By: Dennis Maurice Dumpson
"He may not come when you want him, but he'll be there right on time. He's an on time God, yes he is..."
_On Saturday I was intensely enamored with watching Whitney Houston's Funeral/Homegoing ceremony all day and I must admit I expected to see a traditional, HOLLYWOOD funeral likened to that which we've seen with greats like The King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Indeed Whitney Houston's mother, Cissy Houston, could have gone the route of doing a huge service at one of New Jersey's prominent venues (NJPAC, etc.), but would have been authentic to her values? Not at all. So she laid her daughter to rest the only way she knew in a true homegoing service. I appreciated the service, personally, because it has all the aspects of church services I have seen my whole life. There was a freedom in the spirit of the homegoing that reminded me of Whitney's spirit as seen in her concerts, via TV, etc. , but also of what cultivated that spirit in her -- the Lord. I watched every moment of Whitney Houston's funeral via BET, CNN, and the Associated Press Online and I was reminded of something I'm a little ashamed that I forgot -- I forgot celebrities, like her, are people...they're human. #Epiphany! During Whitney's funeral I noticed something; people referenced the voice, of course, but more importantly her faith and the roads she traveled in her faith as a person like you and I. Another thing that became very apparent to me was that all these years (and I have been listening and lip syncing to Whitney Houston songs for about 20 years!) that she was preaching. Whitney had been giving out a word and I never noticed until she was no longer able to sing it anymore. Check out this video and I'll explain.
You Don't Need a Pulpit to Preach!
However, although we all tuned to pay our virtual respects to Whitney, if you listened and observed closely and for long enough you saw that the true headliner of this homegoing was our friend, Jesus! This easily could have been surrounded around Whitney's love for the music, her brilliant instrument, and amount of accolades she's gathered over her three decade run as a performer, but instead God intervened and as we say at my church "Had his way!" And it was done just as Whitney had delivered it her whole life through an approachable presentation that everyone could feel regardless of differences. Now many may say that Whitney was another singer and essentially I guess she was, but what makes her different is her ability to be used. You see, many people have talents, but refused to be used, so many times they/we wonder why can't I excel, why is all my hard work not paying off, why am I not as successful as I believe I should be; and more than 90% of time I will bet you it is because they're not allowing their gifts to be used for something greater than themselves. Those that knew Whitney reinforced this by mixing contemporary, popular, unifying themes and music and adding the message in, ever so inconspicuously. Check out what I mean as Kim Burrell uses the popular classic by Sam Cooke, "A Change Gon' Come," while inserting important points about the spirit of Whitney and the grace of God.
OK. Before I go any further let me share that every blog I do has a merge between marketing and public relations (because they line up with my profession) so that the reason for the reference to brands and public awareness that you will see throughout my blogs.
Jesus is the best Publicist Around
Whitney could no longer sing her song, preach her word (if you see it that way), or share her gifts...so the Lord stepped in, intervened and made the message clear. What do Publicists do? They make sure people know how good you are and give you good 'press' and God made the world take attention to how good Whitney was...he's the best representation around!
So what's my point? Well, hire a Publicist, Marketer, or Outreach professional, but if you do not have substance beyond "the brand" and connection to something greater than superficiality of fame you will never go beyond being a talent that nobody truly connects with. I know that's a huge statement, but it's what I believe! Get some great PR and be in a magazine for a month or on a TV for an evening; but get you some God (whatever that may mean to you!) and ensure some longevity that people believe in are unafraid to hold onto.
Never would I have thought that I would have such a deep and pivotal epiphany about God and my relationship to the Lord through Whitney Houston, but this just reminds me that we can learn, grow, and rejuvenate ourselves through the gifts of each other. AMAZING! Thank you, Lord!
I hope you enjoyed this and I know it's heavy, but here's a little smileage for you *yes, SMILEAGE...like mileage, but with smiles!* Thanks for reading!
About the Author
Dennis Maurice is an author, publicist, fundraiser, marketer, and culture enthusiast in Philadelphia, Pa. Learn more at: http://www.dennismaurice.com