“I want one moment in time. When I’m more than I thought I could be. When all of my dreams are a heartbeat away, and the answers are all up to me. Give me one moment in time. When I’m racing with destiny. Then in that one moment of time, I will be; I will be free.”
Whitney Houston – One Moment In Time
My moment with Whitney Houston happened when she came to Iowa City, IA (Carver-Hawkeye Arena) on April 26, 1991. I was in the fourth row; middle of the aisle. She was doing a set for ‘Miracle’ and I was singing my heart out. Anybody that follows Whitney knows that she is very interactive with the audience during her concerts. In a moment’s time, our eyes met. Yes they did! Well, she gave me a smile & a wink that only Whitney can do. Oh yes… My heart melted, and she was mine forever.
I vowed that I would have an up-close and personal conversation with Whitney one day to tell her personally how much she meant to me. At the time of her death, I was still working on that interview. For years, I had been contacting publicists, managers, etc. But it never happened. However, I still had my One Moment In Time with MY Whitney Houston.
It took me awhile to get to my special tribute to my beloved Whitney Elizabeth “Nippy” Houston because my heart has been wrenching in the pain of the loss. Yes! It’s definitely like that when it comes to me and Whit!
I became a part of the Whitney Houston Machine in 1985 when her self-titled debut album came out. My mother (1946 – 2011) and I immediately looked at each other and said, “This is the greatest singer in history!” From that point on, we never missed a live Whitney televised performance. She immediately gained her number one fans!!! That same year, Houston’s debut album became the best-selling album by a female act. The album was also named Rolling Stone’s best album of 1986, and she was ranked on the list of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time. She also won her first Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance for Saving All My Love. Whitney Houston, the album went on to sell 25 million copies worldwide. Her vocals were golden; platinum; diamond even! By the time the second album, Whitney came out in 1987, I had an enormous crush on her; nobody could say anything bad about her to me. But… Nobody had anything bad to say about her either. She had already become America’s Sweetheart. But I digress!
With the release of the album Whitney, she became the first female artist to chart four number one singles from one album. The album went on to sell 20 million copies worldwide, earning her a second Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”, two American Music Awards and a Soul Train Music Award. After the Moment of Truth Tour during 1986-1987, Whitney was listed as #8 of the highest earning entertainers by Forbes Magazine, and the highest earning African-American woman overall and # 3 as the highest earning African-American entertainer after Bill Cosby and Eddie Murphy. With this album, Whitney became the first female artist in music history to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200; #1 in the US and the UK; and, #1 or top ten in a dozen other countries around the world.
Before she graced us with her butter tones, Whitney Houston was discovered as a model. She became one of the first African-American women to grace the cover of Seventeen. Whitney also appeared in Cosmopolitan, Glamour and Young Miss magazines. Just a little extra tidbit about our newly winged-angel: Whitney Elizabeth Houston.
As Whitney said at the 2001 BET Awards, “That’s mine. Let me handle this; betta chill! Youuu Betttaaa Lay Lowww…”
As Whitney’s career began to soar, so did my love & admiration. She was not just America’s Sweetheart, she was mine too! However, the difference with me is that I realized that she was still a human being and was susceptible to making mistakes in this lifetime. Especially with the insurmountable amounts of pressure put on her by the record label execs, fans, stylists, publicists, journalists, bloggers, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Even she admitted to being her own worse critic. But… Aren’t we all?! And I accepted her for that until the day she died!
“The fact of the matter is: Nobody has ever made me feel the way that Whitney Houston did when she sang; when she appeared in her luxurious gowns; when she spoke so eloquently; when she held that last note; took a break, then hit one more powerful than the one you thought was the last note! She was such a classy lady. I loved that about her.” Cutty
Where was I when I found out Whitney Houston had passed away?
