First Thursday: God, Depression, and Whitney Houston’s “Can I Be Me”

I love the beauty shop. As an institution, it is one of the art’s conservatories. On my first Thursday in January it was my place of uplift. I walked into that artistic hair gallery where my hair was to be braided depressed. Honestly! I crawled out of my bed hoping that my meaning would fall upon me like sweet water. I sat down in the beautician’s chair thinking of a phrase I see often these days—“God First.”

A question of an artist who thinks about meaning—always: Why is God the adjective in this phrase? Is this an explanation of First or God. My inner conversation analyzed the meaning of each word, and then turn the phrase around,—FIRST GOD. I want God to always be my now and the noun—not the explanation, the adjective of the noun. FIRST GOD.

That was the inner conversation that sustained me in that chair and then the gift came.

On the first Thursday of January 2018, I was gifted as I sat getting my hair braided and rehearing First God to see the documentary on Whitney Houston–“CAN I BE ME”

The documentary pulled me into history. I remembered the songs I loved by Whitney Houston, as I recalled her funeral, i.e., her Home Going service. And I heard Tyler Perry, “Whitney loved the Lord.” First God. And I head my inner conversation—Whitney Houston and artists like her are God’s angels.

First God!

I left the hairdresser thankful for the ways of artists—beauticians like the one who beautifully braided my hair and Whitney Houston. Artists are angels sent by God. Many of their artistic productions— hair, poetry, music, visual arts, film, sermons—carry me when I am experiencing depression. Art carries me through; it holds me in a way that no human ever has; it is honest, and it does not require me to be something I do not recognize. It offers itself as a “real” friend whose only requirement is that I receive the parts my soul needs.

That is ART. It is a precious gem? It does not ever try to explain me; it knows I need no explanation—ever!


I love artists, and I thank God for gifting humanity with art and artists like Whitney Houston. Some days I find my soul wanting to live in the stillness of art—to let it be the air I breathe.

“CAN I BE ME”: I imagine Whitney Houston asking this question. As she rests, my answer to every human being searching for an answer to this question. Yes, be the you that God is calling!

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