Whitney Elizabeth Houston
August 9, 1963
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
|Died||February 11, 2012 (aged 48)|
|Cause of death||Drowning due to coronary artery disease and cocaine intoxication|
|Education||Mount Saint Dominic Academy|
(m. 1992; div. 2007)
|Children||Bobbi Kristina Brown|
Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American singer and actress. She is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time, with sales of over 200 million records worldwide. Houston released seven studio albums and two soundtrack albums, all of which have been certified diamond, multi-platinum, platinum, or gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Her crossover appeal on the popular music charts as well as her prominence on MTV influenced several African-American female artists.
Houston began singing in church as a child and became a background vocalist while in high school. With the guidance of Arista Records chairman Clive Davis, she signed to the label at age 19. Her first two studio albums, Whitney Houston (1985) and Whitney (1987), both peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 and are among the best-selling albums of all time. She is the only artist to have seven consecutive number-one singles on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, from "Saving All My Love for You" in 1985 to "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" in 1988.
Houston's third studio album, I'm Your Baby Tonight (1990), yielded two Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles, "I'm Your Baby Tonight" and "All the Man That I Need", and was certified quintuple platinum by RIAA. Houston made her acting debut with the romantic thriller film The Bodyguard (1992). She recorded six songs for the film's soundtrack, including "I Will Always Love You", which won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and became the best-selling physical single by a female in music history. It won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year and remains the best-selling soundtrack album of all time. Houston starred and recorded soundtracks for two other high-profile films, Waiting to Exhale (1995) and The Preacher's Wife (1996), with the latter's soundtrack being the best-selling gospel album of all time.
Following the critical and commercial success of My Love Is Your Love (1998), Houston renewed her contract with Arista for $100 million. However, her personal struggles began overshadowing her career, and the album Just Whitney (2002) received mixed reviews. Her drug use and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown received widespread media coverage. After a six-year break from recording, Houston returned to the top of the Billboard 200 chart with her final studio album, I Look to You (2009). On February 11, 2012, Houston was found dead at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California. The coroner's report showed that she had accidentally drowned in the bathtub, with heart disease and cocaine use as contributing factors. News of her death coincided with the 2012 Grammy Awards and was featured prominently in international media. Houston was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020.
Life and career
1963–1984: Early life, family, and career beginnings
Whitney Elizabeth Houston was born on August 9, 1963, in what was then a middle-income neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey. She was the daughter of ex-Army serviceman and Newark city administrator John Russell Houston Jr. and gospel singer Emily "Cissy" (Drinkard) Houston. Her elder brother Michael is a songwriter, and her elder half-brother is former basketball player and singer Gary Garland. Her parents were both African-American. Through her mother, Houston was a first cousin of singers Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick. Her godmother was Darlene Love and her honorary aunt was Aretha Franklin, whom she met at age eight or nine when her mother took her to a recording studio. Houston was raised a Baptist, but was also exposed to the Pentecostal church. After the 1967 Newark riots, the family moved to a middle-class area in East Orange, New Jersey, when she was four. Her parents later divorced.
At age eleven, Houston began performing as a soloist in the junior gospel choir at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, where she also learned to play the piano. Her first solo performance in the church was "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah".
While Houston was still in school, her mother, Cissy, continued to teach her how to sing. Cissy was a member of the group The Sweet Inspirations which also opened for and sang backup for Elvis Presley. Houston spent some of her teens touring nightclubs where Cissy was performing, and she would occasionally get onstage and perform with her. Houston was also exposed to the music of Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, and Roberta Flack, most of whom would have an influence on her as a singer and performer. In 1977, aged 14, she became a backup singer on the Michael Zager Band's single "Life's a Party". In 1978, at 15, Houston sang background vocals for Chaka Khan and Lou Rawls.
Houston attended Mount Saint Dominic Academy, a Catholic girls' high school in Caldwell, New Jersey; she graduated in 1981. During her teens, Houston met Robyn Crawford, who she described as the "sister she never had". Crawford went on to become Houston's best friend, roommate, and executive assistant. After Houston rose to stardom, she and Crawford were rumored to be lovers, which they both denied in 1987. In 2019, several years after Houston's death, Crawford stated that their early relationship had included sexual activity, but that Houston ended this for fear of others' reactions.
In the early 1980s, Houston began working as a fashion model after a photographer saw her at Carnegie Hall singing with her mother. She became the first woman of color to appear on the cover of Seventeen and appeared in Glamour, Cosmopolitan and Young Miss, and appeared in a Canada Dry soft drink TV commercial. Her looks and girl-next-door charm made her one of the most sought-after teen models. In 1982, under the suggestion of longtime friend Valerie Simpson, Houston signed with Tara Productions and hired Daniel Gittleman, Seymour Flics, and Gene Harvey as her managers. With them, Houston continued her burgeoning recording career by working with producers Michael Beinhorn, Bill Laswell and Martin Bisi on an album they were spearheading called One Down, which was credited to the group Material. For that project, she contributed the ballad "Memories", a cover of a song by Hugh Hopper of Soft Machine. Robert Christgau of The Village Voice called her contribution "one of the most gorgeous ballads you've ever heard". She also appeared as a lead vocalist on one track on a Paul Jabara album, entitled Paul Jabara and Friends, released by Columbia Records in 1983.
In 1983, Gerry Griffith, an A&R representative from Arista Records, saw Houston performing with her mother in a New York nightclub. He convinced Arista's head Clive Davis to make time to see her perform. Davis was impressed and immediately offered a worldwide record deal, which Houston eventually signed after being alternatively sought after by another label. (Houston had been offered deals by recording agencies before—by Michael Zager in 1980, and by Elektra Records in 1981—but her mother declined them on the grounds that Whitney had yet to complete high school.) Later that year, Houston made her national television debut alongside Davis on The Merv Griffin Show. She performed "Home", a song from the musical The Wiz.
Houston did not begin work on an album immediately. The label wanted to make sure no other label signed her away, and Davis wanted to ensure he had the right material and producers for her debut album. Some producers passed on the project because of prior commitments. Houston first recorded a duet with Teddy Pendergrass, "Hold Me", which appeared on his gold album, Love Language. The single was released in 1984 and gave Houston her first taste of success, becoming a Top 5 R&B hit. It would also appear on her debut album in 1985.
1985–1986: Whitney Houston and rise to international prominence
With production from Michael Masser, Kashif, Jermaine Jackson, and Narada Michael Walden, Houston's debut album Whitney Houston was released in February 1985. Rolling Stone magazine praised Houston, calling her "one of the most exciting new voices in years" while The New York Times called the album "an impressive, musically conservative showcase for an exceptional vocal talent". Arista Records promoted Houston's album with three different singles from the album in the United States, the United Kingdom and other European countries. In the UK, the dance-funk "Someone for Me", which failed to chart, was the first single while "All at Once" was in such European countries as the Netherlands and Belgium, where the song reached the top five on the singles charts, respectively.
In the US, the soulful ballad "You Give Good Love" was chosen as the lead single from Houston's debut to establish her in the black marketplace. Outside the US, the song failed to get enough attention to become a hit, but in the US, it gave the album its first major hit as it peaked at No. 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and No. 1 on the Hot R&B chart. As a result, the album began to sell strongly, and Houston continued promotion by touring nightclubs in the US. She also began performing on late-night television talk shows, which were not usually accessible to unestablished black acts. The jazzy ballad "Saving All My Love for You" was released next and it would become Houston's first No. 1 single in both the US and the UK. She was then an opening act for singer Jeffrey Osborne on his nationwide tour. "Thinking About You" was released as the promo single only to R&B-oriented radio stations, which peaked at number ten on the US R&B Chart. At the time, MTV had received harsh criticism for not playing enough videos by black, Latino, and other racial minorities while favoring white acts. Houston claimed during an interview with MTV in 2001 that she and Arista had tried to send the video clip for "You Give Good Love" to the channel, though the channel rejected it because it did not fit their playlist but later were able to get the clip to "Saving All My Love for You" on the channel after the song became a huge crossover hit with Houston saying the channel "had no choice but to play [the video] and I love it when they have no choice." The third US single, "How Will I Know", peaked at No. 1, and the video introduced Houston to the MTV audience. Houston's subsequent singles from this and future albums would make her the first African-American woman to receive consistent heavy rotation on MTV.
