Sunday, February 12, 2012

Remembering Whitney Houston

During the evening of Saturday February 12, 2012 the disturbing news of the death of Whitney Houston sent shockwaves around the world. Instantly persons took to social media networks to express their surprise, shock and heartfelt condolences. The world has lost an iconic female vocalist in the passing of Whitney Houston.
A girl born into a family of extraordinarily talented and successful musicians with mother Cissy Houston being a renowned gospel singer, soul sensations for cousins in Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick, and a Godmother in Aretha Franklyn, it is no small wonder that Whitney Houston grew to become the most prominent and powerful female voice of her era. Beginning her singing career in church, her unmistakably unique and powerful voice eventually found the ear of one of the music industry’s keenest ear for talent, Mr. Clive Davis who wasted no time in signing her to his Arista Records.
Whitney Houston is regarded as one of the all-time bestselling female artistes in the music industry to date, selling over 170 million copies of albums, singles and videos during her time at Arista Records. She was also cited by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2009 as the most awarded female act of all time. Some her awards include: two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards, among a total of 415 other career awards as of 2010.
Some of her record sales achievements are as follows: Being the only artiste to chart seven consecutive #1 Billboard Hot 100 hits ("Saving All My Love For You," "How Will I Know," "Greatest Love Of All," "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)," "Didn't We Almost Have It All," "So Emotional," and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go"); the first female artiste to enter the Billboard 200 album chart at #1 (her second album, Whitney, 1987); and the only artiste with seven consecutive multi-platinum albums (Whitney Houston, Whitney, I'm Your Baby Tonight, The Bodyguard, Waiting To Exhale, and The Preacher's Wife soundtracks, and My Love Is Your Love).
The Bodyguard soundtrack is still regarded as one of the top 10 biggest-selling albums of all-time (at 17x-platinum in the U.S. alone), and her career-defining version of the Dolly Parton written "I Will Always Love You" remains the biggest-selling U.S. single of all-time (at 4x-platinum).
Sadly with all her success Whitney seemed to not be able to find true happiness. Drugs and alcohol and eventually a failed marriage helped to contribute to her legendary fall from stardom. Her perfectly pitched voice no longer had its power and range. However fans still adored her and understood the human weaknesses she was experiencing. Even amidst her much publicized battle with drugs, she maintained her love for music and tried a few times and most recently, to restart her singing career. But now she’s gone, taken from this world at the relatively young age of 48.
Whitney, you have set the benchmark for contemporary soul singing with your powerful yet exquisitely melodious voice. Many singers both male and female have learnt many things from you. Your touching lyrics and distinctive melodies amply supported by a unique harmonic style will forever be cherished and remembered by millions of fans worldwide. As for me I know that I Will Always Love You.
R.I.P Whitney.

Friday, February 10, 2012

All must fight to eradicate sexual child abuse from our society.

Children are special. They are God’s gift to us. Children never ask to be born. They are conceived and are brought into the world to be loved and cared for by their parents and relatives. As children grow they learn. Children learn from every circumstance around them. Therefore, parents and other adults have a responsibility to ensure that children are protected and raised in a manner that will guarantee their unharmed physical, mental and emotional growth.
In today’s world and indeed from time immemorial, numerous factors have played varying roles in the underdevelopment of children. One such factor is the scourge of sexual child abuse.
Sexual child abuse happens in all racial, religious, ethnic and age groups, and at all socio-economic levels. Since children are abused in homes across the country, adults need to learn what makes children vulnerable, how to recognize warning signs of those who may be sexually abusing children, and what to do if sexual abuse is suspected.
Not being in possession of the actual statistics of sexual child abuse in Guyana, I am unable to comment further on its prevalence in Guyanese society. But I am sure there exists in Guyana very stark figures of this heinous crime. One is being constantly reminded in the Guyanese media about a religious leader presently before the courts on child abuse charges.
Internationally as far back as 2003, a journal article entitled, “Prevalence and Psychological Sequence of Self-Reported Childhood Physical and Sexual Abuse in General Population” stated  that one in three girls and one in seven boys will be sexually abused at some point in their childhood (Briere & Eliot, 2003).
Parents and adults must play a more active role in protecting children from child molesters. Early detection and intervention can reduce the potential for harm and assure children of their safety. Since children cannot protect themselves alone, adults must learn to recognise and inquire about behaviors that make children vulnerable or suggest that abuse has occurred. Adults must not wait for children to tell about abuse. This position leaves them to face the confusion and trauma of victimization on their own.
Adults must start listening to children and looking for the signs of potential pedophilic behaviour. One ought not to be paranoid about the issue, but to be extremely guarded when allowing children to interact with adults. Sadly most pedophiles are person parents and even children trust which complicates the issue of curtailing the actions of these sick adults. However, as mentioned earlier, keen attention must be paid to the early signs of abuse. Parents must learn to listen and take seriously the verbal and nonverbal cues of children suffering from the sexual advances of adults.
Together we must stop child abuse. Children deserve to live as children and not as victims of sexual crimes.