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If Whitney Houston would have lived to August 9, 2012, should would have been celebrating her 49th birthday. Since she isn’t here to celebrate her birthday, we will celebrate it for her.  Here are 3 reasons we love Whitney and will continue to celebrate her life and musical legacy.

3. She was American’s first black pop princess. When Whitney entered the music scene she was the All-American black artist. Her voice made her a force and her Clive-developed image endeared her in the hearts of all Americans (she was never really relegated to just a black audience). Whitney had the fortune of being the first black teen on the cover of Seventeen magazine. And as we found out during her death, Whitney had a heart of gold.

2. She kept it real. We love the fact that Whitney never made excuses for the things she loved in her life. She loved Bobby and didn’t care what any one had to say about it.  She stood by her  man and ultimately the end of their relationship was because they decided it wouldn’t work, not because society didn’t want her to love him. She also didn’t shrink from answering questions about her drug use.  In an interview with Diane Sawyer she laid it on the table by letting us know she had engaged in the use of illegal substances, but she didn’t do crack because “crack is wack!”

1. She could sang! No matter what happened in Houston’s private life, she was an amazing artist.  Houston broke many records.  She was one of the most successful artists of all time.  She was the first person to reach number 1 on the Billboard 100 with 7 consecutive singles and all her top 10 hits reached number 1.