By 1986, a year after its initial release, Whitney Houston topped the Billboard 200 albums chart and stayed there for 14 non-consecutive weeks. The final single, "Greatest Love of All" (a cover of "The Greatest Love of All", originally recorded by George Benson in 1977), became Houston's biggest hit yet; the single peaked at No. 1 and remained there for three weeks on the Hot 100 chart, making Houston's debut the first album by a woman to yield three No. 1 hits. Houston was No. 1 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 woman to earn that distinction. At the time, the album was the best-selling debut album by a solo artist. Houston then embarked on her world tour, Greatest Love Tour. The album had become an international success, was certified 13× platinum (diamond) in the United States alone, and has sold 22 million copies worldwide.
At the 1986 Grammy Awards, Houston was nominated for three awards, including Album of the Year. She was not eligible for the Best New Artist category because of her previous hit R&B duet recording with Teddy Pendergrass in 1984. She won her first Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for "Saving All My Love for You". Houston's performance of the song during the Grammy telecast later earned her an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program.
Houston 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 1987 Grammy Awards, when "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 on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Definitive 200 list. Houston's grand entrance into the music industry is considered one of the 25 musical milestones of the last 25 years, according to USA Today. Following Houston's breakthrough, doors were opened for other African-American women such as Janet Jackson and Anita Baker to find notable success in popular music and on MTV.
1987–1991: Whitney, I'm Your Baby Tonight, and "The Star-Spangled Banner"
Houston's second album, Whitney, was released in June 1987. The album again featured production from Masser, Kashif, and Walden as well as Jellybean Benitez. Many critics complained that the material was too similar to her previous album. Rolling Stone said, "the narrow channel through which this talent has been directed is frustrating". Still, the album enjoyed commercial success. Houston became the first woman in music history to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart, and the first artist to enter the albums chart at number one in both the US and UK, while also hitting number one or top ten in dozens of other countries around the world. The album's first single, "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)", was also a massive hit worldwide, peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and topping the singles chart in many countries such as Australia, Germany, and the UK. Her next three singles, "Didn't We Almost Have It All", "So Emotional", and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go", all peaked at number one on the US Hot 100 chart, giving Houston a record total of seven consecutive number one hits; the previous record of six consecutive number one hits had been shared by the Beatles and the Bee Gees. Houston became the first woman to generate four number-one singles from one album. Whitney has been certified Diamond in the US for shipments of over ten million copies and has sold a total of 20 million copies worldwide.
At the 30th Grammy Awards in 1988, Houston was nominated for three awards, including Album of the Year. She won her second Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)". Houston also won two American Music Awards in 1988 and 1989, respectively, and a Soul Train Music Award. Following the release of the album, Houston embarked on the Moment of Truth World Tour, which was one of the ten highest-grossing concert tours of 1987. The success of the tours during 1986–87 and her two studio albums ranked Houston No. 8 for the highest-earning entertainers list according to Forbes. She was the highest-earning African-American woman overall and the third highest entertainer after Bill Cosby and Eddie Murphy.
Houston was a supporter of Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement. During her modeling days, she refused to work with agencies who did business with the then-apartheid South Africa. On June 11, 1988, during the European leg of her tour, Houston joined other musicians to perform a set at Wembley Stadium in London to celebrate a then-imprisoned Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday. Over 72,000 people attended Wembley Stadium, and over a billion people tuned in worldwide as the rock concert raised over $1 million for charities while bringing awareness to apartheid. Houston then flew back to the US for a concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City in August. The show was a benefit concert that raised a quarter of a million dollars for the United Negro College Fund. In the same year, she recorded a song for NBC's coverage of the 1988 Summer Olympics, "One Moment in Time", which became a Top 5 hit in the US, while reaching number one in the UK and Germany. With her world tour continuing overseas, Houston was still one of the top 20 highest-earning entertainers for 1987–88 according to Forbes.
In 1989, Houston formed The Whitney Houston Foundation For Children, a nonprofit organization that has raised funds for the needs of children around the world. The organization cares for homelessness, children with cancer or AIDS, and other issues of self-empowerment.
With the success of her first two albums, Houston became an international crossover superstar, appealing to all demographics. However, some black critics believed she was "selling out". They felt her singing on record lacked the soul that was present during her live concerts. At the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards, when Houston's name was called out for a nomination, a few in the audience jeered. Houston defended herself against the criticism, stating, "If you're gonna have a long career, there's a certain way to do it, and I did it that way. I'm not ashamed of it."
Houston took a more urban direction with her third studio album, I'm Your Baby Tonight, released in November 1990. She produced and chose producers for this album and as a result, it featured production and collaborations with L.A. Reid and Babyface, Luther Vandross, and Stevie Wonder. The album showed Houston's versatility on a new batch of tough rhythmic grooves, soulful ballads and up-tempo dance tracks. Reviews were mixed. Rolling Stone felt it was her "best and most integrated album". while Entertainment Weekly, at the time thought Houston's shift towards an urban direction was "superficial".
I'm Your Baby Tonight contained several hits: the first two singles, "I'm Your Baby Tonight" and "All the Man That I Need" peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; "Miracle" peaked at number nine; "My Name Is Not Susan" peaked in the top twenty; "I Belong to You" reached the top ten of the US R&B chart and garnered Houston a Grammy nomination; and the sixth single, the Stevie Wonder duet "We Didn't Know", reached the R&B top twenty. The album peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 and went on to be certified 4× platinum in the US while selling 10 million total worldwide.
During the Persian Gulf War, on January 27, 1991, Houston performed "The Star-Spangled Banner", the US national anthem, at Super Bowl XXV at Tampa Stadium. Houston's vocals were pre-recorded, prompting criticism. Dan Klores, a spokesman for Houston, said: "This is not a Milli Vanilli thing. She sang live, but the microphone was turned off. It was a technical decision, partially based on the noise factor. This is standard procedure at these events." Nevertheless, a commercial single and video of the performance reached the Top 20 on the US Hot 100, giving Houston the biggest chart hit for a performance of the national anthem (José Feliciano's version reached No. 50 in November 1968). Houston donated her share of the proceeds to the American Red Cross Gulf Crisis Fund and was named to the Red Cross Board of Governors. Her rendition was critically acclaimed and is considered the benchmark for singers; VH1 listed the performance as one of the greatest moments that rocked TV. Following the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks, the single was rereleased, with all profits going towards the firefighters and victims of the attacks. It peaked at No. 6 in the Hot 100 and was certified platinum.
Later in 1991, Houston put together her Welcome Home Heroes concert with HBO for the soldiers fighting in the Persian Gulf War and their families. The free concert took place at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia in front of 3,500 servicemen and women. HBO descrambled the concert so that it was free for everyone to watch. The show gave HBO its highest ratings ever.
1992–1994: Marriage, motherhood, and The Bodyguard
She then met R&B singer Bobby Brown at the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards. After a three-year courtship, the two were married on July 18, 1992. Brown would go on to have several run-ins with the law for drunken driving, drug possession and battery, including some jail time. On March 4, 1993, Houston gave birth to their daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown (March 4, 1993 – July 26, 2015), the couple's only child. Houston revealed in a 1993 interview with Barbara Walters that she had suffered a miscarriage during the filming of The Bodyguard.
