Three years ago today the world lost not only perhaps the most outstanding vocal talent of the century, but a woman who inspired an entire generation of young Black women and girls. She was not only an unparalleled singer, she was not only beautiful and poised...she WAS beauty. She WAS poise...

And from the moment she released her first album she was always joyously and unambiguously Black.

She was brown-skinned, she was natural hair, she was gospel...

She was everything (EVERYTHING) wonderful that WE knew Black women could be, despite the scorn and skepticism we sometimes encountered in society. Her flawless complexion, her gleaming smile and her seemingly effortless confidence shined brighter than any harsh spotlight that they could think to cast on the flaws of Black America. How could you tell us Black people weren't fabulous? We had Whitney!

And she believed that WE were the future.

Sadly though, Whitney was also Newark. And she was, after all (to our genuine surprise), only human. So some of Black America's flaws - many of which we know are simply America's flaws that have, by design, disproportionately affected Black Americans - eventually caught up with and overwhelmed her. Three years later it still seems unfair and the question of who will ever be able to replace her as THE paragon of Black womanhood remains unanswered.

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Although I still haven't fully accepted the loss, I pray that Whitney's broken heart has found its way home and that her baby girl's still has time to heal.

A little piece of mine is forever gone missing...

Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012)