- Whitney Houston
"'Infobox Musical artist
Name = Whitney Houston
Img_capt = Whitney attends the 2008 Clive Davis Pre-
GRAMMYparty on February 9, 2008 in Los Angeles, California
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Whitney Elizabeth Houston
Alias = The Voice, Nippy
Born = birth date and age|mf=yes|1963|8|9
New Jersey, United States
Soprano[cite web |url=http://www.whitney-fan.com/nr/misc/98/024.shtml |title=A pop diva's truly special; her voice must touch soul |accessdate=2008-09-06 |format= |work=Miami Herald|date= October1998]
Singer, songwriter, actress, arranger, film producer, model
Years_active = 1977–present
Label = Arista
Associated acts =
Cissy Houston, Dionne Warwick, Cece Winans, Bobbi Kristina Brown
Aretha Franklin, Cissy Houston, Dionne Warwick
URL = [http://www.whitneyhouston.com/ www.whitneyhouston.com]
Her crossover success opened doors for many other
African Americanwomen to find success in pop music and movies.cite news | first= Richard | last= Corliss | title= The Prom Queen of Soul |date=July 13, 1987| publisher= Time Magazine | url= http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,964980,00.html| accessdate= 2007-03-17 | language= English ] [cite journal |last=Shelton |first=Marla |title=Whitney is every woman?: Cultural politics and the pop star |journal=Camera Obscura |volume=36 |date=September 1, 1995 |pages=135–153 |url=http://www.classicwhitney.com/interview/cameraobscura1995.htm |accessdate=2007-01-15] She is frequently referred to as "The Voice" [cite web |url=http://www.blackvoices.com/black_entertainment/music_videos_songs_radio/black_music_month_2007/transformers-whitney-houston-gallery |title=Transformers: Whitney Houston |accessdate=2008-01-15 |format= |work=AOL Black Voices |date=2007 ] [cite web |url=http://www.bignoisenow.com/christina/betawards.html |title=Christina performs on the 2001 BET Awards in a special tribute to Whitney Houston |accessdate=2008-01-15 |format= |work=Billboard Magazine|date=June 19, 2007] , and is known for her "powerful, penetrating pop-gospel voice." [cite news|first=Stephen|last=Holden|title= Cabaret: Whitney Houston|date=February 16, 1985| publisher=The New York Times|accessdate=2007-03-17|language= English] She has been credited as having a five-octave vocal range. [cite web |url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_1998_Oct_23/ai_53119169 |title=Whitney Houston Set to Release First Studio Album in Eight Years on Nov. 17; Top Contemporary Producers and Songwriters Contribute to the Landmark Album|accessdate=2008-06-04 |format= |work=BNet |date=1998 ] [cite web |url=http://www.monstersandcritics.com/people/news/article_1417049.php |title=From Whitney Houston's ravaged voice |accessdate=2008-10-07 |format= |work=Monsters and Critics |date=October 10, 2008]
In the 1980s, Houston was one the first African-American female artists to receive regular rotation on
MTVin the network's early years during a white male rock dominated time.cite episode |title = A History of Soul Music |network = VH1|airdate=2007-10-18] [cite episode|title=Whitney Houston|series="Biography"|network= The Biography Channel|airdate=2007-10-18] Her debut album became the biggest selling debut album of all time for a solo artist, her follow up album was the first album by a female artist to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200, and she holds a record seven consecutive #1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100chart, beating a record of six held previously by both The Beatlesand The Bee Gees.
Houston continued her success into Hollywood in the 1990s, starting with the box office hit "
The Bodyguard". The soundtrack to the movie is the best-selling soundtrack of all time, and the single " I Will Always Love You" the best-selling single by a female artist and 6th best-selling song in the history of music. [ [http://www.whitneyhouston.com/bio.html Whitney Houston ] ] She continued the decade with other successful and culturally significant projects before returning to the studio. Houston is the fourth best-selling female recording artist of all time according to the Recording Industry Association of America, [ [http://www.riaa.com/goldandplatinumdata.php?table=tblTopArt "Gold and Platinum - Top Selling Artists"] . Recording Industry Association of America.] and is the "The Most Awarded Female Artist of All Time" [ [http://www.blackvoices.com/black_entertainment/music_videos_songs_radio/black_music_month_2007/transformers-whitney-houston-gallery transformers-whitney-houston-gallery - AOL Black Voices ] ] according to the "Guinness Book of World Records".
After Houston married former R&B singer
Bobby Brownat the height of her career, rumors of drug abuse started to affect her career. This led to a decline in her public image and her album sales dropped during the 2000s. Her personal troubles and erratic behavior became more talked about than any of her music, with stories regularly appearing in the tabloid press. After successful trips to rehab, Houston divorced Brown and gained custody of their only daughter in 2006. She has since been working on her seventh studio album which has been slated for release in November 2008.cite web|url=http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/music/a89328/houston-album-out-in-november.html?rss|title= Houston album out in November|accessdate=2008-01-15|work=Digital Spy|date=2008-02-14]
Whitney Houston was born in
Newark, New Jerseyand has two older brothers. She is the third and youngest child of John and gospel singer Cissy Houston.cite episode |title = Whitney Houston|series=Driven|network= VH1|airdate = 2002-11-13] Her mother, along with her cousin, singer Dionne Warwick, and godmother Aretha Franklinare all notable figures in the gospel, rhythm and blues, and soul genres. Houston was raised a Baptist, but was also exposed to the Pentecostalchurch. After the 1967 Newark riots, the family moved to East Orange, New Jerseywhen she was four. When her mother was away touring with Elvis Presleyand Aretha Franklin as a backup singer, her father would spend most of the time with the children. At the age of eleven, Houston began to follow in her mothers footsteps and started performing as a soloist in the junior gospel choir at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, where she also learned to play the piano. [cite news|title=Whitney & Bobby - Addicted to Love |date=September 2005| publisher=Vibe Magazine|url= http://www.classicwhitney.com/interview/vibe_sep2005.htm|accessdate= 2007-03-17|language= English] Her first solo performance in the church was "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah". When Houston was a teenager, her parents divorced and she continued to live with her mother. She attended a Roman Catholic single-sex high school, Mount Saint Dominic Academy, where she met her best friend Robin Crawford, whom she describes as the "sister she never had." Crawford would later become Houston's personal assistant for several years. While Houston was still in school, she would continue to be surrounded by music from her mother, her cousin Dionne Warwick, and close family friend Aretha Franklin, all of which would have an impact on her as a musician and performer.cite news | first= Anthony | last= DeCurtis | title= Whitney Houston: Down and Dirty |date=June 10, 1993| publisher= Rolling Stone | url= http://www.classicwhitney.com/interview/rollingstone_1993.htm| accessdate= 2007-03-17 | language= English ]
Early career: 1977–1984
Houston spent some of her teenage years occasionally touring night clubs with her mother when Cissy was performing. In 1977, at fourteen years of age, Whitney Houston was featured as the lead singer on the
Michael Zager Band's single "Life's a Party". Zager subsequently offered to help obtain a recording contract for the young singer, but Cissy declined, wanting her daughter to finish school first. Then in 1979, at age sixteen, Houston sang background vocals on Chaka Khan's hit single " I'm Every Woman", a song she would later turn into a bigger hit in 1992. In the early 1980s, Houston worked as a fashion model after a photographer saw her at Carnegie Hallsinging with her mother. She appeared in Vogue Magazinecite news | first= Joy | last= Duckett Cain | title= The Soul of Whitney |date=December 1990| publisher= Essence Magazine | url= http://www.classicwhitney.com/interview/essence_1990.htm| accessdate= 2008-02-15 | language= English ] and became one of the first women of color to grace the cover of "Seventeen" magazine.cite web | last = Traister |first = Rebecca |title = Didn't She Almost Have It All |publisher = Salon.com | date = 2006-04-13|url = http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2006/04/12/whitney_houston/index.html |accessdate = 2007-12-12] She also appeared in a Canada Drysoft drink commercial. While modeling and touring clubs with her mother, she continued her recording career, working with producers Michael Bienhorn, Bill Laswelland Martin Bision an album they were spearheading called "One Down", which was credited to the group Material. For that project, Houston contributed the ballad "Memories", which Robert Christgau of the " The Village Voice" called "one of the most gorgeous ballads you've ever heard". [cite web | last = Christgau |first = Robert | author-link = Robert Christgau |title = Material |publisher = RobertChristgau.com | url = http://www.robertchristgau.com/get_artist.php?name=Material|accessdate = 2007-12-12]
Houston had previously been offered several recording contracts (Michael Zager in 1980 and
Elektra Recordsin 1981). In 1983, Gerry Griffith, an A&R representative from Arista Records, saw her performing with her mother in a New York Citynightclub and was impressed. He convinced Clive Davis, Arista's label head, to take time to see Houston perform. Davis too was impressed after the performance and offered her a worldwide recording contract, which Houston signed. Later in the year, she made her national televised debut alongside Davis on the " The Merv Griffin Show".
