#IWillAlwaysLoveYou: Whitney Houston and Rhetorics of Tribute

Whitney Houston in her video for "I Will Always Love You"

Image Credit: Screenshot from YouTube

By this point most people—at least the ones reading blogs or The New York Times—have heard about Whitney Houston’s death last Saturday. As it so happened, Houston passed away the night before the Grammys, turning that celebration into a kairoitic moment of mourning. Singer LL Cool J opened the Grammys with a prayer for Whitney and Jennifer Hudson performed her most famous hit, “I Will Always Love You.” Since then, LeAnn Rimes and the television show Glee have offered performances of this song in tribute to Whitney. Likewise, her family is allowing her funeral to be streamed on the Internet. I’d like here to consider further the function of these institutionalized tributes. How can (or should) we remember the dead?

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