Tongues are wagging that Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade slayed on the red carpet at a Night on the Runwade ...
"We called her Nippy because she was such a tomboy when she was younger," said Sparkie Martin, promoter and friend of the Houston family who spoke with the AmNews.
"Whitney Houston was a child of god, with all the tools and finesse of a superstar," Martin said. "We first saw her with her mom, Cissy Houston, at Sweetwater's, where she sang in the presence of Clive Davis and Gerry Griffith. She had a close-cropped Afro and [was on] a Seventeen magazine cover.
"Eugene Harvey, who was later to become her manger with Seymour Flick, both knew-as I knew-she was going to be a superstar. Svengali Clive Davis waved his magic wand and made her the superstar in recording she had become."
Martin waxed lyrical about the down-to-earth, around-the-way girl whose talent, glamour and influence launched the style and stage presence of thousands of female singers worldwide.
"During her years of recording and touring, she became Whitney Houston," remembered Martin, who himself has worked with numerous musical geniuses, including the O'Jays, Bobby Womack, the Commodores and Lenny Kravitz.
"She became a household name to all America-every female singer wanted to be and sing like Nippy. She was also a tomboy who could box your ears and climb trees too...Whitney, we will miss you!" he concluded.
In a joint statement, uber music producers and songwriters Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff said, "Whitney Houston was an unbelievable talent and one of the greatest voices of all time. Her passing is a tremendous shock and a terrible shame. She had a rough life and was under so much pressure as an artist because she meant so much to the music community."
The duo of the legendary "Sound of Philadelphia" wrote and produced hits with the late Linda Creed, who wrote Houston's No. 1 smash, "The Greatest Love of All."