Houston signed with Arista in 1983 but did not began work on her album immediately. Arista put forth the deal to make sure no other label signed the singer from under them. Davis wanted to find the right material and right producers for Houston's debut album. Some producers were not deemed right by the label, others passed on the project due to prior commitments.cite news|first=Bud|last=Scoppa|title=The Long Road To Overnight Stardom|date=December 1986|publisher= Billboard Magazine" The Year In Rock '86|url=http://www.classicwhitney.com/interview/billboard1986artistoftheyear.htm| accessdate= 2007-03-17|language= English] Houston first recorded a duet with
Teddy Pendergrassentitled "Hold Me", which appeared on his album, "Love Language". The single, released in 1984, gave Houston her first taste of success, becoming a Top 5 R&B hit. It would also appear on her debut album when released in 1985.
With production from
Michael Masser, Kashif, Jermaine Jacksonand Narada Michael Walden, Houston's self-titled 1985 debut album was released in February 1985. "Rolling Stone Magazine" praised the new talent, calling her "one of the most exciting new voices in years" [cite news | first= Don | last= Shewey | title= Whitney Houston Music Review| date=September 1985| publisher= Rolling Stone Magazine| url=http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/whitneyhouston/albums/album/301396/review/5943797/whitney_houston| accessdate= 2007-03-17 | language= English ] while "The New York Times" called the album "an impressive, musically conservative showcase for an exceptional vocal talent." [cite news | last = Holden | first = Stephen | title = Critic's Choice; Pop Music | newspaper = New York Times | pages = A2 | year =1985 | publisher = New York Times | date = May 12 1985 accessdate =2008-03-05 ] After the dance-funk single "Someone For Me" failed to chart in both the US and UK, the album initially sold modestly and failed to make an impact. The release of the single " You Give Good Love", peaked at #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100while going #1 on the R&B Charts. As a result, the album began selling strongly and climbing the charts while Houston continued promoting the album touring clubs in the US. The jazz-pop ballad " Saving All My Love for You" was released next and would become Houston's first #1 hit single in both the US and the UK. At the time, MTVhad received harsh criticism for not playing enough videos by African American artists while favoring rock acts. [cite episode | title = Whitney Houston | series = Headliners and Legends | serieslink = MSNBC Headliners and Legends with Matt Lauer | airdate = 2000-11-08] The next single, " How Will I Know", peaked at #1 and would introduce Houston to the MTV audience thanks to its video. This would make the singer one of the first African American female artists to receive heavy rotation on the network. By 1986, a year after its initial release, "Whitney Houston" topped the Billboard 200album chart and stayed there for 14 consecutive weeks. [ [http://www.whitney-fan.com/music/history.shtml Chart History] , Whitney-Fan.com (last visited Feb. 15, 2008).] The final single, " Greatest Love of All," became Houston's biggest hit at the time after peaking #1 and remaining there for three weeks. Houston embarked on her worldwide " Greatest Love Tour". The album had become an international success, selling over thirteen million copies in the United States alone and becoming the best-selling debut album of all time by a female artist. To date, the album has sold approximately 25 million copies worldwide. [ [http://www.whitneyhouston.com Whitney Houston ] ]
At the 1986 Grammy Awards ceremony, Houston was nominated for three awards including "Album of the Year". She was ineligible for the "Best New Artist" category due to her previous duet recording with Teddy Pendergrass in 1984. [cite news | first= Richard | last= Harrington | title= Dire Straits Tops List for Grammy's; We are the World Wins 6 Nominations|date=January 10, 1986| publisher= The Washington Post| accessdate= 2007-03-17 | language= English ] She won her first
Grammyaward for 'Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female' for "Saving All My Love for You". At the same award show she also performed that Grammy-winning hit; the performance later won her an EmmyAward for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program. Houston won seven American Music Awardsin 1986, and an MTV Video Music Award. The album's popularity would also carry over to the 1987 Grammy Awards when "Greatest Love of All" would receive a "Record of the Year" nomination. Houston's debut is currently listed as one of "Rolling Stone's" 500 Greatest Albums of All Time[cite news| title= The Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time | date=November 18, 2003| publisher= Rolling Stone Magazine| language= English ] and on The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame's Definitive 200 list. [cite web |url=http://www.definitive200.com/200_list.php |title=The Definitive 200|accessdate=2008-01-15 |format= |work=The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame|date=2007 ] Whitney Houston's grand entrance into the music industry is considered one of the 25 musical milestones of the last 25 years, according to "USA Today". [cite web | last=Gundersen | first=Edna | title=25 years of memorable musical moments | publisher=USA Today |url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/top25-musicmoments.htm?csp=34| accessdate = 2008-01-01 ] Following Houston's breakthrough, other African-American female artists such as Janet Jacksonand Anita Bakerwere able to find notable success in popular music. [cite news | last = Rizzo | first = Frank | title = Houston Tops New Wave of Women With Pop Punch Aplenty | newspaper = Orlando Sentinel | pages = 11 | year =1987 | publisher = Orlando Sentinel | date = August 30, 1987 |accessdate =2008-03-05 ] [cite news | last = Hunt | first = Dennis | title = Anita Baker: 'Most Powerful Black Woman Singer of 80s' | newspaper = San Francisco Chronicle| pages = 44 | year =1987 | publisher = San Francisco Chronicle | date = February 1, 1987 |accessdate =2008-03-05 ]
Continued success: 1987–1991
Houston’s second album, "Whitney", was released in June 1987. The album featured production from Masser, Kashif and Walden again, as well as
Jellybean Benitez. Many critics complained that the material was too similar to her previous album. "Rolling Stone" said, "the narrow channel through which this talent has been directed is frustrating." [Vince Aletti, [http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/whitneyhouston/albums/album/163316/review/5944404/whitney Review, "Whitney"] , "Rolling Stone", Aug. 13, 1987.] Still, Houston became the first female artist in music history to debut at number one on the U.S. and UK album chart while also topping the charts in several other countries around the world. The album's first four singles, " I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)", " Didn't We Almost Have It All", " So Emotional", and " Where Do Broken Hearts Go" all peaked at number one on the U.S. Hot 100, which gave her a total of seven consecutive number-one hits, thus breaking the record of six previously shared by The Beatlesand The Bee Gees. The album's fifth, and final single, " Love Will Save the Day" also became a Top 10 hit on the Hot 100. "Whitney" was certified nine times platinum in America, and to date has sold approximately 20 million copies worldwide.
