whitney-houston 1963—2012 David Corio-Michael Ochs Archives-Getty
I met her when she was 16. It was at a summer job. I was working at a community center in East Orange, New Jersey, and she was working just like the rest of us. She was there to work. She introduced herself as “Whitney Elizabeth Houston,” and I knew right away she was special. Not a lot of people introduced themselves with their middle names back then. She had peachy colored skin and she didn’t look like anyone I’d ever met in East Orange, New Jersey.
She was nothing like the Whitney Houston she became but at the same time she was already there. She knew, and so did everyone around her. She was doing shows in Manhattan with her mother, and she’d change her clothes in the car and get on stage and do her thing. She hadn’t signed her contract yet. But she was modeling for Wilhelmina because she was discovered on the street. She was walking in front of Carnegie Hall and someone walked up to her and said, “There’s a modeling agency upstairs that’s looking for someone just like you.” She walked upstairs and they signed her. That’s what it was like, that’s what she gave off. She looked like an angel. When my mother first met her, she laughed and said, “You look like an angel, but I know you’re not.” And she wasn’t. But she looked like one.
She chose the life she lived, and she chose it from the beginning. She knew the life better than anyone. Her mother was Cissy Houston, and she had been on the road with Dionne Warwick. She got her chops singing in church, and her mother said to her, “You know, you can always sing for free. You can always sing in church. You don’t have to choose the professional life.” But she chose because she’d been chosen. Some people sing just because. She was never like that. She had to put on her gear. She knew it was going to be a job and that’s how she treated it. Once she committed to something, she finished it. Not long after I met her, she said, “Stick with me, and I’ll take you around the world.” She always knew where she was headed.
And we went around the world. I was her assistant and then her executive assistant and then her creative director. I was her point person for the day-to-day. I traveled all around the world first-class and anyone who ever worked for her will tell you her checks never bounced. You knew she was going to take care of you. She wasn’t going to be in a five-star hotel while you were in a two. I flew the Concorde the way some people ride the bus. She shared the fruits, and she changed a lot of lives. The record company, the band members, her family, her friends, me — she fed everybody. Deep down inside that’s what made her tired.
It was never easy. She never left anything undone. But it was hard. The Bodyguard was great when it was done, but it was a lot of work. She did the movie, she did the music, she did everything — and when she was done, she was done. She nailed it. The music supervisor brought her Linda Ronstadt’s version of “I Will Always Love You” way before Kevin Costner brought Dolly Parton’s version — and she always knew what she could do with it. So when Kevin came in and played it for her and told her he wanted her to sing it for the movie, she said, “Fine.” She wasn’t much for showing off what she had, except when she had to.
I always compare her performance of that song with a great athlete hitting his peak — with Michael Jordan in the playoffs. It was the absolute pinnacle of what she could do, of what anyone could do — and then she had to keep on doing it. Everybody wanted to hear her sing that song, and so she sang it. It didn’t matter whether she had a cold, or wasn’t in good voice; she had to deliver it, and she had it arranged so she could deliver every last note. And even if the note wasn’t there, the feeling was. A lot of her songs were like that. They were a lot to deliver, but she delivered them every note, every time.
It’s so strange that she died when she did. February was her month. Her first album was released on Valentine’s Day, right around the time of the Grammys, right around the time of Clive Davis’s party. It was an orchestrated thing. She was Clive’s girl, his great discovery. And she died right before Valentine’s Day, right before the Grammys, right before Clive’s party. Of course, she was going. I don’t know if she was singing, I don’t know what kind of pressure she was putting on herself. But she was going, that’s for damned sure.
People thought they had to protect her. She hated that. And that’s what people don’t understand: She was always the one doing the driving. Someone just called and told me that the family kept Whitney from seeing her. Nobody kept Whitney from doing anything. She did what she wanted to do. When people left her or were told to leave, they could never believe that Whitney would never call them — but she never did. She was working hard to keep herself together, and I think she felt that if she admitted any feeling of sadness or weakness she would crumble. One time, back when we were young, we were out, we were partying, and I said, “Listen, I have to go. I’m tired. I can’t make it.” And she looked at me with her eyes wide and said, “I’ve got to make it.”
