This woman had a voice unlike any other. Her singing captivated audiences around the globe. She first shared her talents with those that saw her in the choir of her church in
. Near the end of her teenage years she met a music producer that help brought her talent to the entire nation and the world to see. From that point to now, her talent took her places and she gave every bit of that talent to a legion of fans that to this day have a great deal of love for her. That journey crossed her along some major bumps that did knock her off course for a period of time and she became more known for those bumps than her amazing gift. Three years ago in NYC’s Battery Park on national television, she began her comeback with her daughter on stage with her and her mother with her fans watching her on stage. The comeback unfortunately came to an abrupt end two weeks ago. Newark, NJ
Whitney Houston, one of the greatest musical artist and multiple award winner, passed away Saturday afternoon Feb 11. She was 48 years old.
Houston, who was born and raised in Newark, NJ is survived by her mother Cissy, cousin Dionne Warwick, 18-year-old daughter Bobbi Kristina, whose father is ex-husband Bobby Brown.
Paramedics raced to the 4th floor suite of The Beverly Hilton where
was staying and got to the bathtub where her body was lifeless. They tried to revive her, but their efforts were to no avail. Houston
A report from the Los Angles Coroner’s office confirmed that bottles of prescription drugs like Valium and sleeping pills were found in the singer’s room. They did rule out in their report any signs of foul play or trauma.”
“It could take weeks for the toxicology reports to be completed,” Ed Winter, Assistant Chief of
Coroner’s Office told reporters Saturday. L.A. County
On that Tuesday afternoon,
Houston’s body was accompanied by an entourage of several vehicles to a Los Angles airport tar mach where it was flown on a private jet owned by movie director Tyler Perry back to . Newark
Her body arrived late into the night at
Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and was transported to Whigham Funeral Home in a Gold Hurst, the same funeral home where ’s father was laid to rest nine years ago. Houston
’s passing came on the eve of The 64th Annual Grammy Awards where she made her mark. Her death shocked the entire country. Houston
At a New Edition reunion concert in South Haven, MS, Brown paid an emotional tribute to his ex-wife. He arrived in Los Angles late into the night to a throng of paparazzi to be at the side of his daughter.
In a statement he said, “I am deeply saddened at the passing of my ex-wife Whitney Houston. At this time, we ask for privacy, especially for my daughter Bobbi Kristina…”
At a Grammy pre-party hosted by
’s mentor Clive Davis, music producer and entrepreneur Sean “P.Diddy” Combs said, “Whitney Houston simply put had the greatest voice in the world. She was a gift from God.” Houston
In a statement via Twitter Mariah Carey, who collaborated with
on the song “When You Believe,” said on Saturday “Heartbroken and in tears over the shocking death of my friend, the incomparable Ms. Whitney Houston… She will never be forgotten as one of the greatest voices to ever grace the earth.” Houston
Barbra Streisand also said via Twitter, “She had everything, a magnificent voice. How sad her gifts could not bring her the same happiness they brought us.”
The thoughts about one of their own passing continued on the red carpet of the Grammy’s and during the show itself.
“There’s no way around this. We’ve had a death in our family,” Grammy host, artist, actor and Long Island, NY native LL Cool J told the audience at the beginning of the show.
“The only thing that feels right is to begin with a prayer for a woman who we loved. Heavenly father we pray for our fallen sister Whitney Houston. Heavenly father we thank you for sharing our sister Whitney with us.”
On the red carpet, country sensation Miranda Lambert said of Houston, who won six Grammy’s in her career, “What better place to celebrate her life than at the Grammy’s.
During the show, Bruno Mars during his performance said, “Tonight we celebrate the beautiful Ms. Whitney Houston.”
Alicia Keys during her performance said, “When truly great artist leave us, their legacy lives on. We love you Whitney Houston.”
Stevie Wonder told the audience at Staples Center and those watching at home, “I just want to say to Whitney Houston in heaven, ‘We all love you Whitney Houston.”
The one tribute that brought this celebration of one of the greatest artist and entertainers of all-time is when Jennifer Hudson sand one of
’s signature songs, “I Will Always Love You.” Houston
From the beginning of the week to now all of
Houston’s fans from Los Angles to the Metropolitan area of New York and New Jersey have been celebrating and remember ’s life. Houston
On the Marquee of the famous Apollo where
made the music video to another of her signature songs, “The Greatest Love of All,” it read “In Memory of Whitney Houston: A True Music Icon (1963-2012).” Houston
At The New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, NJ, a make shift memorial of flowers balloons and cards from fans has been growing for the past two weeks in which over 200 people attended the church services on Feb. 12 to honor the woman who began her singing journey at age 11 when she sang in the choir directed by her mother Cissy.
“I haven’t processed this,” Civil Rights Activist Rev. Jesse Jackson said to reporters this past weekend.
“This was not some long vitiating sickness. This was saddened. So when this happens, there’s no rational explanation. You have to lean towards your faith and hold on until the morning comes.”
