressman, so I do not neglect other “sides.”by the Republican candidates at MSNBC this AM. Morning Joe, with Joe Scarborough, former Republican representative.  More than enough. You may wish-care enough to pass along-share– these, and similar concise, informative sources.