At the Grammy Awards in 1988, Houston was nominated for three awards including "Album of the Year", winning her second Grammy for 'Best Female Pop Vocal Performance' for "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)". Following the release of the album, Houston embarked on the "
Moment of Truth World Tour" which was one of the ten highest grossing concert tours of 1987. [MacDonald, Patrick. "U2, Bon Jovi were top concert acts of 1987". Seattle Times. January 15, 1988. Page 5. Retrieved May 16, 2008.] In the same year, she recorded a song for NBC's coverage of the 1988 Summer Olympics, " One Moment in Time", which became a Top 5 hit in the U.S., while reaching number one in the UK and Germany.
With the success of her first two albums, Houston was undoubtedly an international crossover superstar, appealing to all demographics. However, some black critics complained that she was selling out. They noted that her singing on record lacked the soul that was present during her live concerts. At the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards, when Houston's name was called out for a nomination, a few in the audience jeered. [Ralph M. Jr., "Interview with Whitney Houston", Dateline NBC, Dec. 10, 1996 (transcript available at [http://www.whitney-fan.com/nr/tv/003.shtml whitney-fan.com] ).] Houston defended herself against the criticism, stating "if you're gonna have a long career, there's a certain way to do it, and I did it that way. I'm not ashamed of it." Still, Houston took a more urban direction with her third studio album, "
I'm Your Baby Tonight", released in November 1990. Unlike her previous albums, Houston was given more control over the album, producing and choosing producers for the project. As a result, the album featured production from Babyfaceand Antonio Reid, Luther Vandross, and Stevie Wonder. The album showed Houston's versatility on a new batch of tough rhythmic grooves, soulful ballads and up-tempo dance tracks. Reviews were mixed. "Rolling Stone" felt it was her "best and most integrated album". [James Hunter, [http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/whitneyhouston/albums/album/216799/review/5946912/im_your_baby_tonight Review "I'm Your Baby Tonight"] , "Rolling Stone", Jan. 10, 1991.] while "Entertainment Weekly" at the time thought Houston's shift towards an urban direction was "superficial". [Browne, David. [http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,318684,00.html "I'm Your Baby Tonight"] , "Entertainment Weekly", November 23, 1990.] The album peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 and went on to be certified four times platinum in America and selling ten million total worldwide. The first two singles, the new jack swing "I'm Your Baby Tonight" and the gospel-tinged " All The Man That I Need", each hit number one on both the Hot 100 and R&B singles charts. The third and fourth singles, "Miracle"; and " My Name Is Not Susan" peaked at numbers nine and twenty, respectively. A fifth single, "I Belong to You", peaked in the Top 10 on the R&B charts, while yet a sixth single, the duet with Stevie Wonder entitled, "We Didn't Know", made the R&B Top 20.
In 1991, following her Welcome Home Heroes Concert and a performance of the National Anthem at the
Super Bowl, Houston embarked on the "I'm Your Baby Tonight World Tour", which didn't sell out as much as her previous tours.
Hollywood and recording success: 1992–1997
In November 1992, Whitney Houston made her big screen debut opposite
Kevin Costnerin " The Bodyguard", which became a major box office success, as did the accompanying soundtrack album. Houston recorded six songs for the motion picture's , featured production from David Foster. The soundtrack's lead single was " I Will Always Love You", originally recorded by Dolly Partonin 1974. Some, including Foster, were skeptical that the song would fare well at radio due to its slow, acapella beginning. [cite video |title = The Bodyguard Special Edition | medium = DVD | publisher = Warner Home Video |date = February 1, 2005 ] Still, the label took the risk and released it as the first single and it became an international hit. It peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for a then-record-breaking 14 weeks and hit number-one in nearly every other country worldwide. The song itself has sold approximately ten million copies worldwide, making it the best selling single by a female artist. The soundtrack debuted at #1 and remained there for twenty consecutive weeks. The follow-up singles " I'm Every Woman", a Chaka Khan cover, and " I Have Nothing" both peaked in the top five. The album was certified 17x platinum in the United States [cite web|url=http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,600142714,00.html|title=Soccer and music fans sound|publisher=Deseret Morning News ] with worldwide sales of forty-two million, [http://www.whitneyhouston.com/ Whitney Houston ] ] and is still the best-selling soundtrack album ever. Houston won three Grammys for the album, including two of the Academy's highest honors, Album of the Yearand Record of the Year. "Entertainment Weekly" said the two cover songs are "artistically satisfying and uncharacteristically hip" while the rest is generic. [cite news | first= Amy | last= Linden | title= The Bodyguard Review| date=December 4, 1992| publisher= Entertainment Weekly| url= http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,312588,00.html| accessdate= 2007-03-17 | language= English ] "Rolling Stone" said it is "nothing more than pleasant, tasteful and urbane". [cite news | first= Arion | last= Berger | title= The Bodyguard Review| date=February 18, 1993| publisher= Rolling Stone Magazine| url= http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/whitneyhouston/albums/album/209469/review/6210412/the_bodyguard| accessdate= 2007-03-17 | language= English ] Following the success of the project, Houston embarked on another expansive and successful worldwide tour in 1993 and 1994.
