As much as I loved Whitney Houston, the one lesson to take from her life —and her last few years in particular— it’s to let her rest. She served us well and gave us far more of herself and her gifts than we arguably deserved. Why continue to exploit her likeness any further? Has she not already done enough?
Apparently not, according to her sister-in-law and estate executor Pat Houston. She wants Whitney Houston to continue working. Thanks to technology, the impossible is now somewhat probable courtesy of plans to offer audiences Whitney onstage by way of a hologram.
In a statement about the proposed tour, Pat Houston says the use of a Whitney hologram is “a great opportunity for her fans to see a reinvention of one the most celebrated female artists in history and to continue a legacy of performances that will not be forgotten in years to come.”
Alki David, the CEO of Hologram USA, added, “The opportunity to help share her spectacular gifts with the world again is exactly what I hoped for when I built the hologram business.”
Translation: It’s another exploitative way to make money off the deceased star.
Pat Houston had already done this by way of an ill-advised and even more ill-timed reality show. A reality show that featured Whitney’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, visibly inebriated before a national audience. Considering the outcome of Bobbi Kristina’s life, it’s even more infuriating to think about how exposed she was. Whitney Houston regretted Being Bobby Brown, so I can’t imagine she would have wanted that for her daughter.
I also highly doubt she would want this either. It appears to be yet another tactic to tacky up the legacy of one of the world’s absolute greatest voices.
No matter how good the technology proves to be, it will not be the real Whitney Houston. The vocals may be there, but the soul behind it will not. It can never truly be the experience fans deserve.
You cannot recapture Whitney’s brilliant performances on awards shows like The Grammys, the BET Awards, the Billboard Awards, or the Soul Train Awards. Nothing will come close to gorgeous offerings like her onstage rendition of “Just The Lonely Talking Again.” Or “I Believe In You and Me.” Or her rendition of the National Anthem.
No hologram can duplicate Whitney’s onstage sass, two-step, shimmy, and the sweat that often poured from her beautiful face. It just can’t. I’m sure the people behind this tour know that. They just don’t care. A dollar is a dollar.
That won’t make it any less wrong. Whitney had her life and it ended far sooner than it should have. She had her moment all the same. Let us carry her memory. Let us make sure generations that follow know what a great gift to the world she was.
But, let her rest.