A mother’s love is infinite, for even in challenging times mothers are always there to help their children. This Sunday is Mother’s Day, a special day to honor our moms for all the sacrifices that they have made for us. In Newark, New Jersey, two famous moms were born, and they became stars due to their wonderful singing: Sarah Vaughan and Whitney Houston. Vaughan and Houston both loved music at a young age, both sang at their church choirs and they both changed the world.
Sarah Vaughan was born in Newark, New Jersey on March 27, 1924. During her childhood, she grew up in Newark at a home on Brunswick Street. At the age of seven, she started singing. She also took eight years of piano lessons and two years of organ lessons. As a young girl, she sang at the choir at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Newark. She attended Newark Arts High School, a magnet school for the artistically talented. Her musical career really took off when she won the Apollo Theater Amateur Contest. Vaughan, who was also known as Sassy, became famous for singing jazz. She also sang the blues, traditional pop and bossa nova.
When she married Clyde B. Atkins, she adopted a girl and became a mom. Her singing career continued to flourish as she signed contracts with Columbia, Mercury, Verve, Roulette and Pablo. She won an Emmy in 1981 for her homage to George Gershwin.
Just like Vaughan, Whitney Elizabeth Houston, who was born on August 9, 1963, in Newark, New Jersey, who grew up in a middle class neighborhood in Newark, also started her musical career as a child. At the age of 11, Houston was a soloist at the New Hope Baptist in Newark, and she also played the piano during church services. Houston was also a model in the 1980’s; she was the first lady of color to be featured in Seventeen.
Not only was Houston a very successful singer who sold over 200 million records worldwide, she also became an actress. In 1992, she starred in the film, “The Bodyguard” with Kevin Costner. The song that she sang in the movie, “I Will Always Love You” was the best selling single by a woman in music history. After her leading role in The Bodyguard, she had roles in the following films: Waiting to Exhale, The Preacher’s Wife and Sparkle.
When she was married to Bobbi Brown, Houston gave birth to Bobbi Kristina Houston on March 4, 1993. Bobbi Kristina Houston, who watched her famous mom perform onstage and learned music from her, is very talented and following in her mom’s footsteps.
At Houston’s funeral mass at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey, Kevin Costner gave a touching eulogy about his good friend Houston. Like in the film, “The Bodyguard” he was there to support her, but this time it was even more moving, for it happened in real life.
Unlike Vaughan and Houston, the majority of moms will never be famous or have the spotlight shine on them. In our eyes, they are stars, for being a mother is the hardest job in the world.