“There’ll be the ups, there’ll be the downs, there’ll be the all-arounds,” said Whitney Houston three months ago in her last one-on-one interview with Shaun Roberts of Access Hollywood. “I’ve got a lot of saints out there who pray for me constantly.”
Now mourning the singer’s passing on Saturday, Feb. 11, in Los Angeles, those saints are all praying to her now.
New York City went from Super Bowl-Giants-win happy to Whitney-Houston’s-gone devastated in just one week
Reports say Houston was found submerged in her bathtub at the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel as she prepared for a pre-Grammys party.
The cause of death has not been made public while authorities await toxicology reports. The media has gone berserk, however, bringing up Houston’s reported drug use history.
“A daughter lost a mother and a mother lost a daughter,” said Robin Roberts, WABC news anchor, on Monday morning, referencing Houston’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, and her mother, Cissy Houston.
Concerned family members and friends are keeping a close eye on Bobbi Kristina, the daughter of Houston and Bobby Brown, who was hospitalized twice for anxiety after learning of her mother’s death. The same concern is being expressed for Bobby Brown, who apparently has been banned from Houston’s Newark, N.J., funeral this weekend. His continuing sobriety is seen as a cause for concern, especially with this new shock.
An impromptu celebration on Harlem’s 125th Street on Monday had hundreds of folks dancing in the street as Kiss FM DJs such as Lenny Green, Mike Shannon and Dr. Dre paid tribute to Houston.
“She was like my sister. I loved her. I grew up with her music,” said Janice, an onlooker, as she danced up a storm with 2 two-year-old grandniece.
James had a little Rico Suave swerve going on as he danced just outside the Soul Train line. “I loved Whitney,” he told the AmNews. “I, too, used to take drugs, but March will make me 12 years clean. I just wish the people around her had helped her more. It doesn’t take much.”
Osasere told the AmNews, “Whitney was in L.A. to go to a party-how did they go ahead and have the party when she had just died? Who does that?”
As he planned a week of shows paying tribute to Houston, Green told the AmNews that Houston had ultimately stayed true to her gospel roots.
“Her music and her sound reflected her upbringing in the church; in every song she is recognizing that,” he said. “She will truly be missed, but thank God we have her legacy. She just reminds me of a soul that showed what R&B is all about.”
Green continued, “The general media always wants to bring out the negative aspects rather than the positive aspects, but I think we should celebrate her life, celebrate how wonderful she was as a mom, her spirituality and the reach she had and what she tried to share, like when she went to Africa.
“She always sought to get her relationship better with God. Let’s not dwell on how she died, but the talent that was a gift she was given and the gift she gave us,” he concluded.
“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.”