Back in 2010, as rumors about Whitney Houston’s health and alleged drug abuse intensified following a subpar performance of “I Will Always Love You” in Europe, ESSENCE’s West Coast Editor Regina R. Robertson wrote a piece in support of the pop queen she adored. Now, as sordid details emerge about the possible causes behind Houston’s death, brings back Robertson’s tribute — all about standing by “our star” through thick and thin.

By now, everybody’s seen the Youtube footage of Whitney’s less-than-stellar vocal performance of one of her biggest hits. The blogs have been buzzing and just yesterday, Meredith Viera reported the story on “The Today Show.” Even she seemed a bit saddened by the whole situation, so much so that she ended the segment with a question: Where are the people who are supposed to protect her?

I will admit that I’m a bit biased. I am a die-hard Whitney Houston fan and have been since the first time I heard her voice on the radio. I’ve seen her live shows, bought her albums, saw the movies and yes, drank the Kool-Aid.

She was our star. When she released her current album, “I Look To You,” last fall, I can’t say that I loved every single song. Honestly, I was just so happy to have her back and most important, she seemed happy to be back. Many of my friends scoffed at me for caring, but I always countered with the fact that Whitney had put in far too much work, for far too long, to have her legacy tarnished at this point in her career.

I was also afraid that the younger set would only know of her what they’d read in tabloids and on blogs. I wanted her to do better, be better.

Was I saddened when she began to slip, and eventually tumble, from her pop throne? Yes. Did I cringe each time I saw her and the ex completely bugging out on “Being Bobby Brown?” Without a doubt. Was disappointed in him, too.

Have I prayed that she would somehow pull herself together, not so much for her fans, but for herself? Yes, and often.

Do I think she should be touring if she’s not in good voice? No, but she is trying. Right? Meredith was right, where are her people? All that said, I hate to watch and listen as folks continue to tear her down. She’s trying to get back up, ya’ll, and I think we owe her some support and definitely, some respect.

We still love you, Whitney. Really, we do.


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