In December 1995, Houston co-produced, with Babyface, the critically acclaimed cultural phenomenon "". Though Babyface originally wanted Houston to record the entire album, she declined. Instead, she "wanted [it] to be an album of women with vocal distinction" to go along with the film's strong women message.cite news | first= Chritopher John | last= Farley | title= No More Prissy |date=December 4, 1995| publisher= Time Magazine | url= http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,983795-2,00.html| accessdate= 2007-03-17 | language= English ] Houston herself had decided not to sing on the album, preferring to just be an actress in the motion picture. After some convincing by Babyface, she decided to contribute three songs to the project. As a result, the album featured a range of contemporary R&B female recording artists along with Houston, such as
Mary J Blige, Aretha Franklin, Toni Braxton, and Brandy. Houston's " Exhale (Shoop Shoop)" peaked at #1, and then spent a record 11 weeks at the #2 spot. "Count On Me", a duet with Cece Winans, hit the U.S. Top 10; and Houston's third contribution, " Why Does It Hurt So Bad", made the Top 30. The album debuted at #1, has since been certified 7x platinum in America, and has sold thirteen million copies worldwide, according to her official site. The soundtrack received strong reviews. "Entertainment Weekly" said "the album goes down easy, just as you'd expect from a package framed by Whitney Houston tracks....the soundtrack waits to exhale, hovering in sensuous suspense" [ Entertainment WeeklyDecember 1, 1995 pg.73] and has since ranked it as one of the 100 Best Movie Soundtracks. [cite news | first= Chris | last= Willman | title= 100 Best Movie Soundtracks| date=October 12, 2001| publisher= Entertainment Weekly| url= http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,254121,00.html| accessdate= 2007-03-17 | language= English ] "Newsday" called it "the most significant R&B record of the decade." [Fact|date=February 2008]
In late 1996, Houston recorded and co-produced, with Mervyn Warren, the gospel "", which included collaborations with the
Georgia Mass Choir, Monicaand gospel legend Shirley Caesar. The soundtrack sold six million copies worldwide and scored pop hits with " I Believe in You and Me" and " Step by Step", becoming the largest selling gospel album of all time. The album received mainly positive reviews. Some critics, like "USA Today", noted the presence of her emotional depth, [ [http://www.whitney-fan.com/music/review/pw/012.shtml whitney-fan.com] ] while "The UK Times" said "To hear Houston going at full throttle with the 35 piece Georgia Mass Choir struggling to keep up is to realise what her phenomenal voice was made for." [ [http://www.whitney-fan.com/music/review/pw/014.shtml whitney-fan.com] ]
Back to the studio: 1998–2001
After spending much of the early and mid 1990s working on films, with their adjacent soundtrack albums as an outlet for new music, Houston's first studio album in eight years, the critically acclaimed "
My Love Is Your Love", was released in November 1998. Though originally slated to be a greatest hits album with a handful of new songs, recording sessions produced enough new material for a full-length studio album. Recorded and mixed in only six weeks, it featured production from Rodney Jerkins, Wyclef Jeanand Missy Elliott. The album had a more funkier and edgier sound than past releases and saw Houston handling urban dance, hip hop, reggae, mid-tempo R&B, torch songs, and ballads all with great dexterity. The album's first single, " When You Believe" (a duet with Mariah Carey for 1998s The Prince of Egyptsoundtrack), ultimately won an Academy Awardand peaked in the Top 20 of the U.S. Hot 100 and the Top 5 in the UK, while the album debuted at #13. [http://www.classicwhitney.com/music/charts.html Chart Log: UK/US Singles Chart] , ClassicWhitney.com] However, the next three singles, "Heartbreak Hotel", which featured Faith Evansand Kelly Price; " It's Not Right but It's Okay", which won Houston her sixth Grammy Award; and "My Love Is Your Love" all reached the U.S. Top 5 and also became international hits. The album's fifth single, " I Learned from the Best", peaked at number twenty-seven. All singles, except "When You Believe", also became number one hits on the U.S. Dance/Clubplay Chart. The album went on to be certified four times platinum in the U.S., with worldwide sales of ten million. The album gave Houston her strongest reviews ever. "Rolling Stone" said Houston was singing "with a bite in her voice" [Rob Sheffield, [http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/whitneyhouston/albums/album/191282/review/6068334/my_love_is_your_love Album reviews: Whitney Houston, My Love Is Your Love] , "Rolling Stone", Jan. 4, 1999.] and "The Village Voice" called it "Whitney's sharpest and most satisfying so far". [Vince Aletti, "Look Who's Ticking", "Village Voice" (date??), available at [http://www.classicwhitney.com/review/music/albums/village.htm classicwhitney.com] .] In 1999, Houston participated in "VH-1's Divas’ Live '99", alongside Mary J. Blige, Tina Turner, Cher. The same year, Houston hit the road with her 70 date "My Love Is Your Love" worldwide tour.
In April 2000, "" was released. The double disc set peaked at number five in America and reached number one on the UK chart. While the ballads were left unchanged, the album is notable for featuring house/club remixes of many of Houston's past up-tempo songs, in place of their original version. Also included on the album were four new songs: "
Could I Have This Kiss Forever" (a duet with Enrique Iglesias), " Same Script, Different Cast" (a duet with Deborah Cox), " If I Told You That" (a duet with George Michael), and "Fine", all of which failed to crack the Billboard Top 40. Along with the album, an accompanying DVD was also released of the music videos to Houston's greatest hits. The greatest hits album was certified triple platinum in the U.S., with worldwide sales of ten million. The same year, Houston performed on the televised special commemorating Arista Records twenty-fifth anniversary. Houston was then the first ever recipient of the BETLifetime Achievement Award for her contribution towards black music. In August 2001, Houston signed the biggest record deal in music history with Arista/ BMG. She renewed her contract (worth $100 million) to deliver six new albums on which she would also earn royalties. Within weeks Houston's rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" would be re-released after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The single peaked at #6 on the singles chart. Houston would donate her portion of the proceeds.
Commercial decline: 2002–2005
In December 2002, Houston released her fifth studio album, "
Just Whitney". The album included productions from then-husband Bobby Brown, as well as Missy Elliott, and Babyface, while marking the first time Houston did not produce with Clive Davis. It received mostly poor reviews upon release. [MetaCritic.com, [http://www.metacritic.com/music/artists/houstonwhitney/justwhitney "Just Whitney" by Whitney Houston] (last visited Feb. 15, 2008).] "Rolling Stone" said the album "only shows an artist vainly trying to reach for what her future once could have been" [Jon Caramanica, [http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/whitneyhouston/albums/album/96850/review/6068011/just_whitney Album Reviews: Whitney Houston, "Just Whitney"] , "Rolling Stone", Jan. 3, 2003.] while "The San Francisco Chronicle" said the album "shows signs of life, but not enough to declare a resurrection." [cite news | first= Neva | last= Chonin | title= Tracks of Their Tears| date=December 11 2002| publisher= The San Francisco Chronicle| url= http://www.classicwhitney.com/review/music/albums/jwrev.htm#Post| accessdate= 2007-03-17 | language= English ] The album debuted at #9 on the Billboard 200 albums chart with the highest opening week sales of any album she had ever released. However, all of the singles, the media bashing " Whatchulookinat", " One of Those Days", and " Try It on My Own" failed to reach the top forty on the Hot 100 singles chart and the album quickly fell off the Billboard Top 200. "Just Whitney" would be certified platinum in the U.S. with cumulative worldwide sales of over three million, Houston's lowest sales of any studio album.
In late 2003, Houston released "", a specialty album of traditional Christmas songs. Houston produced the album with Gorden Chambers and Mervyn Warren. "The New York Times" praised the "lavish swoops, the sultry whispers, the gospelly asides and the meteoric crescendos." [cite news | first= Jon | last= Pareles | title= Whitney Houston: One Wish | date= December 5 2003| publisher= New York Times| url= http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E07E3D6143DF936A35751C1A9659C8B63| accessdate= 2007-03-17 | language= English ] The single "
One Wish (for Christmas)" reached the Top 20 on the Adult Contemporary Chart as the album sold approximately 400,000 copies in the U.S. It eventually became Houston's lowest selling album and the first not to achieve gold status in the U.S..