With the massive commercial success of her music, film offers poured in, including offers to work with Robert De Niro, Quincy Jones, and Spike Lee, but Houston never felt the time was right. Her first film role was in The Bodyguard, released in 1992 and co-starring Kevin Costner. Houston played Rachel Marron, a star who is stalked by a crazed fan and hires a bodyguard to protect her. USA Today listed it as one of the 25 most memorable movie moments of the last 25 years in 2007. Houston's mainstream appeal allowed people to look past the interracial nature of the relationship between her character and Costner's. However, controversy arose as some felt the film's advertising intentionally hid Houston's face to hide the film's interracial relationship. In a 1993 interview with Rolling Stone, Houston commented that "people know who Whitney Houston is – I'm black. You can't hide that fact." Houston received a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Actress. The Washington Post remarked that Houston was "doing nothing more than playing [herself]", but added that she came out "largely unscathed if that is possible in so cockamamie an undertaking". The New York Times stated that she lacked chemistry with Costner. Despite the film's mixed reviews, it was hugely successful at the box office, grossing more than $121 million in the U.S. and $410 million worldwide, making it one of the top 100 grossing films in film history at its time of release, though it later fell out of the top 100 because of rising ticket prices since the time the film was released.
The film's soundtrack also enjoyed success. Houston co-executive produced The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album and recorded six songs for the album. Rolling Stone described it as "nothing more than pleasant, tasteful and urbane". The soundtrack's lead single was "I Will Always Love You", written and originally recorded by Dolly Parton in 1974. Houston's version was highly acclaimed by critics, regarding it as her "signature song" or "iconic performance". Rolling Stone and USA Today called her rendition a tour-de-force. The single peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for a then-record-breaking 14 weeks, number one on the R&B chart for a then-record-breaking 11 weeks, and number one on the Adult Contemporary charts for five weeks. The single was certified 4× platinum by the RIAA, making Houston the first woman with a single to reach that level in the RIAA history and becoming the best-selling single by a woman in the U.S.[better source needed] The song also became a global success, topping the charts in almost all countries, and the best-selling single of all time by a female solo artist with 20 million copies sold. Houston won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1994 for "I Will Always Love You".
The soundtrack topped the Billboard 200 chart and remained there for 20 non-consecutive weeks, the longest tenure by any Arista album on the chart in the Nielsen SoundScan era (tied for 10th overall by any label), and became one of the fastest selling albums ever. During Christmas week of 1992, the soundtrack sold over a million copies within a week, becoming the first album to achieve that feat under Nielsen SoundScan system. With the follow-up singles "I'm Every Woman", a Chaka Khan cover, and "I Have Nothing" both reaching the top five, Houston became the first woman to ever have three singles in the Top 11 simultaneously. The album was certified 18× platinum in the US alone, with worldwide sales of 45 million copies. The album became the best-selling soundtrack album of all time. Houston won the 1994 Grammy Award for Album of the Year for the soundtrack. In addition, she won a record eight American Music Awards at that year's ceremony including the Award of Merit, 11 Billboard Music Awards, 3 Soul Train Music Awards in 1993–94 including Sammy Davis, Jr. Award as Entertainer of the Year, 5 NAACP Image Awards including Entertainer of the Year, a record 5 World Music Awards, and a BRIT award.
Following the success of The Bodyguard, Houston embarked on another expansive global tour (The Bodyguard World Tour) in 1993–94. Her concerts, movie, and recording grosses made her the third highest-earning female entertainer of 1993–94, just behind Oprah Winfrey and Barbra Streisand according to Forbes. Houston placed in the top five of Entertainment Weekly's annual "Entertainer of the Year" ranking and was labeled by Premiere magazine as one of the 100 most powerful people in Hollywood.
In October 1994, Houston attended and performed at a state dinner in the White House honoring newly elected South African president Nelson Mandela. At the end of her world tour, Houston performed three concerts in South Africa to honor President Mandela, playing to over 200,000 people; this made her the first major musician to visit the newly unified and apartheid free nation following Mandela's winning election. Portions of Whitney: The Concert for a New South Africa were broadcast live on HBO with funds of the concerts being donated to various charities in South Africa. The event was considered the nation's "biggest media event since the inauguration of Nelson Mandela".
1995–1997: Waiting to Exhale, The Preacher's Wife, and Cinderella
In 1995, Houston starred alongside Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, and Lela Rochon in her second film, Waiting to Exhale, a motion picture about four African-American women struggling with relationships. Houston played the lead character Savannah Jackson, a TV producer in love with a married man. She chose the role because she saw the film as "a breakthrough for the image of black women because it presents them both as professionals and as caring mothers". After opening at number one and grossing $67 million in the US at the box office and $81 million worldwide, it proved that a movie primarily targeting a black audience can cross over to success, while paving the way for other all-black movies such as How Stella Got Her Groove Back and the Tyler Perry movies that became popular in the 2000s. The film is also notable for its portrayal of black women as strong middle class citizens rather than as stereotypes. The reviews were mainly positive for the ensemble cast. The New York Times said: "Ms. Houston has shed the defensive hauteur that made her portrayal of a pop star in 'The Bodyguard' seem so distant." Houston was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for "Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture", but lost to her co-star Bassett.
The film's accompanying soundtrack, Waiting to Exhale: Original Soundtrack Album, was written and produced by Babyface. Though he originally wanted Houston to record the entire album, she declined. Instead, she "wanted it to be an album of women with vocal distinction", and thus gathered several African-American female artists for the soundtrack, to go along with the film's message about strong women. Consequently, the album featured a range of contemporary R&B female recording artists along with Houston, such as Mary J. Blige, Brandy, Toni Braxton, Aretha Franklin, and Patti LaBelle. Houston's "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)" peaked at No. 1, and then spent a record eleven weeks at the No. 2 spot and eight weeks on top of the R&B Charts. "Count On Me", a duet with CeCe Winans, hit the U.S. Top 10; and Houston's third contribution, "Why Does It Hurt So Bad", made the Top 30. The album was certified 7× Platinum in the United States, denoting shipments of seven million copies. The soundtrack received strong reviews; as Entertainment Weekly stated: "the album goes down easy, just as you'd expect from a package framed by Whitney Houston tracks ... the soundtrack waits to exhale, hovering in sensuous suspense" and has since ranked it as one of the 100 Best Movie Soundtracks. Later that year, Houston's children's charity organization was awarded a VH1 Honor for all the charitable work.
In 1996, Houston starred in the holiday comedy The Preacher's Wife, with Denzel Washington. She plays the gospel-singing wife of a pastor (Courtney B. Vance). It was largely an updated remake of the 1948 film The Bishop's Wife, which starred Loretta Young, David Niven and Cary Grant. Houston earned $10 million for the role, making her one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood at the time and the highest-earning African-American actress in Hollywood. The movie, with its all African-American cast, was a moderate success, earning approximately $50 million at the U.S. box offices. The movie gave Houston her strongest reviews so far. The San Francisco Chronicle said Houston "is rather angelic herself, displaying a divine talent for being virtuous and flirtatious at the same time", and she "exudes gentle yet spirited warmth, especially when praising the Lord in her gorgeous singing voice". Houston was again nominated for an NAACP Image Award and won for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture.
Houston recorded and co-produced, with Mervyn Warren, the film's accompanying gospel soundtrack. The Preacher's Wife: Original Soundtrack Album included six gospel songs with Georgia Mass Choir that were recorded at the Great Star Rising Baptist Church in Atlanta. Houston also duetted with gospel legend Shirley Caesar. The album sold six million copies worldwide and scored hit singles with "I Believe in You and Me" and "Step by Step", becoming the largest selling gospel album of all time. The album received mainly positive reviews. Some critics, such as that of USA Today, noted the presence of her emotional depth, while The Times said, "To hear Houston going at full throttle with the 35 piece Georgia Mass Choir struggling to keep up is to realise what her phenomenal voice was made for". She won Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist at the 1997 American Music Awards for The Preacher's Wife soundtrack.