“When I heard the news of Whitney’s untimely passing, I was doing media coverage for the Epilepsy Foundation of Georgia Taste of Love Gala. It was about 8:00 pm on Saturday, February 11, 2012. I received a text from a friend. So many rumors about celebrities dying circulates, that I just refused to believe that it was true. Once I researched further and confirmed that it was indeed the truth, I immediately broke down. Yes, inside of the event with people in black-tie wondering what was wrong with me. Even the publicist on site tried to comfort me. I could not compose myself. Not Whitney; it couldn’t be. But it could be and it was! I guess for a moment, I forgot we don’t live forever. No matter who you are; no matter how much money you have; no matter the fame; how many countries you have travelled. We have to go!”
Whitney showed her producing chops with her third studio album, I’m Your Baby Tonight. This album was considered her ‘most urban’ recording. The first two singles: I’m Your Baby Tonight & All The Man I Need peaked at number one on Billboard Hot 100 Chart. This album was her least selling to date; selling 12 million copies worldwide.
Whitney made music history once again on January 27, 1991 as she performed “The Star Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl XXV in Tampa, Florida. Because her performance was truly spectacular, the single and video of her performance were released commercially. She remains the only act in history to turn the national anthem into a pop hit reaching the top 20 on the US Hot 100 chart. Her performance was ranked #1 on the 25 most memorable music moments in NFL history. VH1 also listed the performance as one of the greatest moments that rocked television. According to archives, Whitney Houston donated all of her share of the proceeds to the American Red Cross Gulf Crisis Fund. Thus, being named to the Red Cross Board of Governors.
Later that same year, Whitney teamed up with HBO for her Welcome Home Heroes concert. The production aired live on HBO and was a free concert for the soldiers fighting in the Persian Gulf War and their families. WHH gave HBO the highest ratings that its ever achieved.
THE YEAR OF THE BODYGUARD (THE MOVIE ERA) – 1992-1996
“It was the burden that made her great, and the part that caused her to stumble in the end. Whitney, if you could hear me now, I would tell you, you weren’t just good enough, you were great. You sang the whole damn song without a band. You made the picture what it was. A lot of leading men could have played my part, a lot of guys could have filled that role. But you Whitney, I truly believe, were the only one who could have played Rachel Marron at that time. You weren’t just pretty. You were as beautiful as a woman could be. And people just didn’t like you, Whitney. They loved you.”
Kevin Costner at Whitney Houston’s Funeral
Whitney Houston’s acting career took full bloom with her first blockbuster film, The Bodyguard in 1992. I personally think she did a fantastic job. She received a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Actress after doing the movie. But oh contraire mon frère, it was huge at the box office, grossing $410 million worldwide. Méfiez-vous haïssent (Haters Beware)!!!
The Bodyguard soundtrack equally enjoyed success. Whitney Houston executive produced and provided six songs for the CD. The lead single, I Will Always Love You was originally written by Dolly Parton in 1974. Whitney took that song and made it her own. Thus, making her version of the song a record-breaking machine. The album was the biggest-selling album by a female act on the list of the world’s top 10 best-selling albums, selling over 44 million copies worldwide.
In 1994, Whitney won 3 Grammys for The Bodyguard Soundtrack. That same year, she also brought home a slew of other awards including: 8 American Music Awards, 11 Billboard Awards, 3 Soul Train Awards, 5 NAACP Awards, 5 World Music Awards and 1 BRIT Award. The single, “I Will Always Love You” became the best-selling single by a female artist in music history.
In 1995, Whitney starred in the film, Waiting to Exhale alongside an all-star cast. The movie opened at number one and grossed $81 million worldwide. The soundtrack for the movie, Waiting to Exhale: Original Soundtrack Album was produced by Whitney Houston and Babyface. A very eclectic album; it went on to sell 7 million copies in the U.S.
In 1996, Houston starred in the Preacher’s Wife with Denzel Washington. She earned a fee of $10 million for the role. This payday made her one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood, and THE highest earning African-American actress in Hollywood. The film went on to gross $50 million at the U.S. box offices.