In 2004, Houston embarked on the "Soul Divas Tour" with
Natalie Coleand cousin Dionne Warwick in Europe, before embarking on solo dates in the Middle East, Russia, and Asia. In September 2004, she gave a surprise performance at the World Music Awards, in tribute to long time friend Clive Davis. Houston received a thunderous standing ovation for her performance. After the show, Davis and Houston announced plans to go into studio to work on a new album. [Paul Cashmere, [http://www.whitney-houston.com/news/articles/180904a.htm "Whitney Back With Clive Davis"] , Pops by Paul Cashmere, Sept. 17, 2004, available at whitney-houston.com.] However, no further updates would surface and no album was released due to Houston's drug problems.
New beginnings: 2006–present
After a successful rehabilitation period in 2006, Houston divorced
Bobby Brownand gained full parental custody of their daughter, Bobbi Kristina. The singer began recuperating her career in the public eye by attending the various high profile events. Houston recorded the song "Family First" with Dionne Warwick and Cissy Houston for the soundtrack Daddy's Little Girls. In March 2007, Clive Davis announced that the singer would be heading in to the studio to record her first studio album in 4 years. Though the release date and title are yet to be determined, reported producers include will.i.am,Roger Friedman, [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,258421,00.html "Whitney Houston Starts Work on New Album Today"] , Fox News, March 13, 2007.] Ne-Yo, and John Legend[Shaheem Reid & Jasmine Dotiwala, [http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1554180/20070308/legend_john.jhtml "John Legend Builds Label; Hooks Up With Whitney, Jennifer Hudson"] , MTV, March 9, 2007.] among others. [Joanna Mazewski, [http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7008880079 "Whitney Houston Stuns Guests At Swarovski Fashion Rocks Party"] , AllHeadlineNews, Oct. 19, 2007.]
In the meantime, Arista released "The Ultimate Collection" in October 2007. The compilation included all of Houston's hit singles on one CD, and also included a bonus DVD of music videos. It peaked at #3 in the UK. The compilation was not released in the U.S.
In December 2007, Houston performed in
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysiato positive reception. [ [http://news.google.co.nz/news/url?sa=t&ct=nz/0-0&fp=47539bbb802c7cdf&ei=FGFTR9XKAYqsqwPexbHUCA&url=http%3A//blogs.sohh.com/ya_heard/2007/12/breaking_news_w.html&cid=0 Google News] ] [ [http://news.google.co.nz/news/url?sa=t&ct=nz/1-0&fp=47539bbb802c7cdf&ei=FGFTR9XKAYqsqwPexbHUCA&url=http%3A//www.star-ecentral.com/news/story.asp%3Ffile%3D/2007/12/2/music/19643327%26sec%3Dmusic&cid=1124388722 Google News] ] [ [http://www.eonline.com/news/article/index.jsp?uuid=0fb9e4b0-d3dc-4c67-bae7-4adf2dd3daea&entry=index E! News] ] Clive Davis later announced at Billboard's Music & Money Symposium in New York that Houston's forthcoming album will be released around the holiday season. Davis blames the delay on the creative process, saying he and Houston were unwilling to rush out an album of substandard tracks. Davis states "We're not going to compromise who she is to fit into today's hip-hop radio market. The public wants Whitney material." [cite web|url=http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/content_display/industry/e3i943d28a441758308f7b6fc924a6e9cf4|title=Billboard Music & Money Keynote: Clive Davis And Charles Goldstuck |last=Bruno|first=Antony |date=2008-03-06|publisher=billboard.biz|accessdate=2008-10-05]
Film and television career
During the early-mid 1980s, as Houston was launching her music career, she auditioned for acting roles; including the part of Sondra Huxtable on "
The Cosby Show", which eventually went to Sabrina Le Beauf.Fact|date=October 2008 In 1984, Houston appeared on an episode of " Gimme a Break!", and an episode of " Silver Spoons" in 1985. [cite web|url=http://www.filmreference.com/film/14/Whitney-Houston.html|title=Whitney Houston Biography (1963-)|publisher=filmreference.com|accessdate=2008-10-05]
With the huge success of her first two albums, movie offers came from
Robert De Niro, Quincy Jones, and Spike Lee, though she felt the time wasn't right.Lynn Norment, [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1077/is_n7_v46/ai_10640593/pg_1 Whitney Houston talks about the men in her life - and the rumors, lies and insults that are the high price of fame - interview] , "Ebony", May 1991.] Houston’s first film role was in " The Bodyguard", released in 1992 and co-starring Kevin Costner. Houston plays Rachel Marron, a star who is stalked by a crazed fan that hires a bodyguard to protect her. The film was successful at the box office, grossing more than $121 million in the U.S. and $410 million worldwide thanks in large to the success of Houston's soundtrack to the film. It is currently among the top 100 highest grossing films worldwide [ [http://imdb.com/boxoffice/alltimegross?region=world-wide IMDB] ] and "USA Today" listed it as one of the 25 most memorable movie moments of the last 25 years. [Susan Wloszczyna, [http://www.usatoday.com/life/top25-movies.htm "Hollywood highlights: 25 movies with real impact"] , "USA Today", 2007.] The movie is also notable for not mentioning or explaining its interracial aspect. Houston's mainstream appeal allowed people to look at the movie color-blind. [ [http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,305461_4,00.html "Pregnant Pause"] . Entertainment Weekly. 1993. Retrieved March 12 2006.] Still, controversy arose as some felt the film's ads intentionally hid Houston's face to hide the film's interracial aspect. In an interview with "Rolling Stone" magazine in 1993, Houston commented that "people know who Whitney Houston is—I'm black. You can't hide that fact." Despite the film's success, the reviews were mixed, and Houston received a Razzie Awardnomination for Worst Actress. "The Washington Post" said Houston is "doing nothing more than playing Houston, comes out largely unscathed if that is possible in so cockamamie an undertaking" [Rita Kempley, [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/movies/videos/thebodyguardrkempley_a0a2f7.htm "The Bodyguard"] , "Washington Post", Nov. 25, 1992.] and "The New York Times" said she lacked passion with her co-star. [New York Times, November 25, 1992]
In 1995, Houston starred alongside
Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, and Lela Rochonin her second film " Waiting to Exhale"; a film about four African-American women struggling with relationships. Houston plays the lead character Savannah Jackson, a TV producer in love with a married man. She chose the role because she saw the film as "a breakthrough for the image of black women because it presents them both as professionals and as caring mothers". The movie and its soundtrack struck a chord with African Americans and is considered a cultural classic. After opening at #1 and grossing $67 million in the U.S. at the box office and $82 million worldwide, it proved that a movie targeting black audiences can cross over to success, while paving the way for other all-black motion pictures such as " How Stella Got Her Groove Back" and the Tyler Perrymovies that have become popular in the 2000s. [ [http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/africanambib2.html African American Filmmakers, African American Films: A Bibliography of Materials in the UC Berkeley Library] , UC Berkeley Library (last visited Feb. 15, 2008).] [Rebecca Ascher-Walsh, [http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,284411,00.html "Back in the Groove?"] , "Entertainment Weekly", Aug. 14, 1998.] [Nicole LaPorte, [http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117918919.html?categoryid=1055&cs=1 "Diary of a Mad Niche Hit"] , "Variety", March 6, 2005.] The film is also notable for its portrayal of black women as strong middle class citizens as oppose to stereotypes. [cite news | first= Jack E. | last= White | title= Heavy Breathing |date=January 15, 1996| publisher= Time Magazine | url= http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,983966,00.html| accessdate= 2007-03-17 | language= English ] The reviews were mainly positive for the ensemble cast. "The New York Times" said "Ms. Houston has shed the defensive hauteur that made her portrayal of a pop star in "The Bodyguard" seem so distant." [New York Times, December 22 1995] Houston was nominated for an NAACP Image Awardfor Outstanding Actress In A Motion Picture, but lost to her co-star Basset.