In December 1996, a spokesperson for Houston confirmed that she had suffered a miscarriage.
In 1997, Houston's production company changed its name to BrownHouse Productions and was joined by Debra Martin Chase. Their goal was "to show aspects of the lives of African-Americans that have not been brought to the screen before" while improving how African-Americans are portrayed in film and television. Their first project was a made-for-television remake of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. In addition to co-producing, Houston starred in the film as the Fairy Godmother along with Brandy, Jason Alexander, Whoopi Goldberg, and Bernadette Peters. Houston was initially offered the role of Cinderella in 1993, but other projects intervened. The film is notable for its multi-racial cast and nonstereotypical message. An estimated 60 million viewers tuned into the special giving ABC its highest TV ratings in 16 years. The movie received seven Emmy nominations including Outstanding Variety, Musical or Comedy, while winning Outstanding Art Direction in a Variety, Musical or Comedy Special.
Houston and Chase then obtained the rights to the story of Dorothy Dandridge. Houston was to play Dandridge, the first African-American actress to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. Houston wanted the story told with dignity and honor. However, Halle Berry also had rights to the project and got her version going first. Later that year, Houston paid tribute to her idols, such as Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, and Dionne Warwick, by performing their hits during the three-night HBO Concert Classic Whitney: Live from Washington, D.C.. The special raised over $300,000 for the Children's Defense Fund. Houston received the Quincy Jones Award for outstanding career achievements in the field of entertainment at the 12th Soul Train Music Awards.
1998–2000: My Love Is Your Love and Whitney: The Greatest Hits
After spending much of the early and mid-1990s working on motion pictures and their soundtrack albums, Houston's first studio album in eight years, the critically acclaimed My Love Is Your Love, was released in November 1998. Though originally slated to be a greatest hits album with a handful of new songs, recording sessions were so fruitful that a new full-length studio album was released. Recorded and mixed in only six weeks, it featured production from Rodney Jerkins, Wyclef Jean and Missy Elliott. The album debuted at number thirteen, its peak position, on the Billboard 200 chart. It had a funkier and edgier sound than past releases and saw Houston handling urban dance, hip hop, mid-tempo R&B, reggae, torch songs, and ballads all with great dexterity.
From late 1998 to early 2000, the album spawned several hit singles: "When You Believe" (US No. 15, UK No. 4), a duet with Mariah Carey for 1998's The Prince of Egypt soundtrack, which also became an international hit as it peaked in the Top 10 in several countries and won an Academy Award for Best Original Song; "Heartbreak Hotel" (US No. 2, UK No. 25) featured Faith Evans and Kelly Price, received a 1999 MTV VMA nomination for Best R&B Video, and number one on the US R&B chart for seven weeks; "It's Not Right but It's Okay" (US No. 4, UK No. 3) won Houston her sixth Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance; "My Love Is Your Love" (US No. 4, UK No. 2) with 3 million copies sold worldwide; and "I Learned from the Best" (US No. 27, UK No. 19). These singles became international hits as well, and all the singles, except "When You Believe", became number one hits on the Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play chart. The album sold four million copies in America, making it certified 4× platinum, and a total of eleven million copies worldwide.
The album gave Houston some of her strongest reviews ever. Rolling Stone said Houston was singing "with a bite in her voice" and The Village Voice called it "Whitney's sharpest and most satisfying so far". In 1999, Houston participated in VH-1's Divas Live '99, alongside Brandy, Mary J. Blige, Tina Turner, and Cher. The same year, Houston hit the road with her 70 date My Love Is Your Love World Tour. While the European leg of the tour was Europe's highest grossing arena tour of the year, Houston canceled "a string of dates [during the] summer citing throat problems and a 'bronchitis situation'". In November 1999, Houston was named Top-selling R&B Female Artist of the Century with certified US sales of 51 million copies at the time and The Bodyguard Soundtrack was named the Top-selling Soundtrack Album of the Century by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). She also won The Artist of the Decade, Female award for extraordinary artistic contributions during the 1990s at the 14th Soul Train Music Awards, and an MTV Europe Music Award for Best R&B.
In May 2000, Whitney: The Greatest Hits was released worldwide. The double disc set peaked at number five in the United States, reaching number one in the United Kingdom. In addition, the album reached the Top 10 in many other countries. While ballad songs were left unchanged, the album features house/club remixes of many of Houston's up-tempo hits. Included on the album were four new songs: "Could I Have This Kiss Forever" (a duet with Enrique Iglesias), "Same Script, Different Cast" (a duet with Deborah Cox), "If I Told You That" (a duet with George Michael), and "Fine", and three hits that had never appeared on a Houston album: "One Moment in Time", "The Star Spangled Banner", and "If You Say My Eyes Are Beautiful", a duet with Jermaine Jackson from his 1986 Precious Moments album. Along with the album, an accompanying VHS and DVD was released featuring the music videos to Houston's greatest hits, as well as several hard-to-find live performances including her 1983 debut on The Merv Griffin Show, and interviews. The greatest hits album was certified 3× platinum in the US, with worldwide sales of 10 million.
2000–2005: Just Whitney and personal struggles
Though Houston was seen as a "good girl" with a perfect image in the 1980s and early 1990s, her behavior had changed by 1999 and 2000. She was often hours late for interviews, photo shoots and rehearsals, she canceled concerts and talk-show appearances, and there were reports of erratic behavior. Missed performances and weight loss led to rumors about Houston using drugs with her husband. On January 11, 2000, while traveling with Brown, airport security guards discovered half an ounce of marijuana in Houston's handbag at Keahole-Kona International Airport in Hawaii, but she departed before authorities could arrive. Charges against her were later dropped, but rumors of drug usage by Houston and Brown would continue to surface. Two months later, Clive Davis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; Houston had been scheduled to perform at the event, but was a no-show.
Shortly thereafter, Houston was scheduled to perform at the Academy Awards, but was fired from the event by musical director and longtime friend Burt Bacharach. Her publicist cited throat problems as the reason behind the cancellation. In his book The Big Show: High Times and Dirty Dealings Backstage at the Academy Awards, author Steve Pond revealed that "Houston's voice was shaky, she seemed distracted and jittery, and her attitude was casual, almost defiant", and that while Houston was supposed to perform "Over the Rainbow", she would start singing a different song during rehearsals. Houston later admitted to having been fired. In May 2000, Houston's longtime executive assistant and friend, Robyn Crawford, resigned from Houston's management company; in 2019, Crawford asserted that she had left Houston's employ after Houston declined to seek help for her drug dependency. The following month, Rolling Stone published a story stating that Cissy Houston and others had held a July 1999 intervention in which they unsuccessfully attempted to persuade Whitney to obtain drug treatment.
In August 2001, Houston signed one of the biggest record deals in music history, with Arista/BMG. She renewed her contract for $100 million to release six new albums, for which she would also earn royalties. She later made an appearance on Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special, where her extremely thin frame further spurred rumors of drug use. Houston's publicist said, "Whitney has been under stress due to family matters, and when she is under stress she doesn't eat." (In a 2009 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Houston acknowledged that drug use had been the reason for her weight loss.) She was scheduled for a second performance the following night, but canceled it. Within weeks, Houston's rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" would be re-released after the September 11 attacks, with the proceeds donated to the New York Firefighters 9/11 Disaster Relief Fund and the New York Fraternal Order of Police. The song peaked at No. 6 this time on the US Hot 100, topping its previous position.