Whitney Houston co-produced the Preacher’s Wife: Original Soundtrack Album with Mervyn Warren. It included six gospel songs with the Georgia Mass Choir. The album went on to sell 6 million copies worldwide, making it the largest selling gospel album of all time. The Times said, “to hear Houston going at full throttle with the 35 piece Georgia Mass Choir struggling to keep up is to realize what her phenomenal voice was made for.”
MY LOVE IS YOUR LOVE (BACK TO THE MUSIC ERA) – 1998 – 2012
After a 8-year hiatus on studio albums, Whitney Houston released My Love Is Your Love in November 1998. The album was amazingly recorded and mix in only six weeks. She won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for When You Believe featuring Mariah Carey. Houston won her 6th Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for the song, It’s Not Right But It’s Okay. The album went on to sell 11 million copies worldwide.
The year 1999 was also a great year for our beloved Whitney Houston. In November of that year, she was named the top selling R&B Female Artist of the Century with certified sales in the U.S. of 51 million copies. The Bodyguard Soundtrack was named the top selling soundtrack of the century by RIAA. She also received the Artist of the Decade Award and a MTV Europe Award for Best Female R&B.
To bring in the 2000’s (well in May); Whit released her greatest hits album: Whitney Houston: The Greatest Hits (the double disc CD). The Greatest Hits album went on to sell 10 million copies worldwide.
In August 2001, she made history once again by signing the biggest record deal in music history. Whitney Houston renewed her contract with Arista/BMG for $100 million. The contract called for Houston to release six albums, in which she would definitely earn royalties from.
Her fifth album, Just Whitney was released in 2003. It marked the first time that she didn’t work with Clive Davis. The album was a bit more urban than any of her other projects. It included productions from: Bobby Brown, Missy Elliott and Babyface, to name a few. This album only sold 3 million copies worldwide. But that was still a major accomplishment according to “regular artist” standards. She took a break from recording in 2004 and toured Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Russia.
Whitney released her final album, I Look To You in August of 2009. It was labeled by the media as “The Comeback Album”. The album entered the Billboard 200 at #1. She won a NAACP Award for Best Music Video for her single, I Look To You in 2010. I Look To You went on to sell over 10 million copies worldwide and counting.
With a road seemingly paved in Gold, nobody realized that Whitney’s days on Earth were coming to an end.
In 2011, Whitney Houston signed on to produce and star in the 1976 remake of “Sparkle” with Jordin Sparks and Mike Epps. Houston obtained the production rights in 2001 when superstar singer/actress, Aaliyah was to play the lead role. Aaliyah’s death derailed production. Production continued in 2011, with Jordin Sparks playing the lead role in the film. Whitney will receive Executive Production credits for the remake to be released in August 2012. At the time of her death, Whitney Houston was preparing for the release of the film, as well as working on new music.
Whitney Houston was found unresponsive on February 11, 2012 in the Los Angeles Beverly Hilton Hotel. She was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. PST.
Whitney Houston was considered the most awarded female entertainer of all time. She was inducted into the Guinness World Records for that reason. She was also 3rd on the list of 22 Greatest Voices by MTV. She has won 2 Emmy Awards; 6 Grammy Awards; 30 Billboard Awards; 22 American Music Awards, for a grand total of over 415 Awards Worldwide.
Whitney has sold over 200 million albums worldwide, making her one of the best-selling artists of all time. She also held an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from Grambling State University in Louisiana.
No matter what anybody says about Whitney Elizabeth Houston, she lived to fulfill her dreams plus some. She was angelic enough to use her talents to make the world smile, and ambitious enough to kick down doors for both herself, as well as her peers in the music industry. She will truly be missed.
Whitney Houston: I Will Always Love You.
A SONG FOR YOU LIVE… WHITNEY HOUSTON “WELCOME HOME HEROES” 1991