In 1996, Houston starred in the holiday comedy "
The Preacher's Wife", with Denzel Washington. She plays a gospel-singing wife of a reverend. Houston earned $10 million for the role, making her one of the highest paid actress in Hollywood at the time and the highest earning African American actress in Hollywood. [Laurence, Charles. [http://www.classicwhitney.com/interview/dailytelegraph_1996.htm "The Arts: The gospel according to Whitney"] , The Daily Telegraph, December 14, 1996. Retrieved on 2008-01-01] The movie was a moderate success, earning approximately $50 million at the U.S. box offices. [IMDB, [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117372/business Box office / business for "The Preacher's Wife"] (last visited Feb. 15, 2008).] The movie gave Houston her strongest reviews so far. "The San Francisco Chronicle" said Houston "is rather angelic herself, displaying a divine talent for being virtuous and flirtatious at the same time" and that she "exudes gentle yet spirited warmth, especially when praising the Lord in her gorgeous singing voice." [Peter Stack, [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/1996/12/13/DD36582.DTL Human Comedy's Divine in 'Preacher's Wife'] , "San Francisco Chronicle", Dec. 13, 1996.] Houston was again nominated for an NAACP Image Awardand won for Outstanding Actress In A Motion Picture.
In 1997, Houston's production company changed it's name to BrownHouse Productions and was joined by
Debra Martin Chase. Their goal was "to show aspects of the lives of African-Americans that have not been brought to the screen before" while improving how African-Americans are portrayed in film and television. [http://www.classicwhitney.com/interview/ebony_nov1997.htm Whitney scores as producer and star] . Ebony Magazine. November, 1997. Retrieved on 2008-05-25.] Their first project was a made-for-television remake of Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Cinderella". In addition to co-producing, Houston starred in the movie as the Fairy Godmother along with Brandy, Jason Alexander, Whoopi Goldberg, and Bernadette Peters. Houston was initially offered the role of Cinderella in 1993, but other projects intervened and CBS lost interest. [Todd S. Purdum, [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D03E0DD1231F931A35752C1A961958260&n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/People/H/Houston,%20Whitney "Television; The Slipper Still Fits, Though the Style Is New"] , "New York Times", Nov. 2, 1997.] The film featured a multiracial cast and Houston said the ultimate message was that "African-American girls and women are princesses just as much as White girls and those of other ethnicities, and that they too can fulfill their dreams." [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1077/is_n1_v53/ai_20013879 "Whitney & Brandy in 'Cinderella.' - updated version of 'Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella' - includes related article on producer and actress Whitney Houston"] , "Ebony", Nov. 1997.] An estimated 60 million viewers tuned into the special giving ABC its highest TV ratings in 16 years. [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1355/is_n1_v93/ai_20136070 "'Cinderella' TV movie special produces spectacular rating for ABC - interracial version of 'Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella' - Brief Article"] , "Jet", Nov. 24, 1997.] The movie received seven Emmynominations including Outstanding Variety, Musical or Comedy, while winning Outstanding Art Direction in a Variety, Musical or Comedy Special. [ [http://www.classicwhitney.com/newsfile/reports/movienews/cinderella/emmys23jul1998.htm| Classic Whitney] ]
Houston and Chase then obtained the rights to the story of
Dorothy Dandridge. Houston was to play Dandridge, who was the first African American actress to be nominated for an Oscar. She wanted the story told with dignity and honor. However, Halle Berryalso had rights to the project and she got her version going first. [ [http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1430186/19970409/houston_whitney.jhtml| Whitney Houston To Take On "Christie Love"] . "MTV News". April 9, 1997.] Houston and Chase, along with Warner Brothers, were then set to produce a remake of the 1976 film Sparkleabout a 1960s singing group of three sisters in Harlem. Aaliyah, who was to star in the remake, was killed in a plane crash in 2001 before production began. [Bautz, Mark." [http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,172512,00.html| Obituary] ". "Entertainment Weekly". August 26, 2001.]
In 2005, husband Bobby Brown starred in his own reality TV program "
Being Bobby Brown" (on the Bravo network), which provided a view into the domestic goings-on in the Brown household. Though it was Brown's vehicle, Houston was a prominent figure throughout the show. The series featured Houston at, what some say, her lowest moments and many wondered why she took part in it. The "Hollywood Reporter" said it was "undoubtedly the most disgusting and execrable series ever to ooze its way onto television" [Barry Garron, [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8409211/ "'Being Bobby Brown' Is Disgusting"] , MSNBC, July 7, 2005.] Despite the perceived train wreck nature of the show, the series continued Houston's successful adventures into film and television and gave Bravo its highest ratings in its time slot. [Steve Rogers, [http://www.realitytvworld.com/news/report-bravo-being-bobby-brown-coming-back-for-second-season-3794.php "Report: Bravo's 'Being Bobby Brown' coming back for second season"] , RealityTV World, Oct. 31, 2005.] The show was not renewed for a second season after Houston stated she would no longer appear in the show, and Brown and Bravo could not come to an agreement for another season. [ [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=7&entry_id=12515 "Brown Reality Show Cancelled"] , "SFGate", The Daily Dish, Jan. 10, 2007.]
Of late, Houston has served as a successful producer of Hollywood films including the Disney films "The Princess Diaries", "", and as executive producer of the Disney made-for-television films "The Cheetah Girls" and "
The Cheetah Girls 2", several of which have grossed more than $100 million at the box office.
Marriage to Bobby Brown
Throughout the '80s, Houston was romantically linked to
American footballstar Randall Cunninghamand actor Eddie Murphy, whom she dated. She was also romantically linked to her long-time friend and female assistant Robyn Crawford, but continuously denied the lesbian rumors. Houston then met R&B singer Bobby Brownat the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards. After a three year courtship, the two were married on July 18, 1992. ManyWho|date=October 2008 were surprised at the pairing and felt that the New Editionsinger would be a bad influence on Houston. Brown had numerous run-ins with the law and already had three children with different women while Houston was considered a good church girl. ManyWho|date=October 2008 felt that the marriage was an attempt for Houston to get street credibility after being under fire from black critics. Diane Sawyer, Interview, ABC Primetime, Dec. 4, 2002 (transcript available at [http://www.whitney-fan.com/nr/tv/015.shtml whitney-fan.com] ).] Despite their differences in image, Houston gave birth to their child, daughter Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown on March 4, 1993 after a miscarriage the year before. [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1355/is_n13_v86/ai_15713652 Whitney Houston Suffers a Miscarriage] , "Jet", Aug. 1, 1994.] Throughout the 90s, Brown continued to get in trouble with the law including sexual harassment, drunk driving, assault charges and even jail time [Rob Kenner, [http://www.vibe.com/news/online_exclusives/2006/09/when_bobby_met_whitney_the_timeline/ When Bobby Met Whitney: The Timeline] , "Vibe", Sept. 5, 2006.] while Houston suffered another miscarriage in 1996. [Sheri & Bob Stritof, [http://marriage.about.com/od/entertainmen1/a/whitneyhouston.htm Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown Marriage Profile] , About.com: Marriage (last visited Feb. 15, 2008).] In the 2000s, Brown continued to find trouble while the drug rumors began for Houston. In December 2003, Brown was arrested and charged with battery after an altercation with Houston after it was reported that he hit her. [CNN, [http://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/12/10/brown.charged/index.html "Bobby Brown Charged with Battery"] , Dec. 10, 2003.]