In 2002, Houston became embroiled in a legal dispute with John Houston Enterprise. Although the company was started by her father to manage her career, it was actually run by company president Kevin Skinner. Skinner filed a breach of contract lawsuit and sued for $100 million (but lost), stating that Houston owed the company previously unpaid compensation for helping to negotiate her $100 million contract with Arista Records and for sorting out legal matters. Houston stated that her 81-year-old father had nothing to do with the lawsuit. Although Skinner tried to claim otherwise, John Houston never appeared in court. Houston's father later died in February 2003. The lawsuit was dismissed on April 5, 2004, and Skinner was awarded nothing.
Also in 2002, Houston granted an interview with Diane Sawyer to promote her then-upcoming album. During the primetime special, Houston commented on her drug use and marriage, among other topics. Addressing the ongoing drug rumors, she stated, "First of all, let's get one thing straight. Crack is cheap. I make too much money to ever smoke crack. Let's get that straight. Okay? We don't do crack. We don't do that. Crack is wack." The "crack is wack" line was drawn from a mural that Keith Haring painted in 1986 on the handball court at 128th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan. Houston did, however, admit to using alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and pills; she also acknowledged that her mother had urged her to seek help regarding her drug use. Houston also denied having an eating disorder and that her very thin appearance was connected to drug use. She further stated that Bobby Brown had never hit her, but acknowledged that she had hit him.
In December 2002, Houston released her fifth studio album, Just Whitney. The album included productions from then-husband Bobby Brown, as well as Missy Elliott and Babyface, and marked the first time that Houston did not produce with Clive Davis as Davis had been released by top management at BMG. Upon its release, Just Whitney received mixed reviews. The album debuted at number 9 on the Billboard 200 chart and it had the highest first week sales of any album Houston had ever released. The four singles released from the album did not fare well on the Billboard Hot 100, but became dance chart hits. Just Whitney was certified platinum in the United States, and sold approximately two million worldwide.
In late 2003, Houston released her first Christmas album One Wish: The Holiday Album, with a collection of traditional holiday songs. Houston produced the album with Mervyn Warren and Gordon Chambers. A single titled "One Wish (for Christmas)" reached the Top 20 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and the album was certified gold in the US.
In December 2003, Brown was charged with battery following an altercation during which he threatened to beat Houston and then assaulted her. Police reported that Houston had visible injuries to her face.
Having always been a touring artist, Houston spent most of 2004 touring and performing in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Russia. In September 2004, she gave a surprise performance at the World Music Awards in a tribute to long-time friend Clive Davis. After the show, Davis and Houston announced plans to go into the studio to work on her new album.
In early 2004, husband Bobby Brown starred in his own reality TV program, Being Bobby Brown, on Bravo. The show provided a view of the domestic goings-on in the Brown household. Though it was Brown's vehicle, Houston was a prominent figure throughout the show, receiving as much screen time as Brown. The series aired in 2005 and featured Houston in unflattering moments. Years later, The Guardian opined that through her participation in the show, Houston had lost "the last remnants of her dignity". The Hollywood Reporter said that the show was "undoubtedly the most disgusting and execrable series ever to ooze its way onto television". Despite the perceived train-wreck nature of the show, the series gave Bravo its highest ratings in its time slot and continued Houston's successful forays into film and television. The show was not renewed for a second season after Houston stated that she would no longer appear in it, and Brown and Bravo could not come to an agreement for another season.
2006–2012: Return to music, I Look to You, tour and film comeback
After years of controversy and turmoil, Houston separated from Bobby Brown in September 2006 and filed for divorce the following month. On February 1, 2007, Houston asked the court to fast-track the divorce. The divorce was finalized on April 24, 2007, and Houston was granted custody of Bobbi Kristina. On May 4, Houston sold the suburban Atlanta home featured in Being Bobby Brown for $1.19 million. A few days later, Brown sued Houston in Orange County, California seeking child and spousal support from Houston on the basis that financial and emotional problems had prevented Brown from properly responding to the divorce petition. Brown lost at his court hearing, leaving Houston with full custody and Brown with no spousal support.
Houston gave her first interview in seven years in September 2009, appearing on Oprah Winfrey's season premiere. The interview was billed as "the most anticipated music interview of the decade". Whitney admitted on the show to having used drugs with former husband Bobby Brown during their marriage; Houston said Brown had "laced marijuana with rock cocaine". She told Oprah that before The Bodyguard her drug use was light, that she used drugs more heavily after the film's success and the birth of her daughter, and that by 1996 "[doing drugs] was an everyday thing ... I wasn't happy by that point in time. I was losing myself." Houston told Oprah that she had attended a 30-day rehabilitation program. Houston also acknowledged to Oprah that her drug use had continued after rehabilitation, and that at one point, her mother obtained a court order and the assistance of law enforcement to press her into receiving further drug treatment. (In her 2013 book, Remembering Whitney: My Story of Love, Loss, and the Night the Music Stopped, Cissy Houston described the scene she encountered at Whitney Houston's house in 2005 as follows: "Somebody had spray-painted the walls and door with big glaring eyes and strange faces. Evil eyes, staring out like a threat ... In another room, there was a big framed photo of [Whitney] — but someone had cut [her] head out. It was beyond disturbing, seeing my daughter's face cut out like that." This visit led Cissy to return with law enforcement and perform an intervention.) Houston also told Oprah that Bobby Brown had been emotionally abusive during their marriage, and had even spat on her on one occasion. When Winfrey asked Houston if she was drug-free, Houston responded, "'Yes, ma’am. I mean, you know, don’t think I don’t have desires for it.'"
Houston released her new album, I Look to You, in August 2009. The album's first two singles were the title track "I Look to You" and "Million Dollar Bill". The album entered the Billboard 200 at No. 1, with Houston's best opening week sales of 305,000 copies, marking Houston's first number one album since The Bodyguard, and Houston's first studio album to reach number one since 1987's Whitney. Houston also appeared on European television programs to promote the album. She performed the song "I Look to You" on the German television show Wetten, dass..?. Houston appeared as guest mentor on The X Factor in the United Kingdom. She performed "Million Dollar Bill" on the following day's results show, completing the song even as a strap in the back of her dress popped open two seconds into the performance. She later commented that she "sang [herself] out of [her] clothes". The performance was poorly received by the British media and was described as "weird" and "ungracious".
Despite this reception, "Million Dollar Bill" jumped to its peak from 14 to number 5 (her first UK top 5 for over a decade). Three weeks after its release, I Look to You went gold. Houston appeared on the Italian version of The X Factor, where she performed "Million Dollar Bill" to excellent reviews. In November, Houston performed "I Didn't Know My Own Strength" at the 2009 American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California. Two days later, Houston performed "Million Dollar Bill" and "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" on the Dancing with the Stars season 9 finale. As of December 2009, I Look to You has been certified platinum by the RIAA for sales of more than one million copies in the United States. On January 26, 2010, her debut album was re-released in a special edition entitled Whitney Houston – The Deluxe Anniversary Edition.
Houston later embarked on a world tour, entitled the Nothing but Love World Tour. It was her first world tour in over ten years and was announced as a triumphant comeback. However, some poor reviews and rescheduled concerts brought negative media attention. Houston canceled some concerts because of illness and received widespread negative reviews from fans who were disappointed in the quality of her voice and performance. Some fans reportedly walked out of her concerts.
In January 2010, Houston was nominated for two NAACP Image Awards, one for Best Female Artist and one for Best Music Video. She won the award for Best Music Video for her single "I Look to You". On January 16, she received The BET Honors Award for Entertainer citing her lifetime achievements spanning over 25 years in the industry. Houston also performed the song "I Look to You" on the 2011 BET Celebration of Gospel, with gospel–jazz singer Kim Burrell, held at the Staples Center, Los Angeles. The performance aired on January 30, 2011.
