I have to admit it. When I first learned about your comeback, I chuckled. When I caught the last 10 minutes of your GMA performance a few weeks ago, I shook my head. Your trademark seemed to be missing.
I couldn’t understand why you would comeback with anything less than what you brought when your voice was known as a national treasure. I knew I wouldn’t purchase the album. I didn’t want to hear it. No, I’d rather listen to some of my favorites of yours, including “I Have Nothing” and “You Give Good Love.” You know, back when your voice in song brought tears to eyes and joy to hearts.
But there you were, sounding like a shell of yourself. It reminded me of Ali fighting in the 80s, and I couldn’t understand why you’d do such a thing. I had no interest in you singing. I just wondered what had happened to your voice.
Still, I had to tune into Oprah the last two days to see what all the hubbub was about concerning this interview you had with her, and I’m glad I did.
You spoke with candor about your experiences, especially your marriage to Bobby. You talked about him slapping you and spitting on you in front of Bobbi Kristina. You talked about hitting Bobby over the head a few times with objects. You talked about you all’s use of cocaine and marijuana. You talked about the day you left.
You opened up about many of the things that were rumored throughout the last 20 years, and gave them a perspective — your perspective — most of us couldn’t understand. Some people don’t get why you did it. Sure, it was cathartic, but why tell the world candidly about your life and your addictions. Yet, I feel as though we learned a lot about your plight, lessons we can apply in our own walks.
See, I had wondered how your marriage to Bobby lasted so long with all of the surrounding circumstances. Hearing you speak about your commitment to your marital vows, despite your flaws and your ex-husband’s many mishaps, made some of it make sense. If anything, we could understand why you tried so hard for 14 years of marriage.
But what stuck with me more than anything is your reliance on your faith. It was evident throughout two hours of interviews. It’s something I never knew. You harped on it and made it evident that the reason you believe you’ve come through your struggles is because of your belief in God.
That’s where this new album thing starts to make sense. Even without your signature voice there are a few powerful messages hidden within a couple of the tracks, especially the title track “I Look To You” and “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength.” You discussed them in detail with Oprah, and I’m glad I took the opportunity to listen after hearing your story. You can hear your struggle within those songs.
And while they don’t hold the power of your earlier work, they’re still great markers for you and for those of us who will turn an ear to your voice again. They are reminders many of us need in good and bad times, ones that many of us people don’t hear often in music today. With your album debuting No. 1 on the Billboard charts, the message you delivered will hit home for plenty.
Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for being as open as you were with Oprah. Without your honesty, I probably would have continued dismissing you in the manner I have for the last several years. Now, I know better and I’m glad I tuned in.
Wishing your voice still had its once undeniable power,