With a history of infidelity, scandals, drug and alcohol arrests, and marital problems, Houston finally filed for separation from Brown in September 2006 following trips to rehab. The following month, on October 16, 2006, Houston filed for divorce from Brown. [cite web|url=http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,213689,00.html|title=Whitney Houston Files for Divorce From Bobby Brown|date=September 13, 2006|author=Associated Press] On February 1, 2007, Houston asked the court to
fast tracktheir divorce. [cite web|url=http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2007-02-01-whitney-houston_x.htm|title=Whitney wants to speed up her divorce|date=2007-02-01|publisher=usatoday.com|accessdate=2008-10-05] The divorce became finalized on April 24, 2007, with Houston granted custody of the couple's daughter. [cite news|url=http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20033741,00.html|title=Whitney Houston Wins Custody in Divorce From Bobby Brown|last=Breuer|first=Howard |coauthors=Keith, Amy|date=2007-04-05|publisher="People"|accessdate=2008-10-05]
In May 2007, Brown sued Houston in
Orange County, Californiacourt in an attempt to change the terms of their custody agreement. Brown also sought child and spousal support from Houston. In the lawsuit, Brown claimed that financial and emotional problems prevented him from properly responding Houston's divorce petition. [cite news|url=http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20038695,00.html|title=Bobby Brown Sues Whitney Houston for Custody, Spousal Support|last=Keith|first=Amy Elisa |date=2007-05-11|publisher="People"|accessdate=2008-10-05] Brown also claimed that Houston kept him from seeing their daughter. [cite web|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/01/AR2007090102415.html|title=Houston, Brown Battle Over Child Custody|date=2007-08-31|publisher=washingtonpost.com|accessdate=2008-10-05] At the court hearing on January 4, 2008, Brown failed to show up at the scheduled court date. As a result of this, the judge dismissed his appeal to overrule Houston's custody terms, leaving Houston with full custody and Brown with no custody or spousal support. [ [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=7&entry_id=23236 Brown Cannot Overturn Houston Divorce Terms After Court No-Show] , "The Daily Dish!", "SFGate", Jan. 7, 2008.]
Drug and health issues
Though Houston was seen as a good girl with a perfect image in the '80s and early '90s, during the late '90s many noted a change in her behavior. She was often hours late for interviews, photo shoots, rehearsals, and canceled concerts and talk-show appearances. [ [http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/whitneyhouston/biography Whitney Houston Biography] , "Rolling Stone" (last visited Feb. 15, 2008).] Larry McShane, [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/digest/ent3.htm "Whitney Houston Gets Bad Press"] , "Washington Post", April 6, 2000.] With the missed performances and weight loss people began to wonder if something was wrong while rumors began that there was drug use with her husband. On January 11, 2000, airport security discovered marijuana in the luggage of both Houston's and husband Bobby Brown's luggage at a Hawaiian airport, but the two boarded the plane and departed before authorities could arrive. Charges were later dropped against her and Brown as she later pleaded no contest to a possession charge and was ordered to pay £2,100 (US$4,200) to a youth-orientated anti-drug program in place of community service, [TCM Breaking News, [http://archives.tcm.ie/breakingnews/2001/09/11/story23275.asp "Fears for Whitney Houston Grow"] , Sept. 11, 2001.] but rumors of drug usage among the couple would continue to surface. Two months later, Clive Davis was inducted into the
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Houston was scheduled to perform and honor the man that helped launch her career, but she canceled ten minutes before the show.Andrew Dansby, [http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/whitneyhouston/articles/story/5924161/whitney_insider_tells_of_drug_use_failed_intervention "Whitney Insider Tells of Drug Use, Failed Intervention"] , "Rolling Stone", June 7, 2000.] Shortly after, Houston was scheduled to perform at the Academy Awards but was fired from the event by musical director and long time friend Burt Bacharach. Though her publicist cited throat problems as the reason for the cancellation, many speculated it was drugs. In Steve Pond's book "The Big Show: High Times And Dirty Dealings Backstage At The Academy Awards", it was revealed that "Houston's voice was shaky, she seemed distracted and jittery, and her attitude was casual, almost defiant" and that while Houston was to sing "Over The Rainbow", she would start singing a different song. [Movie & TV News @ IMDB.com, [http://www.imdb.com/news/wenn/2004-12-23#celeb5 "Houston's Oscar Confusion"] , Dec. 23, 2004.] Houston herself would later admit to being fired. In an interview with Jane Magazine, Houston reportedly arrived late, seemed unfocused, had trouble keeping her eyes open, and played an imaginary piano. Later that year, Houston's long time executive assistant and best friend Robyn Crawford resigned from Houston's management company.
The next year, Houston made an appearance at . Her shockingly thin frame further spurred rumors of drug use, anorexia, and bulimia. Her publicist said "Whitney has been under stress due to family matters, and when she is under stress she doesn't eat."cite news | first= Sharon | last= Knolle | title= Reports of Whitney Houston's Death Denied |date=September 13, 2001 | publisher= ABC News | url= http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/story?id=102477&page=1| accessdate= 2007-03-17 | language= English ] The singer was scheduled for a second performance the following night but canceled without explanation. [Lynette Holloway, [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9406E2D91231F932A25752C1A9649C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=print "In Switch, Whitney Houston Has to Sell an Album"] , "New York Times", Nov. 11, 2002.] Shortly after, rumors began that the troubled singer had died of a drug overdose. The rumor was quickly denied by Houston's camp.
In late 2002, Houston did an interview with
Diane Sawyer. During the prime time special, the defiant and erratic Houston spoke on various topics including her rumored drug abuse and marriage to Bobby Brown. When Sawyer showed Houston the photo of her appearance at the Michael Jackson Show, the singer replied "Well, that's a bad shot." She was asked about the ongoing drug rumors and replied "First of all, let's get one thing straight. Crack is cheap. I make too much money to ever smoke crack. Let's get that straight. Okay? We don't do crack. We don't do that. Crack is wack." The line would become famous. [cite web|url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14824108/|title=Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown separate|date=2006-09-13|publisher=msnbc.msn.com|accessdate=2008-10-05] Houston admitted to using various substances at times and that she partied. When asked if Brown ever hit her, she replied, with Brown by her side "No, he's never hit me, no. I've hit him, in anger."
Houston entered drug rehabilitation facilities in March 2004, but the following year appeared in Brown's reality TV series displaying more erratic behavior. In March 2005, Houston reentered the same drug rehab successfully completing the program. Though odd reports surface that the singer is still using drugs, her record label insists that Houston is off the drugs. [Roger Friedman, [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,272382,00.html Record Company: Whitney Houston Is Straight as an Arrow] , Fox News, May 15, 2007.]