In May 2011, Houston enrolled in a rehabilitation center again, citing drug and alcohol problems. A representative for Houston said that the outpatient treatment was a part of Houston's "longstanding recovery process". In September 2011, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Houston would produce and star alongside Jordin Sparks and Mike Epps in the remake of the 1976 film Sparkle. In the film, Houston portrays Sparks' "not-so encouraging" mother. Houston is also credited as an executive producer of the film. Debra Martin Chase, producer of Sparkle, stated that Houston deserved the title considering she had been there from the beginning in 2001, when Houston obtained Sparkle production rights. R&B singer Aaliyah – originally tapped to star as Sparkle – died in a 2001 plane crash. Her death derailed production, which would have begun in 2002. Houston's remake of Sparkle was filmed in late 2011 over a two-month period and was released by TriStar Pictures. On May 21, 2012, "Celebrate", the last song Houston recorded with Sparks, premiered at RyanSeacrest.com. It was made available for digital download on iTunes on June 5. The song was featured on the Sparkle: Music from the Motion Picture soundtrack as the first official single. The movie was released on August 17, 2012, in the United States.
Death and funeral
Houston reportedly appeared "disheveled" and "erratic" in the days immediately prior to her death. On February 9, 2012, Houston visited singers Brandy and Monica, together with Clive Davis, at their rehearsals for Davis' pre-Grammy Awards party at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. That same day, she made her last public performance when she joined Kelly Price on stage in Hollywood, California and sang "Jesus Loves Me".
Two days later, on February 11, Houston was found unconscious in Suite 434 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, submerged in the bathtub. Beverly Hills paramedics arrived at approximately 3:30 p.m., found Houston unresponsive, and performed CPR. Houston was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. PST. The cause of death was not immediately known; local police said there were "no obvious signs of criminal intent". On March 22, 2012, the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office reported that Houston's death was caused by drowning and the "effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use". The office stated the amount of cocaine found in Houston's body indicated that she used the substance shortly before her death. Toxicology results revealed additional drugs in her system: diphenhydramine (Benadryl), alprazolam (Xanax), cannabis and cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril). The manner of death was listed as an "accident".
An invitation-only memorial service was held for Houston on Saturday, February 18, 2012, at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. The service was scheduled for two hours, but lasted four. Among those who performed at the funeral were Stevie Wonder (rewritten version of "Ribbon in the Sky", and "Love's in Need of Love Today"), CeCe Winans ("Don't Cry", and "Jesus Loves Me"), Alicia Keys ("Send Me an Angel"), Kim Burrell (rewritten version of "A Change Is Gonna Come"), and R. Kelly ("I Look to You"). The performances were interspersed with hymns by the church choir and remarks by Clive Davis, Houston's record producer; Kevin Costner; Rickey Minor, her music director; her cousin, Dionne Warwick; and Ray Watson, her security guard for the past 11 years. Aretha Franklin was listed on the program and was expected to sing, but was unable to attend the service. Bobby Brown was also invited to the funeral, but departed shortly after the service began. Houston was buried on February 19, 2012, in Fairview Cemetery, in Westfield, New Jersey, next to her father, John Russell Houston, who died in 2003. In June 2012, the McDonald's Gospelfest in Newark became a tribute to Houston.
The February 11, 2012 Clive Davis pre-Grammy party that Houston was expected to attend, which featured many of the biggest names in music and film, went on as scheduled – although it was quickly turned into a tribute to Houston. Davis spoke about Houston's death at the evening's start:
By now you have all learned of the unspeakably tragic news of our beloved Whitney's passing. I don't have to mask my emotion in front of a room full of so many dear friends. I am personally devastated by the loss of someone who has meant so much to me for so many years. Whitney was so full of life. She was so looking forward to tonight even though she wasn't scheduled to perform. Whitney was a beautiful person and a talent beyond compare. She graced this stage with her regal presence and gave so many memorable performances here over the years. Simply put, Whitney would have wanted the music to go on and her family asked that we carry on.
Tony Bennett spoke of Houston's death before performing at Davis's party. He said, "First, it was Michael Jackson, then Amy Winehouse, now, the magnificent Whitney Houston." Bennett sang "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?" and said of Houston, "When I first heard her, I called Clive Davis and said, 'You finally found the greatest singer I've ever heard in my life.'"
Some celebrities opposed Davis' decision to continue with the party while a police investigation was being conducted in Houston's hotel room and her body was still in the building. Chaka Khan, in an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan on February 13, 2012, shared that she felt the party should have been canceled, saying: "I thought that was complete insanity. And knowing Whitney I don't believe that she would have said 'the show must go on.' She's the kind of woman that would've said 'Stop everything! Un-unh. I'm not going to be there.'" Sharon Osbourne condemned the Davis party, declaring: "I think it was disgraceful that the party went on. I don't want to be in a hotel room when there's someone you admire who's tragically lost their life four floors up. I'm not interested in being in that environment and I think when you grieve someone, you do it privately, you do it with people who understand you. I thought it was so wrong."
Further reaction and tributes
Many other celebrities released statements responding to Houston's death. Darlene Love, Houston's godmother, hearing the news of her death, said, "It felt like I had been struck by a lightning bolt in my gut." Dolly Parton, whose song "I Will Always Love You" was covered by Houston, said, "I will always be grateful and in awe of the wonderful performance she did on my song, and I can truly say from the bottom of my heart, 'Whitney, I will always love you. You will be missed.'" Aretha Franklin said, "It's so stunning and unbelievable. I couldn't believe what I was reading coming across the TV screen." Others paying tribute included Mariah Carey, Quincy Jones and Oprah Winfrey.
Moments after news of her death emerged, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News all broke from their regularly scheduled programming to dedicate time to non-stop coverage of Houston's death. All three featured live interviews with people who had known Houston including those that had worked with her interviewed her along with some of her peers in the music industry. Saturday Night Live displayed a photo of a smiling Houston, alongside Molly Shannon, from her 1996 appearance. MTV and VH-1 interrupted their regularly scheduled programming on Sunday February 12 to air many of Houston's classic videos with MTV often airing news segments in between and featuring various reactions from fans and celebrities.
Houston's former husband, Bobby Brown, was reported to be "in and out of crying fits" after receiving the news. He did not cancel a scheduled performance and within hours of his ex-wife's sudden death, an audience in Mississippi observed as Brown blew kisses skyward, tearfully saying: "I love you, Whitney."
Ken Ehrlich, executive producer of the 54th Grammy Awards, announced that Jennifer Hudson would perform a tribute to Houston at the February 12, 2012 ceremony. He said, "event organizers believed Hudson – an Academy Award-winning actress and Grammy Award-winning artist – could perform a respectful musical tribute to Houston." Ehrlich went on to say: "It's too fresh in everyone's memory to do more at this time, but we would be remiss if we didn't recognize Whitney's remarkable contribution to music fans in general and in particular her close ties with the Grammy telecast and her Grammy wins and nominations over the years." At the start of the awards ceremony, footage of Houston performing "I Will Always Love You" from the 1994 Grammys was shown following a prayer read by host LL Cool J. Later in the program, following a montage of photos of musicians who died in 2011 with Houston singing "Saving All My Love for You" at the 1986 Grammys, Hudson paid tribute to Houston and the other artists by performing "I Will Always Love You". The tribute was partially credited for the Grammys telecast getting its second highest ratings in history.
Houston was honored with various tributes at the 43rd NAACP Image Awards, held on February 17. An image montage of Houston and important black figures who died in 2011 was followed by video footage from the 1994 ceremony, which depicted her accepting two Image Awards for outstanding female artist and entertainer of the year. Following the video tribute, Yolanda Adams delivered a rendition of "I Love the Lord" from The Preacher's Wife Soundtrack. In the finale of the ceremony, Kirk Franklin and the Family started their performance with "The Greatest Love of All". The 2012 Brit Awards, which took place at the O2 Arena in London on February 21, also paid tribute to Houston by playing a 30-second video montage of her music videos with a snippet of "One Moment in Time" as the background music in the ceremony's first segment. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said that all New Jersey state flags would be flown at half-staff on Tuesday, February 21, to honor Houston. Houston was also featured, alongside other recently deceased figures from the film industry, in the In Memoriam montage at the 84th Academy Awards on February 26, 2012.
