Does any music icon personify the word "DIVA" more than Whitney Houston? Probably not. The '80s/'90s superstar went from being America's sweetheart to tabloid fodder and back again over her 30+ year career, but one thing always remained the same: her outspoken nature.
There's no denying that Whitney is one of music’s most celebrated artists of all time: she holds a Guinness World Record as the most awarded female artist ever, and is still the only artist to have seven consecutive Number One hits on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. Her soaring voice is instantly recognizable–even to young millennials and Gen Z-ers–putting today’s auto-tuned popstars to shame; and her most famous songs (“I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” “I Will Always Love You,” “How Will I Know,” “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay”) are perennial crowd-pleasers, no matter the crowd.
But good music and a good voice do not an icon make–there’s got to be something more at play to create a lasting public impression in the way that Whitney Houston has. For Whitney, that “something more” was her fiery attitude and unmatched self-confidence. If we all had a dose of that diva mindset, the world would be a better place.
Whitney knew who she was–as an artist, as a person, as a partner, and as a mother–and she wasn’t afraid to show it. Want a piece of that? Check out some of her most famous quotes on living, loving, and just doing you.
"I decided long ago never to walk in anyone's shadow. If I fail, if I succeed, at least I'll live as I believe."
"We all die. The goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to created something that will."
"I like being a woman even in a man's world. After all, men can't wear dresses, but we can wear the pants."
Nobody makes me do something I don't wanna do, it's my decision. So the biggest devil is me, I'm either my best friend or my worst enemy."
"God gave me a voice to sing with, and when you have that, what other gimmick is there?"
"No one makes me do anything I don't wanna do."
"You can fool people. You can fool anyone anytime of the day, but you can't fool yourself. At night, when you go home, you've got to be straight up with you."
"I finally faced the fact that it isn't a crime not having friends. Being alone means you have fewer problems."
"You learn, you grow up, and you become your own woman."
"I wouldn't be with anybody who wouldn't respect my opinion."
"I believe that children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside."
"What's in your soul is in your soul."
"My mother taught me that when you stand in the truth and someone tells a lie about you, don't fight it."
To recap, the biggest lessons we can take away from Whitney’s wisdom include:
- Put yourself first. Whitney Houston was adamant about never putting anyone else’s needs ahead of her own. She wasn’t going to walk in someone’s shadow. She wasn’t going value anyone’s advice above her own gut feelings. She wasn’t going to bow down to a man just because she was a woman. Whitney Houston is the ultimate example of looking out for #1 (you).
- It is what it is. Whitney wasn’t one to sugar-coat anything. She accepted herself for who she was, and accepted others for who they were as well. She didn’t see a point in trying to change things–especially matters of the heart and soul–because she honored her truth above all else.
- It’s okay to be alone. Whitney Houston was a proponent of lots of alone time. Sure, for someone like her, it was probably pretty hard to find people she could truly trust. But she found the silver lining of being alone, and you can too: like Whitney, use it as an opportunity to know yourself better; to get real with yourself.
- Appreciate your talents. Whitney knew she could sing. Like, sing sing. Most of us tend to downplay our talents, but Whitney was not shy about going into diva mode and celebrating her own accomplishments. If we could all acknowledge our strengths and cultivate sincere self-confidence, we’d be much happier.
- Be realistic. Whitney Houston wasn’t idealistic–she was realistic. But that didn’t stop her from chasing her dreams; on the contrary, she fully believed her dreams were achievable. And guess what? They were. That might be her biggest lesson of all.
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