On Thursday, NewsOne remembers the superstar with the mellifluous voice, Whitney Houston, on what would have been her 49th birthday. And now that Whitney has gone to glory, here we share the special moments that punctuated the career of a legend. We love you, Whitney, and you will always be in our hearts!
1) Whitney’s talent came from a long line of singers: Whitney’s mom is gospel singer Cissy Houston, her cousins are singing icon Dionne Warwick and soul singer Dee Dee Warwick, her godmother is ’60s pop star Darlene Love, and the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklinis her honorary auntie.
Whitney’s singing career was not by chance, it was predestined and charted. By age 11, Whitney began performing as a soloist in the junior gospel choir at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, and after hearing her sing, there was no turning back, Whitney was bound for singing greatness!
2) By age 17, Whitney’s talent was apparent but so was her beauty. She began modeling in the early 1980s, after she was spotted by a photographer who saw her perform with her mom at Carnegie Hall in New York. She was one of the first African-American models to appear on the cover of Seventeen Magazine. Whitney’s girl-next-door appeal also won her modeling assignments with such respected magazine titles as Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Young Miss.
3) By the time 1983 rolled around, Whitney was more than ready for the BIG TIME! Record industry titan Clive Davis (pictured above) saw Whitney performing with mom Cissy at a New York City nightclub. Davis was so blown away by Whitney’s vocals, that he offered her a worldwide recording contract, which she could not refuse. Whitney and Davis would form a loving bond that time could never separate.
4) In February 1985, Whitney’s debut album, “Whitney Houston,” hit the record charts and her life would never be the same. Houston was the top artist of the year and “Whitney Houston” was the No. 1 album of the year on the 1986 Billboard year-end charts, making her the first female artist to earn that distinction. The album had without a doubt become an international success, and was certified platinum (diamond) 13 times in the United States alone.
It has sold a total of 25-million copies worldwide.
Watch “Saving All My Love for You” here:
5) Grammy time! At the 1986 Grammy Awards, Whitney was nominated for three awards, including “Album of the Year.” She won her first Grammy Award for “Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female” for the monster single “Saving All My Love for You.” Houston’s performance of the song during the Grammy telecast later earned her an Emmy Award, and she won seven American Music Awards in total in 1986 and 1987 and an MTV Video Music Award. The album’s popularity would also carry over to the Grammy Awards that were held the following year, when another of the debut album’s cut, “Greatest Love of All,” would receive a “Record of the Year” nomination. Houston’s debut album is listed as one of Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” and is on “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Definitive 200 list.”
6) A humanitarian who loved children, the mega-star with a big heart formed the Whitney Houston Foundation for Children, a non-profit organization that has raised funds for the needs of children around the world, in 1989. Whitney’s tireless efforts were recognized by organizations, such as as St. Jude Children’s Hospital, the United Negro College Fund, and the Children’s Diabetes Foundation.
Above, Whitney is pictured with the brothers of Eta Pi of Montclair, N.J., who participated in her annual foundation drive that provided Christmas toys and presents for homeless children and others in need. (Also in the photo is actress Keisha Knight Pulliam, who is immediately on Whitney’s left.)
7) Whitney loved this country and it was oh-so-evident, when in 1991, she gave a moving and memorable rendition of the “The Star Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl XXVat the Tampa Stadium in Florida. Whitney’s performance was such an overwhelming success that it was released as a commercial single and video and reached the Top 20 on the “U.S. Hot 100,” making her the only act to turn the national anthem into a pop-hit sensation.
Watch Whitney sing “The Star Spangled Banner” here:
8) With Whitney’s star power, Hollywood naturally came calling. The beauty had offers from some of Tinsel Town’s greatest, but she waited until a juicy role fell in her lap. In 1992, Whitney’s first film role, “The Bodyguard,” co-starring Kevin Costner (pictured left), was just what she had been waiting for all along. Whitney played a star who was stalked by a crazed fan. She hires a bodyguard (Costner), and eventually, the two fall in love. Whitney had such major screen appeal that viewers of the movie were rendered colorblind. She also went on to do other notable films, such as “The Preacher’s Wife” and “Waiting to Exhale.”
Watch “The Bodyguard” monster hit “I Will Always Love You” here:
9) Call him what you may, but Whitney loved her some Bobby Brown. She met the then-R&B chart-topper at the 1989 Soul Train Awards. The pair dated for three years and then tied the knot on July 18, 1992 (pictured above). The couple would go on to laugh, love, and co-star on reality TV show “Being Bobby Brown”and then battle fiercely until their divorce was finalized on April 24, 2007.
10) What Whitney loved most in this world was her baby girl Bobby Kris, who was born on March 4, 1993. The baby was Whitney’s only child and Brown’s fourth. No matter what trials and tribulations she went through, one thing was for sure, Whitney’s love for her daughter was immeasurable.
11) In August 2001, Houston signed the biggest record deal in music history with Arista/BMG. She renewed her contract for $100 million to deliver six new albums, on which she would also earn royalties.
12) In September of last year, it was reported that Whitney would be making her screen comeback, playing the mother of actress Jordin Sparks in the remake of the 1976 film “Sparkle.” The film has a much-anticipated release date of August 17, and the movie, which was dedicated to her memory, was Whitney’s last major body of work before she passed away in February of this year.
Watch Whitney in “Sparkle” here:
13) Whitney, who had a spiritual foundation that was unshaken, loved the Lord and worshipped him throughout her life. We should all be comforted in the fact that Whitney is at peace, in his glory, and smiling down upon all of her adoring fans.