And that was Whitney. She could not pick up the phone, and that meant it was too painful. I have never spoken about her until now. And she knew I wouldn’t. She was a loyal friend, and she knew I was never going to be disloyal to her. I was never going to betray her. Now I can’t believe that I’m never going to hug her or hear her laughter again. I loved her laughter, and that’s what I miss most, that’s what I miss already.
I’m trying not to think of the end. I’m trying not to listen to all the reports. All these people talking about drugs — well, a lot of people take drugs, and they’re still around. Whitney isn’t, because you never know the way the wind blows. I just hope that she wasn’t in pain and that she hadn’t lost hope. She gave so much to so many people; I hope that she felt loved in return. She was the action, for such a long time. She’s out of the action now. I hope she can finally rest.
—as told to Tom Junod
Lets be realistic, Whitney was a gift from up above. She lived here on earth like the rest of us. Those that are given talent understand the misery Michael, Whitney, Amy and others suffer because with their gifts, they are always challenged with the same weaknesses of all humans. But they live in front of the world and its jealousies and strange needs for those up high to fall. Whitney was human and had the susceptibility to be drawn to the use of drugs to numb the pain. Look at the reaction of some people after Whitney died. They wanted to deny the governor of her home state from lowering the state flag the day of her funeral. They blamed her for her own death. Where is the kindness and understanding. She was undoubtedly in pain. Her voice wasn’t that crystal clear diamond, the way it was when she started out. Is a person not allowed to make the wrong decision. Didn’t her death pay in full. She didn’t owe anyone anything. But she gave us everything, including her life. Whitney was blessed with the most wonderful of gifts and she shared that gift with us all. She was blessed with it from the beginning. It is the same gift she took with her when her life came to an end. Regardless of how she made her exit. Peacefully or Tragically or Questionably, she is gone now but her music remains and will be listened to for as long as people are smart enough to listen and be in love with her. Her gift was specific to her. Her gift died when she died. It was hers while she was here and now that she is gone it is gone but still pays those who own it. No one will ever have that gift again. There was only one like that gift and it was given to Whitney Elizabeth Houston. NO ONE WILL EVER TAKE HER PLACE EVER!!! A truly special lady who was here with us for a very short time but what she gave us while she was here is amazing and we do get to keep that and listen to Whitney whenever we want. She is always going to be with us. And I Will Always Love You Whitney Elizabeth Houston. RIP. February 11th, 2012… jennifer Kiley jk the secret keeper
Songs Of Whitney’s That I Love the Most: (Whitney Sang Most About Love)
I Will Always Love You
Greatest Love of All
Try It On My Own
One Moment In Time
I Look To You
Queen of the Night
Run To You
All At Once
When You Believe
I Have Nothing
Didn’t We Almost Have It All
I’m Every Woman
I Want To Dance With Somebody
My Love Is Your Love
Saving All My Love For You
I chose two music videos to place on this post. The first is the very first song I ever heard. This magnificent female singer’s voice came over a college radio station in upstate New York. I fell in love immediately with the song, her voice and had no idea who was singing or where this incredible song came from. I kept requesting it once I discovered both. The singer was Whitney Houston. No idea who she was. I had never heard of her. The song was one of those songs you sing along with and get such an intense thrill belting out the words and notes along with such an amazing voice. The song was/is “The Greatest Love of All.”
The second music video I chose was born out of one of those serendipitous moments. When I listen to videos on my posts, I often like to check out the videos hanging out behind the original video just waiting to be discovered. Well, this past week, on my post “How Many Words…” I searched among the videos that were hiding at the end of the song. I ran my cursor over the choices to find out who or what was available. I came upon a Whitney Houston song that I had never heard of before. I had no idea from what decade it came from or what album or when it had been recorded. And I wondered why I had missed this one. How I could have never heard it before. So, I noticed it had a reasonably high number of hits so I needed to choose between that or another version of the song it had been hiding behind which was “I Will Always Love You.” I clicked on the center of the choice. It loaded up and began playing. I was not prepared to be so blown away. I listened to the video over and over again. I put the video in my next post “Spirits Rising.” That same night I bought the song on Amazon and last night as I was getting ready to get under the covers I wanted to start out with that song but I couldn’t find it on the playlist I thought I had put it on. So I went back downstairs, woke up my laptop and WMP and put it on a playlist with several copies of the song and uploaded to my Walkman mp3. I couldn’t go to sleep last night until I listened to it over and over several times. Today, I needed to hear it again. I cannot believe I got up just a short time after 7am. If you know me that is usually when I go to bed. I’ve been sick so my schedule has changed rather radically. Ok, to the point, the song that I discovered that Whitney had recorded, (do you know how exciting it is to hear for me a new song by Whitney Houston almost a year after she died), and it is such an amazing song to me. It is titled: “Try It On My Own.”
