Growing in the Shadows

Sep 14, 2011 by

Yesterday the Internet was ablaze with the video of a young woman singing her rendition of Adele’s “Someone Like You.” The video wasn’t linked everywhere because the young lady is such an exceptional singer. In fact, in my opinion, her singing is average at best. It was so popular because of who this young woman is, or more importantly, who her parents are.

Meet Bobbi Kristina, daughter of American music icon Whitney Houston and one of the princes (with a little “p”) of yesterday’s soul pop, Bobby Brown. No pressure there, Bobbi Kristina . . . no pressure.

In sharing her video singing debut with the world, little Bobbi Kristina has opened herself up to the inevitable comparisons to her mother, arguably one of the best voices in recorded history. And, not only that, but her mother – at least prior to her embattlement with the drugs that have ultimately robbed her of her incredible singing gift – is also a classic beauty, so comparisons abound there too. All one has to do is read some of the comments beneath Bobbi Kristina’s youtube video, many just downright cruel, to understand the risk she has dared in singing before the world . . . big and scary as it can be at times.

Commenter jta091981 writes, “ Not terrible I have heard worse but She will “never” have her mothers voice when Whitney was at her peak…” And user dina000 jabs with, “you could score a field goal through that gap”.

Those, I’m afraid, are some of the milder offerings.

Whether you think Bobbie Kristina can sing or not, what’s undeniable is her courage. Not only has she shared her voice, unique from her mother’s and her father’s, smiling demurely in front of her laptop camera wearing too much makeup and hair, her room in shambles behind her, she did so attempting a song that became a classic the moment it was ever sung by Adele, a vocal tour de force herself by anyone’s definition. Bobbi K could have played it safe and stayed singing in the shower where the only audience is guaranteed to be kind, supportive. And, even if she was feeling bold enough to go big, go youtube, she could have selected a more generic, less signature tune to start with, like say, any by Brittney Spears. But, she didn’t.

Go hard, or go home.

At 42 I’m only starting to grasp what 18-year-old Bobbi Kristina seems to already know, people don’t grow in shadows . . . only fungus does. I am not my father’s thoughts. I am not my mother’s dreams. My children do not live my life. My husband is not walking my path. I am me. All of me. Glorious, complicated me. And you are you. Embracing that is the best chance we all have.

We each have our own voices, convictions, dreams, way, desires, belief, faith, and calling. And, every time we, afraid of what will be exposed by the light, choose not to stand in the big, bold truth of our own unique selves, we whither away . . . in the dank shadows of others. You know, it was Bobbi Kristina’s mother who sang inspiringly, “I decided long ago never to walk in anyone’s shadow, if I fail, if I succeed, they can’t take away my dignity.” Good for you, Bobbi K, for taking your mother’s sound advice. Sing. Sing because you want to. To heck with everybody else. I think I’ll do the same. I think you should too.

Peace and Blessings,

Nicole Walters

Leave a Reply