Yes, like every other gay guy who came of age in the 80s, I, too, am affected by Whitney’s death. My diva has, and always will be Stevie, but Whitney’s songs covered the gamut of my real romantic life. Stevie is there when you need vague lyrics about architecture (truly, she does sing about hallways and buildings a lot), but Whitney sings about finding the credit card receipts for two peoples’ meal that her man left around after he supposedly bought grub for all 6 buddies.
I was eating ice cream in my apartment in Venice one Saturday afternoon and for some reason rented her greatest hits video DVD (clearly, this was before YouTube!). I was floored at how every single song mirrored some aspect of love life over the years. I pined for someone to dance with, thought love would save the day, got so emotional, almost had it all, then had nothing, wondered where broken hearts went, and saved all my love for you.
But for me, the ultimate Whitney anthem came in 1997. She covered Annie Lennox’s “Step by Step,” for The Preacher’s Wife soundtrack. To this day, it makes me feel like anything is possible. Even her death doesn’t dim the message for me.
“Step by step/keep on moving/day by day/mile by mile/go your own way/c’mon baby, got to keep movin’, bit by bit”
I wish she’d been able to keep moving. She looked so joyous in the video. And that’s how I will always remember her. Me dancing around on the hardwood floors in a square of light from the sliding glass door overlooking Ocean Boulevard, spoon in my hand, shaking my shoulders like she does, and believing the best is yet to come.
If you’ve never heard it, check it out. And feel like anything is possible. Because, bit by bit – I think it is.