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What You Said: Your Tributes to Whitney Houston

Here, a look at some moving tributes to Ms. Houston, written by you.

As news of Whitney Houston’s death broke on February 11, ESSENCE.com readers shared their grief and posted their favorite memories on our message boards and on our Facebook page. Here, a look at your most touching tributes to the late legend.

“I remember the first time I saw Whitney Houston. She was on the cover on ESSENCE Magazine. I thought she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. And that voice. It was from GOD. I aspired to be like her. In the 80’s there weren’t too many people black girls could look up to. She made me so proud to be black. She helped me appreciate that black is so very beautiful inside and out. Thank you Whitney. I hope you can rest now.” —Millicent Ingram

“I’ll never forget the time I was asked to sing ‘The Greatest Love of All’ at my kindergarten graduation. I was SO nervous. But I pushed the tunes out with so much passion. And I never forgot the meaning of those words. Whitney Houston and that song inspired me. She was the first Black woman I saw on an international platform, and that was a big deal for a young girl, growing up in the projects on the South Side of Chicago. Whitney Houston gave me hope. I’ll never forget her. She was a reminder that we are all human. And now I’m reminded that life is short. We must LIVE every day.” –DJ

“I had just read the article about Whitney in the March 2012 issue today in the hair salon. Whitney looked great in the photo. WOW! I find it ironic that she stated that SPARKLE had been shelved 10 years ago due to the death of Aaliyah and now when it is slated to finally come out … Whitney’s gone. May She Rest in Peace.” —Sharon Sanders Brooks

“I’ll never forget the first time I saw Whitney’s ‘You Give Good Love’ video. She was slim and stunning in a pink one-piece and black leather jacket. Sleeves scrunched above her elbows. Perfect teeth. Big hair. Pure ’80s. Silky vocals. Sexy vocals. My dad bought the album and we wore that thing OUT. My fave song from that masterpiece was ‘Greatest Love of All.'” –Taiia

“Growing up with Whitney meant having a song to match everything that you were going and growing through. Watching her videos bring back all sorts of memories. I am reliving high school, college, wedding, childbirth, divorce. Everything. Whitney was there singing me through it all. I just can’t believe that another icon is gone too soon. Please pray for Bobbi Kristina, Ms. Cissy Houston, Bobby Brown and the rest of her family.” —CT

“I’m a 90s baby so I mostly grew up on her movies more than her music. The Preacher’s Wife was probably when I truly fell in love with Whitney and everything came after. Respect, honor & hope through her hard times. I may be the only one in my generation that will sit in my car belting out ‘I Have Nothing’ or the so beautiful and joyous ‘Joy To The World’ or ‘I Believe In You and Me.’ Whitney had just as much effect on my life than on my mother’s or grandmother’s.” –-Stephanie

“I feel that Whitney Houston was for my generation what Diana Ross was to my mother’s generation. She was a beautiful, elegant Black woman every little girl wanted to emulate. I can’t count the hours I spent as a little girl and young woman, watching each video, playing her music over and over learning each song, feeling and believing Whitney and I were one, and thru the magic of her voice I believe we were.” –Julie

“I’ll always remember Ms. Houston’s delivery of the national anthem before the 1991 Super Bowl. I was a sophomore in college, and it was the early stages of Operation Desert Storm. I remember how her delivery of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ singlehandedly united our nation. I also remember Ms. Houston performing a moving gospel medley with her brothers on the American Music Awards during the late 1980s. Whitney Houston was one of our nation’s treasures and she will be sorely missed. I only regret that I never had an opportunity to see her perform live.” —TJ

“Whitney, thank you for the music. Thank you for making little balck girls all over the country believe they could make it in any area of life. You inspired me, and I’m not a singer. I am really saddened by your death.” —Tangela Ekhoff

“WOW!! Sometimes there are no other words!! Ironically, in this ‘last performance,’ she continues to acknowledge what we all should remember daily: ‘Yes, Jesus loves me.’ R.I.P. Whitney Houston. You were truly a legend in your own time and you will be truly missed and NEVER forgotten!!” —Patricia Simpkins

“We are so often caught up in our destination that we forget to appreciate the journey, especially the goodness of the people we meet on the way. Thank u for making our music experience a great journey.” —Shauntay MsSeptember Watkins

For real, I’m in tears and I don’t cry over celebrities… she was MY Beyonce growing up and I wanted to be just like her. She was soooo freaking beautiful and talented I am so sad that she never redeemed herself before she passed away. DAMN!!” —Ravey Babey

“RIP WHITNEY…. She was my girl. I had always liked and admired her from the very beginning, even though she had her demons constantly haunting her. She’s at peace now, with no more worries, suffering & pain.” —Stephanie Michelle Moore

“I was just reading on fb that she was tapped to be a judge on x factor and that was earlier today. I read somewhere elsewhere she was getting ready to start the remake production for Sparkle. I was hoping and rooting for her to make it back on top where she belonged. A soul gone too soon.” —Virtell Criyanc