John Houston dispute
In 2002, Houston became involved in a legal dispute with her father, and one-time manager, John Houston. John Houston Enterprise, run by company president and family friend Kevin Skinner, filed a
breach-of-contract lawsuitand sued for $100 million (but lost); stating that she owed his company previously unpaid compensation for helping to negotiate her $100 million contract with Arista Records and for sorting out legal matters. [cite web |url=http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1458015/20021008/houston_whitney.jhtml?headlines=true |title=Whitney Houston Sued For $100 Million By Dad's Company |accessdate=2008-01-15 |format= |work=MTV.com |date=October 8, 2002] The singer's publicist claimed that Houston's 81 year old father had nothing to do with the lawsuit, but Skinner claimed otherwise. [cite web |url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1355/is_19_102/ai_93457202 |title=Whitney Houston is sued for $100 million by her father's entertainment company - Entertainment |accessdate=2008-01-15 |format= |work=Jet Magazine |date=October 28, 2002] Houston's father, who was ill at the time, died in February 2003 though the singer did not attend the funeral. [Friedman, Roger. [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,78063,00.html Whitney and Bobby No-Shows at Dad's Funeral] FOXNews.com. February 10, 2003] The lawsuit was dismissed on April 5, 2004, after Skinner failed to participate in pre-trial discovery. [cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3628169.stm |title=Judge throws out Houston lawsuit |accessdate=2008-01-15 |format= |work=BBC News |date=April 15, 2004]
In 1989, Houston formed The Whitney Houston Foundation For Children, a non-profit organization that has raised funds for the needs of children around the world. The organization cares for homelessness, children with cancer and AIDS, and other issues of self-empowerment. [ [http://www.whfoundation.com/ Whitney Houston Foundation for Children] ] In 1995, Houston's organization was awarded a VH1 Honor for all the charitable work. In 1997, Houston paid tribute to her idols such as Aretha Franklin,
Diana Ross, and Billie Hollidayby performing their hits during the three night HBO Concert "Classic Whitney", live from Washington, D.C.. The special raised over $300,000 for the Children's Defense Fund. [ [http://www.whitneyhouston.com/bio.html WhitneyHouston.com] ]
Houston was a supporter of
Nelson Mandelaand the anti-apartheid movement. During her modelling days, the singer refused to work with any agencies who did business with a then apartheid South Africa.Fact|date=October 2008 In 1988, Houston joined other musicians to perform a set at Wembley Stadiumin Londonto celebrate a then imprisoned Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday. Over 72,000 people filled Wembley Stadium, and over a billion people tuned in worldwide as the rock concert raised over $1 million for charities while bringing awareness to apartheid. [cite news|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE2DF1F38F930A25755C0A96E948260|title=Pop Music's Homage to Mandela |last=Watrous|first=Peter|date=1988-06-13|publisher="The New York Times"] In 1994, at the end of "The Bodyguard Tour", Houston performed three concerts in South Africa, playing to over 200,000 people. This would make the singer the first musician to visit the newly unified and apartheid free nation following Mandela's winning election.Fact|date=October 2008 The funds of the concerts were donated to various charities in South Africa.Fact|date=October 2008 The event was considered the nation's "biggest media event since the inauguration of Nelson Mandela". [Citation|title=Whitney in South Africa| newspaper=Ebony|volume=50|issue=4|pages=116|year=1995|date=February 1995|issn=00129011]
Houston has also contributed to the
American Red Cross. Houston performed " The Star Spangled Banner" at Super Bowl XXVin January 1991.cite news|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CEFD8173EF937A15751C0A967958260|title=Pop View; Caution: Now Entering The War Zone |last=Pareles|first=Jon|date=1991-02-24|accessdate=2008-10-05] VH1 listed the performance as the 12th greatest moment that rocked tv. [cite web|url=http://www.vh1.com/shows/dyn/the_greatest/63773/episode_wildcard.jhtml?wildcard=/shows/dynamic/includes/wildcards/the_greatest/rocked_tvmoments/complete_list_20.jhtml&event_id=63773|title=100 Greatest Moments That Rocked TV (20-1)|publisher=vh1.com] Her recording of the song was released as a commercial single, reaching the top twenty on the U.S. Hot 100, and making her the only artist to turn the national anthem into a charting hitFact|date=October 2008 (Ten years later, the song was re-released after the September 11, 2001 attacks, this time peaking becoming a Top 10 hit). [cite web|url=http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/retrieve_chart_history.do?model.vnuArtistId=4849&model.vnuAlbumId=1099195|title=Artist Chart History - Whitney Houston|publisher=billboard.com|accessdate=2008-10-05] Houston donated her share of the proceeds to the Red Cross. As a result, the singer was named to the Red Cross Board of Govenors for her efforts. [Blair, Tom. "The village verbiage collector". "The San Diego Union". May 23 1991. Page B1.] Later that year, Houston put together her "Welcome Home Heroes" concert with HBOfor the soldiers fighting in the Gulf Warand their families. The free concert took place at the Norfolk Air Force Base in Virginia in front of 3,500 people. HBO descrambled the concert so that it was free for everyone the watch. [Smith, Patricia. "Mom, apple pie and Whitney Houston in concert for troops". "Boston Globe" April 1 1991.] The concert gave HBO it's highest ratings ever. [Hodges, Anne. "Hope opens his home to U.S. troops". "Houston Chronicle" April 6 1991.]
Like many African American artists, Houston has contributed to the
United Negro College Fund. One of Houston's first gigs before being discovered was at a UNCF benefit backing up her mother in the early 1980s. Houston has since appeared at UNCF telethons and specials in 1988, 1989, and 2001. As a result, UNCF has awarded the singer with the Frederick D. Patterson Award for her donations.Fact|date=October 2008
* 1992: "The Bodyguard"
* 1995: "Waiting to Exhale"
* 1996: "The Preacher's Wife"
* 2000: ""
* 2001: "
* 2004: "Artist Collection: Whitney Houston"
* 2007: "The Ultimate Collection"
*1986: "Number One Video Hits"
*1991: "Star Spangled Banner"
*1991: "Welcome Home Heroes"
*1994: "Concert for a New South Africa"
*1997: "Classic Whitney Concert"
VH1 Divas Live'99"
*2000: "The Greatest Hits"
*2002: "Whatchulookinat Video/Whatchulookinat Behind-the-Scenes Footage/Love to Infinity Megamix Video"
*2004: "Artist Collection: Whitney Houston"
Greatest Love Tour"
Moment of Truth World Tour"
I'm Your Baby Tonight World Tour"
The Bodyguard World Tour"
My Love Is Your Love World Tour"
Whitney Houston chart records and achievements
List of Whitney Houston awards
Grammy nominations for Whitney Houston
List of artists by total number of USA number one singles
American Music Award nominations for Whitney Houston
List of best-selling music artists
List of artists who reached number one on the Hot 100 (U.S.)
List of artists who reached number one on the U.S. Dance chart
* [http://www.whitneyhouston.com/ Official website]
* [http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/whitneyhouston Whitney Houston] at "
NAME= Houston, Whitney
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Houston, Whitney Elizabeth
Singer, songwriter, actress, arranger, film producer, model
DATE OF BIRTH= August 9, 1963
PLACE OF BIRTH=
Newark, New Jersey, United States
DATE OF DEATH=
PLACE OF DEATH=
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