Tag: Whitney Houston
On Saturday, Oct. 8, I had the pleasure of attending the 2011 Teen Summit in Shelby, N.C. The Teen Summit is an annual event founded by Pat Houston with the purpose of helping “rebuild, restore and repair” the youth. I attended the powerful and much needed summit last year, but this year there was a special guest, the iconic and legendary Whitney Houston.
I had the opportunity to interview Houston briefly regarding her parenting style and the importance of being and having a mentor. I work in radio and was prepared to record the audio, but Houston and her team were uneasy about it and understandably so. Instead, I suggested doing it old-school with a paper and pen and all systems were a go.
On how proud she is of sister-in-law Pat Houston for the wonderful work she is doing for the teens:
“My brother was smart for choosing her. I know her as a woman of God, a mother, sister, a wife.” Whitney also went on to explain how she had an instant connection with Pat and expressed how much she loves her and supports her in all of her endeavors.
On encouraging the youth if they go astray:
“I believe that young people will make mistakes and when they do, don’t turn them away. We don’t want them to go to others because you don’t know what they might get from someone else.”
On proactively parenting:
“Keep an open eye. Let them know they can always come home. Keep telling them about the dangers. Love can cover a multitude of sins.”
When asked about those who may not have anyone to look up to:
“The FATHER I know didn’t leave me and will send you a mentor.”
She also went on to say that you are never too old to have a mentor and that if you need one, God will send one in your direction. She also elaborated that Kim Burrell was a God-sent mentor to her.
I told Houston that I see certain traits in Bobbi Kris that I also see in her including her zest for life, no nonsense attitude and spiritual nature. She smiled in agreement and insisted that she made sure to instill in her daughter “compassion, church, faith and hope.”
Houston also discussed adopting a son, Nicholas, over five years ago and the struggles of single parenthood. She also stressed the importance of parents being parents to their kids and not just their friend. She believes that you must set firm boundaries and enforce them.
That was all the time that we had. It was short and sweet, but I do not think this is the last I have seen of Houston. We will meet again. What a privilege to have met and interviewed someone I hold in such high regard. It was one of the crowning achievements in my life.
Interview wrap up and overall thoughts of Whitney Houston:
I have to say that Houston was very gracious, polite, humble and down to earth. She didn’t need a big fuss to be made about her. Her demeanor was quiet and unassuming, but her presence was strongly felt. She is very beautiful and her spirit is uplifting to be around. Anyone who is a fan of Whitney Houston knows that she is not a fan of interviews, but for her to say to me, “I don’t want to disappoint you,” while figuring out another way to conduct the interview instead of rejecting me altogether was very thoughtful.
– Other Whitney tidbits–
- I told her that her fans are loyal and love and pray for her. I also told her to never feel like people don’t care; she then looked at me, smiled and said, “Oh, I don’t feel that way at all, I know.”
- She is working on Sparkle, a movie loosely based on the story of the Supremes. She left the set in Detroit to come and had to return later that day.
Watch the video of Pat and Whitney Houston presenting Kim Burrell with the Ambassadors Award for her continued work with the Teen Summit.
Below is the extended audio of the above clip where Whitney and Pat introduce Kim Burrell. This also features Kim’s speech and a live performance. Excellent quality.
Special thanks to Nippy Inc., Lynne, Ulysses and Pat Houston
Check back for Part Two of the Teen Summit wrap up, which will summarize the event as a whole and also feature an exclusive interview with Quinton Aaron of The Blind Side. In case you missed my exclusive photos, click here.
On January 16, I had the esteemed privilege of attending the third annual BET Honors in Washington, D.C. BET Honors is a prestigious awards show paying tribute to the outstanding achievements of certain individuals within the African American community. This year’s five honorees included Queen Latifah for her multi-dimensional career in various forms of media,world-renowned neurosurgeon, Dr. Keith L. Black MD for his devotion to public service, Sean “P.Diddy” Combs for his achievements as a successful entrepreneur, Dr. Ruth J. Simmons for breaking down barriers in education and lastly, Whitney Houston, for her record setting achievements in entertainment.
