Singing Models

When you think of Whitney Houston, you probably automatically remember her one in a million voice that mesmerized generations. I can see her now with that curly hair jumping around in the video, I Wanna Dance with Somebody. She was a fresh new face and sound on TV and radio and every demographic gravitated to her! Although, she was a magnificent singer, I first fell in love with her in my favorite magazine, Seventeen. Now, there was not a subscription coming to my mailbox(actually my mother's mailbox); I had to buy it off the magazine stands. I would save every penny from cleaning houses, braiding hair, and babysitting to do four things that made me feel like I belonged in the world of the 'haves'. There she was, Whitney Houston, the first Black female to grace the cover of Seventeen, following in the footsteps of Katiti Kironde(Glamour, 1968) and Beverly Johnson (Vogue,1974) who opened the door and left it unlocked for little Whitney to walk right on in and sit down on the cover of Seventeen to make history the first time in her life.

Whitney began her singing career in 1985 with her debut album entitled, Whitney Houston, and had two hot singles that helped the album remain in the top forty within 14 weeks. A year later, she would win a Grammy for Saving All My Love For You; she was now an accomplished model and artist at only 22 years old. However, being multi-dimensional was in her DNA and she starred in the movie, The Bodyguard; where she established her signature move to have singles on each of her movie soundtracks: Waiting to Exhale and The Preacher's Wife. I wonder where she came up with that bold move? The Bodyguard would be a turning point for Whitney, the song I Will Always Love You reached No. 1 and stayed there for 14 consecutive weeks, winning Record of the Year and Female Best Pop Vocal Performance at the 36th Grammy Awards. She would win another Grammy for the single, It's Not Right But It's Okay in 1998. Whitney won many awards and was recognized during her career, including an Academy Award.

Later in her life and career, it became difficult as she struggled to maintain America's sweetheart image due to substance abuse. We all fall short, not just celebrities. Her last movie would be a remake of 1976 movie Sparkle; beloved by her fans but she would not be around to walk the red carpet for it's release in August 2012 because of her death on 11 February 2012. Every time I hear her name, her voice or her songs, my heart drops a beat because of all the gifts and talents in here that will not be multiplied.

In 1964, a year after Whitney was born, a young lady of 18 years of age arrives in Nashville, TN on a Saturday morning with a guitar, a suitcase full of songs and cup of ambition to make her mark to become a staple on the Grand Ole Opry. Within a three years, she gains attention of the locals, a record contract with a debut album, Hello, I'm Dolly with a hit single Dumb Blonde that reached No. 24 on the country charts; pretty smart to start a career with a song like that. She was a trailblazer from the beginning and recorded a song of gender equality in 1966, Just Because I'm A Woman. She went on to be regular on the Porter Wagoner Show and skyrocketed from there; so much she surpassed her boss and mentor. This strained the professional relationship and to make the final split, she wrote a song to spell it out. The song, I Will Always Love You. Yes, Dolly Parton is the writer and has the copyright to the smash hit later song by Whitney Houston! I Will Always Love You is that signature song that has this simple melody and its easy to sing. It also fits so many types of things says Dolly. This song had such a incredible genius that everyone took notice, even the king himself, Elvis Presley but Dolly also saw its marketability and continued to keep her copyright close. She hit the jackpot almost two decades later, Whitney made Dolly a rich woman and transformed the song that even Dolly said made it her own, her record but my song. Her gifts and talents would ensure she would be crossover artist with Jolene. Before long she courted with the chance to become an actor in a movie. Dolly said she would only agree if she would write and sing the theme song; it was agreed.

In 1980, Nine to Five was the second largest grossing film that year and opened doors for Dolly to make more movies. Steel Magnolias was also a big hit on the big screen. For a singer, she was acting alongside professionals and received their respect. Dolly Parton celebrated her 50th year on Grand Ole Opry in 2019, owns a theme park, Dollywood, a publishing and record company, launched the Imagination Library and continues to make movies. Jane Fonda said of their friend and co-star, that she is the most phenomenal songwriter...breasts included. You know, during the entire time that I was with her, when she came out of her bedroom...I never saw her without her regalia. She's an utter professional.

Two lives that intersect but somehow go in totally different directions, how does this happen? it been said in Hebrews 13:2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. I think Dolly Parton has this down to a science and maybe why she she is still around. If anyone asked me who would I want to meet living, one of the people definitely would be Dolly, she has been someone I've admired since I was knew-high to a duck, lol! I thank God for all the women who have paved the way for me and who have given me reason to dream impossible dreams, be intentional and live on purpose: Much gratitude to Katiti Kironde, Beverly Johnson, Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton and Leah.

I know you're back-tracking trying to see if you missed a paragraph, but you didn't. Leah was the first wife of Jacob, who he didn't want for a wife. Her sister Rachel was considered the beauty promised to him by their father, Laban, to marry but he left out the fine print in the contract and Jacob didn't take the time to read it.

Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?” Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah's eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.” So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.

These scriptures teach us a couple of things: We are to seek God for our mate not man, we are to choose a mate based on character not countenance, and we are to ensure we understand the customs and courtesies of another culture before we enter into agreement.

Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.” So Laban gathered together all the people of the place and made a feast. But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he went in to her. (Laban gave his female servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her servant.) And in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?” Laban said, “It is not so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.” Jacob did so, and completed her week. Then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. (Laban gave his female servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her servant.) So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served Laban for another seven years.

OK, those of you not familiar with the story are probably livid at this point! Women, even daughters were considered property and really had no say in their future. During a wedding, they would celebrate up to a week and drank wine very heavily; this could be the reason Jacob didn't realize it was Leah until the morning. Some theologians suggest Leah and Rachel knew of the arrangement all along, others say they were not informed but Laban tricked Jacob knowingly to make him work 14 years because he knew he really wanted Rachel. I'm inclined to believe the latter being that the two women were at odds with each other afterwards, to the point God has to intervene. Please continue the story on your own time beginning in Genesis, Chapter 29.

Yes, Leah had a rough time in the marriage because of the trickery of her father but God always has a ram in the bush for those who are considered not worthy in man's eyes or opinion. Once Leah gave birth to Judah, she praised the Lord. Imagine finally realizing that God loves you regardless and sing about it! Leah gives birth to more than half the Tribes of Israel, including the Tribe of Levi (The Priesthood) and The Tribe of Judah (King David and Jesus). In addition,

Then he commanded them and said to them, “I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife. There they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah— the field and the cave that is in it were bought from the Hittites.”When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people.

God gave Leah double for her trouble: Jesus was in her bloodline, she had to be hidden and in the end, she was considered the one of the matriarchs buried with Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Rebekah. No matter what you look like, God can still use you. No matter what you've been through, God can use you. No matter your circumstance, God can use you and restore you. Believe it or not, Rachel's beauty opened the door for Leah to be married first as God intended, Rachael's beauty kept Leah hidden until Jacob arrived because he was the only one to marry Leah to ensure she would give birth to the priesthood and Jesus; remembering God closed Rachel's womb during this time. Leah may not have been considered beautiful enough to be a model but that's not scriptural, even Jesus wasn't considered handsome based on the scriptures(please do not take these out of context).

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. Eccl 3:11

For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. Isaiah 53:2

So remember, looks may open a door to an opportunity but character gives you the master key.

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