On May 17, 2017, Bebe Rexha released a single titled "The Way I Are (Dance with Somebody)" from her two part album All Your Fault. The song mentions Houston's name in the opening lyrics, "I'm sorry, I'm not the most pretty, I'll never ever sing like Whitney", before going on to sample some of Houston's lyrics from "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" in the chorus. The song was in part made as a tribute to Whitney Houston's life.
Artistry and legacy
Houston possessed a mezzo-soprano vocal range, and was commonly referred to as "The Voice" in reference to her exceptional vocal talent. She was ranked third in MTV's list of 22 Greatest Voices and sixth on Online Magazine COVE's list of the 100 Best Pop Vocalists with a score of 48.5/50. Jon Pareles of The New York Times stated she "always had a great big voice, a technical marvel from its velvety depths to its ballistic middle register to its ringing and airy heights". In 2008, Rolling Stone ranked Houston as the 34th of the 100 greatest singers of all time, stating, "Her voice is a mammoth, coruscating cry: Few vocalists could get away with opening a song with 45 unaccompanied seconds of singing, but Houston's powerhouse version of Dolly Parton's 'I Will Always Love You' is a tour de force." Matthew Perpetua of Rolling Stone also acknowledged Houston's vocal prowess, enumerating ten performances, including "How Will I Know" at the 1986 MTV VMAs and "The Star Spangled Banner" at the 1991 Super Bowl. "Whitney Houston was blessed with an astonishing vocal range and extraordinary technical skill, but what truly made her a great singer was her ability to connect with a song and drive home its drama and emotion with incredible precision", he stated. "She was a brilliant performer, and her live shows often eclipsed her studio recordings." According to Newsweek, Houston had a four-octave range.
Jon Caramanica of The New York Times commented, "Her voice was clean and strong, with barely any grit, well suited to the songs of love and aspiration. [ ... ] Hers was a voice of triumph and achievement, and it made for any number of stunning, time-stopping vocal performances." Mariah Carey stated, "She [Whitney] has a really rich, strong mid-belt that very few people have. She sounds really good, really strong." While in her review of I Look to You, music critic Ann Powers of the Los Angeles Times writes, "[Houston's voice] stands like monuments upon the landscape of 20th century pop, defining the architecture of their times, sheltering the dreams of millions and inspiring the climbing careers of countless imitators", adding "When she was at her best, nothing could match her huge, clean, cool mezzo-soprano."
Lauren Everitt from BBC News Magazine commented on melisma used in Houston's recording and its influence. "An early 'I' in Whitney Houston's 'I Will Always Love You' takes nearly six seconds to sing. In those seconds the former gospel singer-turned-pop star packs a series of different notes into the single syllable", stated Everitt. "The technique is repeated throughout the song, most pronouncedly on every 'I' and 'you'. The vocal technique is called melisma, and it has inspired a host of imitators. Other artists may have used it before Houston, but it was her rendition of Dolly Parton's love song that pushed the technique into the mainstream in the 90s. [ ... ] But perhaps what Houston nailed best was moderation." Everitt said that "[i]n a climate of reality shows ripe with 'oversinging,' it's easy to appreciate Houston's ability to save melisma for just the right moment."
Houston's vocal stylings have had a significant impact on the music industry. According to Linda Lister in Divafication: The Deification of Modern Female Pop Stars, she has been called the "Queen of Pop" for her influence during the 1990s, commercially rivaling Mariah Carey and Celine Dion. Stephen Holden from The New York Times, in his review of Houston's Radio City Music Hall concert on July 20, 1993, praised her attitude as a singer, writing, "Whitney Houston is one of the few contemporary pop stars of whom it might be said: the voice suffices. While almost every performer whose albums sell in the millions calls upon an entertainer's bag of tricks, from telling jokes to dancing to circus pyrotechnics, Ms. Houston would rather just stand there and sing." With regard to her singing style, he added: "Her [Houston's] stylistic trademarks – shivery melismas that ripple up in the middle of a song, twirling embellishments at the ends of phrases that suggest an almost breathless exhilaration – infuse her interpretations with flashes of musical and emotional lightning."
Elysa Gardner of the Los Angeles Times in her review for The Preacher's Wife Soundtrack highly praised Houston's vocal ability, commenting, "She is first and foremost a pop diva – at that, the best one we have. No other female pop star – not Mariah Carey, not Celine Dion, not Barbra Streisand – quite rivals Houston in her exquisite vocal fluidity and purity of tone, and her ability to infuse a lyric with mesmerizing melodrama."
Houston struggled with vocal problems in her later years. Gary Catona, a voice coach who began working with Houston in 2005, stated: "'When I first started working with her in 2005, she had lost 99.9 percent of her voice ... She could barely speak, let alone sing. Her lifestyle choices had made her almost completely hoarse.'" After Houston's death, Catona asserted that Houston's voice reached "'about 75 to 80 percent'" of its former capacity after he had worked with her. However, during the world tour that followed the release of I Look to You, "YouTube videos surfaced, showing [Houston's] voice cracking, seemingly unable to hold the notes she was known for".
Houston became the first black woman to receive heavy rotation on MTV following the success of the "How Will I Know" video. Following Houston's breakthrough, other African-American women, such as Janet Jackson and Anita Baker, were successful in popular music. Baker commented that "Because of what Whitney and Sade did, there was an opening for me ... For radio stations, black women singers aren't taboo anymore."
AllMusic noted her contribution to the success of black artists on the pop scene, commenting, "Houston was able to handle big adult contemporary ballads, effervescent, stylish dance-pop, and slick urban contemporary soul with equal dexterity" and that "the result was an across-the-board appeal that was matched by scant few artists of her era, and helped her become one of the first black artists to find success on MTV in Michael Jackson's wake". The New York Times stated that "Houston was a major catalyst for a movement within black music that recognized the continuity of soul, pop, jazz and gospel vocal traditions". Richard Corliss of Time magazine commented on her initial success breaking various barriers:
Of her first album's ten cuts, six were ballads. This chanteuse [Houston] had to fight for air play with hard rockers. The young lady had to stand uncowed in the locker room of macho rock. The soul strutter had to seduce a music audience that anointed few black artists with superstardom. [ ... ] She was a phenomenon waiting to happen, a canny tapping of the listener's yen for a return to the musical middle. And because every new star creates her own genre, her success has helped other blacks, other women, other smooth singers find an avid reception in the pop marketplace.
Stephen Holden of The New York Times said that Houston "revitalized the tradition of strong gospel-oriented pop-soul singing". Ann Powers of the Los Angeles Times referred to Houston as a "national treasure". Jon Caramanica, another music critic of The New York Times, called Houston "R&B's great modernizer", adding "slowly but surely reconciling the ambition and praise of the church with the movements and needs of the body and the glow of the mainstream". He also drew comparisons between Houston's influence and other big names' on 1980s pop:
She was, alongside Michael Jackson and Madonna, one of the crucial figures to hybridize pop in the 1980s, though her strategy was far less radical than that of her peers. Jackson and Madonna were by turns lascivious and brutish and, crucially, willing to let their production speak more loudly than their voices, an option Ms. Houston never went for. Also, she was less prolific than either of them, achieving most of her renown on the strength of her first three solo albums and one soundtrack, released from 1985 to 1992. If she was less influential than they were in the years since, it was only because her gift was so rare, so impossible to mimic. Jackson and Madonna built worldviews around their voices; Ms. Houston's voice was the worldview. She was someone more to be admired, like a museum piece, than to be emulated.
