They Go In Threes
The moment I first heard Whitney Houston’s single over the radio, “I Will Always Love You,” was the first time I had ever gotten the chills from hearing a singer sing. She sang her heart out on that track and for days I tried my best to match up to her vocals by singing into a hair brush I pretended was a microphone. Whitney Houston became an icon in my eyes; her music will live on for generations to come.
I can say the same for the late and great Etta James. Her beautiful voice transcended boundaries and paved the way for many up and coming singers such as Whitney Houston. I remember being super young hearing Etta James sing for the first time to one of my favorite songs, “At Last.” The way Etta James utilized her vocal chords was amazing! I find it extremely hard to put that much talent into words. Her talent helped to bring people out of a depression and empowered them to keep on pushing. I truly admired her work as an artist because it takes pure authentic talent to help mend our people together. Etta James and Whitney Houston united all kinds of people in a positive way.
Much like Etta James and Whitney Houston, Don Cornelius can be viewed as a “game changer” himself. He changed the way in which African Americans were viewed and portrayed throughout the media. He was the founder and CEO of the widely popular hit show, “Soul Train.”
So my question is what do these three talented and popular artists and innovators have in common? They all died within days of each other. Etta James passed away on January 20, 2012 and within days, Don Cornelius died several days later on February 1, 2012 and to top it all off, the beautiful Whitney Houston left behind many devoted fans on February 11, 2012. The chilling part about it all is that their deaths could have been prevented.
Both Etta James and Whitney Houston battled substance abuse and Don Cornelius was dealing with depression. It is important that we as a community pay attention to our mental wellness. There is a huge stigma within our African American community surrounding the true relevance of talk therapy. It should be a routine to check up on our mental health, but we seldom time over look it. There are simple steps one can take to check out their mental health daily. Start by talking positively to yourself and allow constructive thoughts to follow. Also, if you have concerns, talk it over with a close friend and do not let it weigh you down. The student health center offers a variety of resources on campus for students. Check out the services and get involved with what CSULA has to offer! Their general office hours are Monday- Thursday at 8:30am -5:45 pm and also on Friday’s at 8:30am -12:15pm. And feel free to stop by the Cross Cultural Center for more information and resources.