My daughter came home from high school yesterday and shared with me inquiries she had endured from her peers and teachers about the upcoming TV movie about her aunt Whitney. She was somewhat exasperated and said she did not get it – that a woman who claimed to be her aunt's friend would direct a movie that seems so unloving towards her Aunt, and how it could affect her cousin Krissi. I share with you the thoughts I shared with my daughter yesterday – that there is often a fine line that separates elevation and degradation in the industry. What lifts up one person in the headlines may in fact destroy another. I don't think it ever entered their minds that they were assaulting the legacy of another individual; they just want the job or the opportunity to shine. But to do so in such an incredible way, to go after someone who cannot correct what you get wrong, someone who – like so many people, and especially women – struggled to hold up their humanity and live with dignity despite their personal challenges, is wrong.
It is easy to turn a blind eye to other people if you're not careful. But the needs of Whitney's family matter. We have dealt with her every emotion from the day she was born until the day she died, which gives us absolute position and absolute authority as a family to feel the way we do about her legacy. We matter. We're still here. Why wasn't there a call to myself, Gary, Cissy or even her daughter? Why deny selected members of the family an advanced copy of the film? As we once again enter a season of bereavement and the strategic timing so close to the anniversary of Whitney's death, this is a disappointment that any of us who loved her could do without. This creative pursuit at the expense of the integrity of such an iconic woman, who is voiceless today, reeks of condemnation and deceit. It reeks of enslavement to an industry that will likely do the same to you one day. As my grandmother used to say, “Keep living.”
I say this to all Whitney's family, friends and fan base: If you watch this movie, watch it knowing that Lifetime is notorious for making bad biopics of deceased celebrities and brace yourself for the worst. You should not be surprised that someone decided to do a made for TV biopic. And, I might add, without the family's blessing and despite her mother's request to not do this movie. It happens every day. But misrepresenting the term friendship to advance an agenda is not only disrespectful and dishonest but a slap in the face to her true and loyal friends. You should expect people will always rise to the occasion for prominence and profit – not love, respect or honor. I question the morality of the making of this because of the lack of experience knowing Whitney's life. Never would Whitney allow her story to be told by an inexperienced team and how naive of anyone to think otherwise, unless you're caught up in illusions of grandeur that you can just do anything and people will accept it. This made for TV movie is certainly not a trailer to Whitney's life story.
God gave us a gift in Whitney and she gave us her best, despite what stories are told. We will wear a breastplate of armor for Whitney and that's what friends are for. In the spirit of Whitney's "I Go To The Rock”: “On Christ the solid rock I stand.. all other ground is sinking sand." Let's just be peaceful in all of this.
Truth is violated by silence just as much as by a lie.
Whitney and legendary gospel singer Shirley Caesar performing at the exclusive premiere party for "The Preacher's Wife" in New York City - 1996.
2010 - Whitney on the red carpet at Alicia Keys' annual Black Ball charity event in New York City. Whitney and Alicia became friends after working together on Whitney's 'I Look To You' album.
Here is Whitney performing at her CLASSIC WHITNEY Special which filmed in Washington, D.C., on October 5 and October 7, 1997 at Constitution Hall. The show aired on HBO in the U.S.
Whitney, Denzel Washington and 'Preacher's Wife' director Penny Marshall on the set in early 1996 (the film was released in December '96). Filming took place in and around Newark and Paterson, New Jersey and at Chelsea Piers in New York City (and also a bit in Tarrytown, NY).
The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music, Original Comedy or Musical score and received five NAACP Image Award nominations including one for Best Actress for Whitney. The soundtrack is the best selling gospel album of all time.
Whitney and Clive Davis during a TV interview in 2004 to promote Clive being honored at the World Music Awards that year.
Whitney was a regular performer at Clive Davis' legendary pre-Grammy party. Here she is in 2009 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, California entertaining the crowd.
Here is an outtake from the photo shoot Whitney did for the 'I Look To You' album. The photo session took place in New York City and the photographer was Patrick Demarchelier, a world famous fashion photographer.
Here we see Whitney goofing around during the shoot.
Whitney at rehearsals in Florida for the "I'm Your Baby Tonight" tour.
Whitney Houston’s first-ever live album Whitney Houston Live: Her Greatest Performances makes impressive debuts at #1 on Billboard R&B chart, #2 on R&B/Hip Hop Chart and #17 on the Top 200
“Fans revere Whitney Houston’s studio recordings, but she scaled her greatest vocal peaks in live performance. If you never got to see her in concert, you ain’t heard nothin’ yet. It’s Whitney Houston as you’ve never heard her before. Five stars!”-NY DAILY NEWS
New York, NY – November 19, 2014 –Whitney Houston Live: Her Greatest Performances, the six-time Grammy-award winning singer’s first-ever live album, has made impressive Billboard chart debuts today, entering at #1 on the Billboard R&B chart, #2 on the R&B/Hip Hop chart and #17 on the Top 200, following its release Nov. 10 release on Sony Legacy Recordings. Available as a DVD and CD, the package features Houston’s most memorable live performances from her storied career, reinforcing her as one of the greatest vocalists of all time. Both the audio and visual content have undergone state of the art restoration and remastering and the package has earned glowing media acclaim as well. USA TODAY called Houston “…The greatest pop-soul singer of her generation" and the LA TIMES said “…an exceptionally expressive song interpreter and a magnetic personality in concert.” NEWSDAY stated that "Whitney Houston Live: Her Greatest Performances is the legendary performer at her best, singing live” and BET praised, “Whitney Houston was not only one of the greatest singers of all time, she was a legendary performer as well."
Few voices in modern musical history are as loved as the late Whitney Houston's. Yahoo Music is pleased to debut the video for "I'm Every Woman" live from "The Concert for a New South Africa," a trio of concerts recorded in South Africa in November 1994 following the election of Nelson Mandela to the country’s presidency. Houston became the first international musician to perform in South Africa after the end of apartheid.
On November 10, this amazing talent will be celebrated with the collection Whitney Houston Live: Her Greatest Performances, the first-ever live collection of Whitney’s greatest performances compiled on CD & DVD.