The first to be honored was the rapper turned actress and singer, Queen Latifah, who was presented her award by Academy Award nominated actress Taraji P. Henson . Queen Latifah was first paid a musical tribute by R&B songstress Jazmine Sullivan, who opened with “Unforgettable”, then segued into a stirring rendition of “Rock Steady”. Jazmine was immediately followed by the legendary Patti Labelle, who brought down the house with her classic,”If You Only Knew”. As Queen Latifah took to the stage and gave a motivational acceptance speech, she recalled memories of her brother who passed away in an accident and spoke of how hard work, dedication and faith were key in her success.
Dr.Keith L. Black MD was the next recipient honored by comedian Chris Tucker. Dr. Black’s musical tribute was performed by none other than the legendary Stevie Wonder and gospel group, Take 6. Together they sang an acapella version of “ Can’t Imagine Life Without You,” a gem from Wonder’s latest release A Time To Love. During Dr. Black’ s thought provoking acceptance speech, he took the time to discuss the importance of education and how its accessibility should not be taken for granted.
Next, to be honored was Sean “P.Diddy” combs, who’s record label, clothing line, fragrances and television shows, among other endeavors have made him one of the most successful business men in the recording industry. Combs musical tribute was performed by protege Mary J.Blige, who credits Combs for believing in her and helping jump start her career. After a brief speech, Blige sang her latest single “ I Am,” and then launched into some of her biggest hits produced by Combs, including “Love No Limit”,” I Love You” and “Be Happy.
Blige rocked the house and had the crowd on their feet during her soulful and energetic performance. During Combs acceptance speech, he thanked his mother showing him what it meant to have a strong work ethic and stressed the importance of setting and achieving your goals.
This year’s education honoree, Dr. Ruth J. Simmons is the first black president of an Ivy League university, who overcame a number of hardships to make history and inspire many. Victoria Rowell, star of The Young and the Restless had the privilege of presenting Dr. Simmons with her award after a musical performance Grammy Award winning songstress, India Arie. Arie, accompanied by pianist Eric Lewis sang a heartfelt “Beautiful Flower” and “Someday We’ll All Be Free.” Dr. Simmons gave a moving speech and expressed the importance of not letting obstacles stand in your way and how we should all strive to reach our fullest potential.
Last and most certainly not least to be honored was the legendary and iconic Whitney Houston, for her achievements in entertainment. With over 170 million albums, the most awarded female of all time was presented her award by R&B sensation Ne-Yo and honored by gospel artist Kim Burrell and Academy Award winning diva, Jennifer Hudson.
First, Burrell in a surprise appearance serenaded Houston with “I Believe In You and Me”. What made the performance the night’s best was not just sheer brilliance of Burrell’s voice, but the heartfelt emotion and sincerity behind it, as Burrell personalized the song and sang it directly to Houston. Houston was visibly emotional as she cried and stood the entire performance.
Never one to be outdone, Jennifer Hudson, had the daunting task of both following Burrell and also singing one of Houston’s biggest and most vocally challenging hits, “I Will Always Love You”. Naturally, Hudson rose to the occasion and was given a much deserved standing ovation midway through the performance. Houston mentioned during her brief, yet poignant speech, how it felt good to stand and not be judged and expressed how we should learn to support one other, not only in our triumphs, but in our failures as well.
Overall, attending the BET Honors was an amazing experience, full of funny moments, wonderful performances and inspiring acceptance speeches. Each of the five honorees is more than deserving of the recognition they received, in an evening which truly exemplified what extraordinary looks like.
Extra behind the scenes tidbits about the show
-Maxwell gave 2 rousing performances of “Fistful Of Tears” and “Bad Habits”.
-Newcomer Ryan Leslie performed new single, “I Choose You,” which left much to be desired.
-Whitney accidentally forgot to thank Jennifer Hudson in her speech, but thanked her immediately after backstage.
-After re-shooting Stevie Wonder’s performance with Take 6, he joked “Sorry, I wasn’t looking at the camera.”