Houston family that morning seems like it needs to come sooner rather than later, especially for ’s daughter Bobbi Kristina. Houston
According to reports the 18-year-old daughter of Houston and Brown was rushed to the hospital twice this past Sunday suffering from extreme anxiety and stress. She was released very quickly and she did try to get to her mother’s room at The Beverly Hilton shortly after her death but had a run in with police when they refused to let her in the room.
Just 48 hours prior Houston and her daughter crashed an E! interview with
To truly understand the true meaning of Whitney Houston and what she has meant to her home state of
, the history of music and her loyal fans you have to go back to the beginning. New Jersey
She was born on Aug. 9, 1963 in East Orange, NJ to gospel singer Cissy and Army serviceman and entertainment executive John Russell Houston, Jr., who passed away on Feb. 2, 2003.
She began singing at 11 years old in The
New Hope Baptist Church, where her private funeral took place last Saturday afternoon where 1,500 of closets family and friends came to say goodbye. Houston
Eight years later, she was discovered by Davis who three years ago said in an interview about hearing
sing for the first time, “It was such a stunning impact. To hear this young girl breathe such fire, such life into this song it really sent the proverbial tingles up my spine.” Houston
At the funeral last Saturday Davis said to those in attendance that Houston told him that she was getting back into shape through swimming one to two hours a day and that she is fully committed to getting the amazing high notes back through plenty of vocal exercises and that she quit smoking.
“I’ll be ready by August,”
Houston told . Davis
He responded by saying, “Well Whitney. I’m going to hold you to it.”
Her self-titled debut album “Whitney Houston” released in February 1985 sold millions and launched instant hits like “Greatest Love of All” and “Saving All My Love For You,” which are still played on a regular basis on the radio.
In the beginning part of the 1990s is when
really hit her stride. It began with her now famous singing of The Star Spangled Banner at Super Bowl XXV on Jan. 27, 1991 between the Buffalo Bills and New York Giants. This was beyond special not just because of her great performance, but it came in the back drop of the first Gulf War. Houston
One year later, she brought her talents to the silver screen in what became a ground breaking film “The Bodyguard.” It starred Houston and Kevin Costner, who will be speaking at Whitney’s funeral on Saturday.
It was a movie about a former secret service agent turned bodyguard Frank Farmer, played by Costner hired to protect music star Rachel Marron, played by
from an unknown stalker. As far as how things pan out, I will leave that for those who want to see it again and those that have yet to see the movie to check out for themselves. Houston
“The Bodyguard” opened on Nov. 25, 1992 grossing $16.6 million its opening weekend taking third and the total gross for its thirteen non-consecutive weeks in theaters$121.9 million domestically and $410.9 million worldwide. The film was the seventh highest-grossing film of 1992 in the country and second highest-grossing film in the world in 1992.
The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album at that time became the best-selling soundtrack of all-time. Across the globe, the sales are over 42 million copies. One of the song of the soundtrack “I Will Always Love You,” sung by
has sold 12 million units worldwide. Houston
“A lot of leading men could have played my part. A lot of guys could have filled that role, but you Whitney I truly believed that you were the only that could have played Rachael Marron at that time,” Costner said at the funeral.
In the years that followed,
hit a number of sour notes. The reported use of drugs; the three stints in rehab; many public breakdowns, which include several that happened in the days leading to her passing and the turbulent 15 years of marriage to Brown. She filed for divorce in 2006 and it was finalized on Apr. 24, 2007. Houston
The years of drug abuse diminished her voice, which resulted in the decline of her album sales and lead to many speculations of her nearing death on several occasions.
In an ABC News “Primetime” interview with Diane Sawyer on Dec. 4, 2002
wanted to set the record straight in terms of her drug use. Houston
She said to Sawyer, “Crack is cheap. I made too much money to ever smoke crack…We don’t do crack. We don’t do that. Crack is whack.”
She said that “I’m either my best friend or my worst enemy and that’s how I have to deal with it.”
She also said though in terms of how she sees herself, she replied, “I can tell you that I’m not self-destructive. I’m not a person who wants to die. I’m a person who has life and wants to live and I always have and don’t ever mistake it for anything else other than that. I’m not the strongest person everyday, but I’m not the weakest either and I won’t break.”
On Sept. 1, 2009
Houston performed in Central Park on ABC’s “Good Morning ” as a part of their concert series. There were a slue of fans cheering her on and she had her mother in the audience and her daughter at one point was on stage with her singing, giving the audience and those watching at home a reminder of why we feel in love with her and her great talent. The one moment which really brought the true meaning of the concert was when she was embrace by Sawyer and her co-anchor partner Robin Roberts. America
Many thought at that time that this comeback could go the distance and that
could regain the type of greatness that made her a sensation from the late 1980s into the early 1990s. Houston
Back on Feb. 6
was working on songs for her upcoming film “Sparkle” set to release this summer. Houston
“She seemed great, upbeat and very optimistic. Very excited about the project,” said producer Harvey Mason, Jr.
When she arrived in Los Angles a couple of weeks ago
went from one party to another non-stop. Two Thursdays ago it was reported that Houston was in the lobby of the Beverly Hilton doing hand stands at the pool, but was escorted out by her daughter Bobbi Kristina. Houston
Two nights later she gave what later turned out to be her final performance at a
Hollywood club singing on stage with Grammy nominated singer Kelly Price.
