Artist Profile - Whitney Houston and the Anti-Apartheid Movement

Whitney Houston died on February 11th, 2012, at the age of 48. She was well-known for her support of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, though following her sudden death little mention of this has been made in the Western media (her New York Times obituary, for instance, fails to mention this part of her life). We asked Prince Mensah to supplement his poem with a brief overview of Houston's roll in the anti-apartheid movement. Here is what he had to say:

Whitney Elizabeth Houston was a soldier in the global fight against apartheid in South Africa. Early on, in her career as a model, she refused to work with any agency that had ties to the then-apartheid regime in South Africa. Her stance cemented her status as an icon among Africans, who felt she was one of the few bridges between their continent and the rest of the world.

Whitney sang at the 1988 Wembley Concert in London to celebrate the 70th birthday of the then-incarcerated Nelson Mandela. She had the opportunity to sing to Mandela in person, in 1994, when he visited the United States as the first president of post-apartheid South Africa.

Whitney Houston was one of the few African-Americans who believed in Africa long before it became fashionable in the United States. She celebrated her identity as a Black person in many ways. As a person born in segregated times, she chose a front seat role in fighting against prejudice. Some people might choose to remember only her struggles, but Africa remembers her as a sister, a queen, a trailblazer and an inspiration. She truly left indelible footprints in our lives.


Prince Mensah is a regular contributor and Associate Editor here at One Ghana, One Voice.
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