-Trey Songz tried to get Stevie Wonder to sing the lyrics to his raunchy single “Invented Sex,” but an adamant Stevie would only hum the melody. Both along with India Arie also paid tribute to the late R&B legend Teddy Pendergrass with “Wake Up Everybody.”
-Whitney was showed the most support from the audience throughout the night and took to the stage with thunderous applause.
-Every presenter and honoree mentioned Haiti and encouraged everyone to help with relief efforts.
-Host Gabrielle Union has great comedic timing and changed outfits and hair every break.
BET Honors, hosted by actress Gabrielle Union airs TONIGHT from 9 to11 p.m. EST.
Follow me on twitter where I’ll be live tweeting about the show tonight.
Whitney “The Voice” Houston delivers with new album
When Whitney Houston first burst onto the scene in the mid 80s, she was the pinnacle of musical perfection. Modelesque looks, catchy songs, style, poise, undeniable stage presence and most importantly, a voice with limitless potential. Success surely followed, as Houston eventually sold more than 170 million albums, broke #1 records set by the Beatles and Elvis, earned more than $500 million worldwide at the Box Office, influenced a generation of singers and became the most awarded female artist of all time.
In the seven years since Houston’s last album Just Whitney, the musical landscape has changed a great deal. Record sales are at an all time low, the digital era has become even more dominant and vocal talent is no longer required to have a hit record, auto-tune and nakedness are. Just as the record industry has changed, Houston’s personal life has not gone without its share of transformations as there was the end of a tumultuous marriage to bad-boy Bobby Brown and stints in rehab.
With the release of Houston’s long-awaited “comeback” album, I Look To You, critics and fans alike have asked the question, “is there room for Whitney Houston in this new age?” The answer is quite simply, yes.
I Look To You begins with the catchy first single “Million Dollar Bill,” produced and written by Alicia Keys and Swizz Beats. ”Million Dollar Bill” is an up-tempo, bass driven track, with a retro-disco vibe and is one of the albums best.
Next is the Danja produced, up-tempo, synth-driven “Nothing But Love.” Houston shares how she has nothing but love for those who have hurt her in the past, while accepting responsibility for her own actions. Other up-tempos include the club worthy Euro-pop “For the Lovers” and the Leon Russell penned classic, made famous by Donny Hathaway, “A Song For You” which starts out as a piano-driven ballad, but soon turns into an electronic techno-smash.
With I Look To You, Houston sings some of the best mid-tempos of her career including the R.Kelly written, Tricky Stewart produced, “Salute,” “Worth It” and the Johnta Austin penned Stargate produced “Call You Tonight.” “Salute” is the ultimate brush-off anthem done with class, while “Worth It” is the perfect love song reminiscent of Mary J. Blige’s “Be Without You”. The Stargate produced, contemporary “Call You Tonight” has Houston singing to a potential love interest that she doesn’t have to time connect with. Any of the aforementioned would be viable singles.
Houston, known for her ability to interpret songs, rather than writing, pens two of the albums island-influenced mid-tempo’s, along with R&B singer Akon. The duet “Like I Never Left”, sounds as though it could be directed to the a past lover or the to public in a plea to love her like she never went away. With “I Got You”, Houston talks of love and loyalty and how neither distance nor time can separate loved ones.
Houston is a self-described “balladeer’, so naturally an album from the legendary Icon wouldn’t be complete without a couple of power ballads. With both “I Look To You” and “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength,” Whitney comes from a spiritual place, sharing that when she was lost, it was her faith that brought her through.
Houston covers all bases with an album that will make you want to dance, cry, make love, feel inspired and everything in between. Vocally, the highs may not be as high and the lows are lower, but Houston still delivers and is able to convey each song with the feeling, power and emotion as only she can. If you are expecting “The Bodyguard” era vocals, you will be disappointed. Whitney’s voice has undergone its share of changes, but is still better than the majority of who you’ll hear on the radio.
Houston and ”industry father” executive producer, Clive Davis have managed to blend experience with relevance, in keeping with tradition of the classic Whitney we know and love, while remaining fresh and current. Overall, I Look To You is the perfect blend of ballads, mid-tempos and up-tempos from arguably the greatest female vocalist of all time. Welcome back, Whitney.
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