When she left, photographers took photos of
with blood on her leg, scrapes on her wrist and being described by witnesses as incoherent and unable to walk on her own. Houston
“When I saw Whitney Thursday night, she was happy. She was celebrating. She looked fine,” Price told ABC’s entertainment correspondent Chris Connelly.
At 3:15 p.m., according to TMZ,
spoke on the phone to her mother Cissy and nothing seemed wrong. Forty minutes later, Houston was dead in the bathtub of her hotel room. Houston
Last Saturday, her funeral service took place at the aforementioned
. She was laid to rest last Sunday afternoon at the New Hope Baptist Church Fairview Cemetery right next to her father in . Westfield, NJ
Keys, who performed; Brandy and her brother Ray J, Davis; Carey; Sawyer; music producer L.A. Reid; singer Kim Burrell, who performed “Change Is Gonna Come;” Stevie Wonder, who sang “Love I Need;” Perry; Hudson; Rev. Al Sharpton; Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King were among the 1,500 people saying goodbye to Houston, who was in a gold casket surrounded by white flowers.
It is true that the passing of Whitney Houston lives a big hole in the lives of her family to her loyal legion of fans in this country and across the globe. The question now is what will be her lasting legacy be?
In terms of her musical talent, her awards speak for itself. Six Grammy Awards; 30 Billboard Music Awards and 22 American Music Awards more than any other woman artist in history. She sold more than 170 million albums worldwide.
On the silver screen, she starred in not just “The Bodyguard,” but “Waiting to Exhale;” “The Preacher’s Wife,” alongside Denzel Washington, where she won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture in 1997; “Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” playing the fairy godmother of Brandy’s character Cinderella and she will be in the new movie “Sparkle” which will be in theaters later this year.
Houston will also be remembered as someone who succumbed to the pressures of her greatness by using drugs and by her tumultuous marriage to the aforementioned Bobbi Brown, who did attend his ex-wife’s funeral but left quickly after the ceremony was over and was kept away from his daughter.
More than anything though, Whitney Houston’s legacy should be remembered as someone who had an extraordinary gift and made the most of it for a period of time and gave inspiration to show others that if given the chance they can be extraordinary themselves. No one understands that better than those that attend the school that is named in her honor in 1997 The
of Creative and Performing Arts. Whitney E. Houston Academy
How many people can say that I’m principal of Whitney Houston,” Henry Hamilton, the school’s principal said.
I thought it was summed up best by “Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts about Houston’s passing when she said on the Sunday morning after her passing, “We have to remember a daughter lost a mother and a mother lost a daughter last night.”
Newark Mayor Corey Booker (D-NJ) also made a powerful statement about Houston after her funeral when he said, “Newarkers feel not just a sense of pride, but really like she’s one of our sisters; our daughters; one of our nieces; one of our aunts and so this has been a beautiful day and were very grateful this global figure remembered from once she came.”
Information and quotations are courtesy of en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitney_Houston; 2/12/12 6 p.m. edition of (WPIX) PIX 11 News at 6 with Kaity Tong, report from Mario Diaz; 2/12/12 8 a.m. edition of ABC’s “Good Morning America” with Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, Dan Harris, Bianna Golodryga; 2/13/12 6 a.m. edition of WABC 7 “Eyewitness News This Morning” with Lori Stokes and Ken Rosato, reports form Jim Dolan, Lisa Colagrossi, Anthony Johnson and Sandy, Kenyon; 2/13/12 7 a.m. edition of “ABC’s “Good Morning America” with Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos, reports form Jim Avila, Lara Spencer and Chris Connelly 2/13/12 6:30 p.m. edition of “NBC Nightly News” with Brian Williams, report from Kristen Dahlgren; 2/13/12 11:35 p.m. edition of ABC News “Nightline” with Cynthia McFadden; 2/14/12 7 a.m. edition of ABC’s “Good Morning America” with Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos, report from Linsey Davis; 2/15/12 6 a.m. edition of WCBS 2 News This Morning with Rob Morrison and Mary Calvi, report from Jessica Schneider; 2/15/12 6 a.m. edition of WCBS 2 News “This Morning” with Rob Morrison and Mary Calvi, report from Kathryn Brown; 2/16/12 7 a.m. edition of “CBS This Morning” with Charlie Rose, Erica Hill and Gayle King; 2/16/12 5 p.m. edition of CBS 2 News with Maurice DuBois and Kristine Johnson, reports from Dave Carlin, Katie McGee and “The Insider’s” Kevin Frazier; 2/18/12 6 p.m. edition of WABC’s Eyewitness News at 6 with Phil Lipof and Sandra Bookman, reports from Jamie Roth, Marcus Solis, Toni Yates and Lauren Glassburg; 2/20/12 4:30 a.m. edition of WNBC’s “Today in New York” with Michael Gargiulo and Darlene Rodriguez; 2/20/12 7 p.m. edition of “The Insider” on WCBS with Kevin Frazier and Brooke Anderson.