Listen to these two songs and if you haven’t heard the second one either, give it a chance and listen several times. I do hope you find it as so overwhelmingly emotional as I do. I feel like for that moment when I am listening to Try It On My Own, that I am hearing Whitney as though she has been reborn.
The Videos, except the one j. kiley created, may or may not work on my post but I have built into the titles the links to the videos. So if necessary you will still be able to see and hear the videos no matter what. I hope you enjoy them.
Whitney Houston—Greatest Love of AllClick On Title To View Video. They Pulled Video.
Try It On My Own-Whitney Houston
Video Created by j. kiley
Whitney Houston—Try It On My OwnClick on Title to View Video. They Pulled Video
“The trouble in life is not that you are extraordinarily or ordinarily talented but you are read (recognized & appreciated) posthumously.” ― Santosh Kalwar
Four Special videos For those who want to remember the real Whitney, not the media’s portrayal. The top three are concerts and the last one is of Whitney with Bobbi Kristina when she was little. It is a wonderful look at Whitney being herself. These will take time to listen to so come back and visit several times or listen and watch. The visual is worth the attention.
Whitney Houston Live in London 1988 Celebrating Nelson Mandela’s BirthdayClick On Title To Go To Video. They Pulled Video From Post
Whitney Houston Live in South Africa in 1994Click On Title To Go To Video. They Pulled Video From Post
Whitney Houston Live in Poland 1999Click on Title to Go to Video. They Pulled Video
Whitney Houston performing with Bobbi Kristina Brown “My Love Is Your Love”Click On Title To go to Video. They Pulled Video From Post
Was Whitney Gay or Not? I don’t think it matters but her mother Cissy’s new exploitative book seems to make it a topic of discussion. She advertised it on OWN with Oprah and made it clear she would not have accepted Whitney if she had told her mother she was a lesbian. Cissy said she wouldn’t stand for it. Rather shocked Oprah with this emphatic response. (No I did not watch these interviews. Saw clips on HuffPost. Oh, her brother confesses to be the one that started Whitney on crack.) Bobbi Kristina has come out against it and wants people to boycott it. Cannot blame her. If you’re Gay/Lesbian, you’ve probably heard the kind of rejection Whitney’s mother demonstrated to her daughter. I added this section because I agree with Whitney’s daughter Bobbie Kristina that her mother is being exploited in the book Cissy Houston wrote. I love Whitney Houston and I have no intention of purchasing this book. The following are articles that show you a side to Whitney’s mother that is not very appealing and it just makes me wonder.
There were also two other videos that I was going to add to this post but after giving it a great deal of thought and directed by my psychotherapist that it was not a good idea and could prove to be dangerous and destructive, I chose to withdraw the videos. If people are meant to see them they will discover them on their own.
The following articles come from reputable online publications. The first two from 2013 January and the second is from the day after Whitney Houston died and also from a reputable publication. Decide for yourself if you chose to read these articles to learn something more about what Whitney was up against in her life when she was alive.
related article: cissy_houston_will_never_be_a_pflag_parent
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related article: whitney houston anatomy of a lesbian rumor
“The trouble in life is not that you are extraordinarily or ordinarily talented but you are read (recognized & appreciated) posthumously.” ― Santosh Kalwar
It is a horrible thing about how those who have amazing gifts are only really valued and worth something after they are dead and how unforgiving some people can be if you have any weaknesses while you are alive. I love Whitney Houston and will continue to do so. I do not judge her. She was a good person who gave her whole life to make people feel love. R.I.P Whitney Elizabeth Houston. You are greatly appreciated and loved not just by me but by millions if not billions. I hope you have found the love you deserved in life. I Will Always Love You. Love, Jennifer jk the secret keeper ps. I know the truth and many others do. Those who know who they are will pay someday for their complicity. You are safe now and I am hoping Bobbi Kristina is. I am sure you are watching over her.