The Independent's music critic Andy Gill also wrote about Houston's influence on modern R&B and singing competitions, comparing it to Michael Jackson's. "Because Whitney, more than any other single artist – Michael Jackson included – effectively mapped out the course of modern R&B, setting the bar for standards of soul vocalese, and creating the original template for what we now routinely refer to as the 'soul diva' ", stated Gill. "Jackson was a hugely talented icon, certainly, but he will be as well remembered (probably more so) for his presentational skills, his dazzling dance moves, as for his musical innovations. Whitney, on the other hand, just sang, and the ripples from her voice continue to dominate the pop landscape." Gill said that there "are few, if any, Jackson imitators on today's TV talent shows, but every other contestant is a Whitney wannabe, desperately attempting to emulate that wondrous combination of vocal effects – the flowing melisma, the soaring mezzo-soprano confidence, the tremulous fluttering that carried the ends of lines into realms of higher yearning".
Houston was considered by many to be a "singer's singer", who had an influence on countless other vocalists, both female and male. Similarly, Steve Huey from Allmusic wrote that the shadow of Houston's prodigious technique still looms large over nearly every pop diva and smooth urban soul singer – male or female – in her wake, and spawned a legion of imitators. Rolling Stone, on her biography, stated that Houston "redefined the image of a female soul icon and inspired singers ranging from Mariah Carey to Rihanna". Essence ranked Houston sixth on their list of 50 Most Influential R&B Stars of all time, calling her "the diva to end all divas".
Numerous artists have acknowledged Houston as an influence, including Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton, Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera, LeAnn Rimes, Jessica Simpson, Nelly Furtado, Kelly Clarkson, Britney Spears, Ciara, Pink, Aneeka, Ashanti, Hayley Williams, Robin Thicke, Jennifer Hudson, Stacie Orrico, Amerie, Destiny's Child, Ariana Grande, Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, Brandy, Kelly Rowland, Alicia Keys, and Leona Lewis
Awards and achievements
Houston won two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 16 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards, among a total of 415 career awards as of 2010. She held the all-time record for the most American Music Awards of any female solo artist and shared the record with Michael Jackson for the most AMAs ever won in a single year with eight wins in 1994. Houston won a record 11 Billboard Music Awards at its fourth ceremony in 1993. She also had the record for the most WMAs won in a single year, winning five awards at the 6th World Music Awards in 1994.
In May 2003, Houston placed at number three on VH1's list of "50 Greatest Women of the Video Era", behind Madonna and Janet Jackson. She was also ranked at number 116 on their list of the "200 Greatest Pop Culture Icons of All Time". In 2008, Billboard magazine released a list of the Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists to celebrate the US singles chart's 50th anniversary, ranking Houston at number nine. Similarly, she was ranked as one of the "Top 100 Greatest Artists of All Time" by VH1 in September 2010. In November 2010, Billboard released its "Top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years" list and ranked Houston at number three who not only went on to earn eight number-one singles on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, but also landed five number ones on R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Houston's debut album is listed as one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine and is on Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Definitive 200 list. In 2004, Billboard picked the success of her first release on the charts as one of 110 Musical Milestones in its history. Houston's entrance into the music industry is considered one of the 25 musical milestones of the last 25 years, according to USA Today in 2007. It stated that she paved the way for Mariah Carey's chart-topping vocal gymnastics. In 1997, the Franklin School in East Orange, New Jersey was renamed to The Whitney E. Houston Academy School of Creative and Performing Arts. In 2001, Houston was the first artist to be given a BET Lifetime Achievement Award. Houston is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time, with over 200 million records sold worldwide. As of 2020, she ranks fourth on the list of best-selling female artists in the United States by the Recording Industry Association of America with 60 million certified albums sold. She held an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from Grambling State University, Louisiana. Houston was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2013. Houston released seven studio albums and two soundtrack albums, all of which have been certified diamond, multi-platinum, platinum, or gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In August 2014, Houston was inducted into the official Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame in its second class. In October 2019, Houston was announced as a 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee, one of nine first-time nominees and 16 total. On January 15, 2020, Houston was announced as an inductee into the Hall's 2020 class, along with five other acts. In March 2020, it was announced that Houston's 1992 cover of "I Will Always Love You" was inducted into the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry, which preserves music for their significant contribution to American sound-system.
In 2015, Lifetime premiered the biographical film Whitney, which mentions that Whitney Houston was named after prominent television actress Whitney Blake, the mother of Meredith Baxter Birney, star of the television series Family Ties. The film was directed by Houston's Waiting to Exhale co-star Angela Bassett, and Houston was portrayed by model Yaya DaCosta.
On April 27, 2016, it was announced that Kevin Macdonald would work with the film production team Altitude, producers of the Amy Winehouse documentary film Amy (2015), on a new documentary film based on Houston's life and death. It is the first documentary authorized by Houston's estate. That film, entitled Whitney, premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and was released internationally in theaters on July 6, 2018.
In April 2020, it was announced that a biopic based on Houston's life, said to be "no holds barred", titled I Wanna Dance with Somebody, would be produced, with Bohemian Rhapsody screenwriter Anthony McCarten writing the script and director Stella Meghie at the helm. Pat Garland-Houston, Clive Davis and Primary Wave are behind the biopic. On December 15, 2020, it was announced that actress Naomi Ackie had been picked to portray Houston in the biopic.
- Whitney Houston (1985)
- Whitney (1987)
- I'm Your Baby Tonight (1990)
- My Love Is Your Love (1998)
- Just Whitney (2002)
- One Wish: The Holiday Album (2003)
- I Look to You (2009)
- The Bodyguard (1992)
- Waiting to Exhale (1995)
- The Preacher's Wife (1996)
- Cinderella (1997)
- Sparkle (2012)
- Whitney: Can I Be Me (2017)
- Whitney (2018)
- The Greatest Love World Tour (1986)
- Moment of Truth World Tour (1987–88)
- I'm Your Baby Tonight World Tour (1991)
- The Bodyguard World Tour (1993–94)
- My Love Is Your Love World Tour (1999)
- Nothing but Love World Tour (2009-10)
- Whitney Houston Hologram Tour (2020)
- US Summer Tour (1985)
- Feels So Right Tour (1990)
- Pacific Rim Tour (1997)
- The European Tour (1998)
- Soul Divas Tour (2004)
- American Music Award nominations for Whitney Houston
- Grammy Awards and nominations for Whitney Houston
- Honorific nicknames in popular music
- List of artists who reached number one in the United States
- List of artists who reached number one on the U.S. dance chart
- List of best-selling music artists
- Whitney Houston, Pop Superstar, Dies at 48. The New York Times. February 11, 2012 [Retrieved February 12, 2012].
- Whitney, dir. Kevin MacDonald, 2018)
- Smith, Jessie Carney (1996). Notable Black American women. VNR AG. pp. 304–305. ISBN 978-0-8103-9177-2.
- "Top 10 Things You May Not Know About Whitney Houston" Archived November 19, 2018, at the Wayback Machine. ABC. February 16, 2012. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
- "Michael Houston 'Devastated' At Death Of Sister". Entertainment Wise. February 12, 2012. Archived from the original on February 15, 2012. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
- Whitney's godmother: 'She was a light'. Nancy Grace spoke with Whitney Houston's godmother and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer Darlene Love.. February 13, 2012 [archived January 2, 2013; Retrieved February 17, 2012].
- Whitall, Susan. "Aretha Franklin recalls meeting a young Whitney Houston". The Queen of Soul corrected one thing about her relationship to Houston. She says she wasn't Houston's godmother, but a sort of honorary aunt. The Detroit News. Retrieved February 18, 2012.[dead link]
- "Whitney Houston Sings Her Way to Stardom". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. 1985. p. 59. ISSN 0021-5996.
- Cox, Ted (January 1998). Whitney Houston. Chelsea House Publishers. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-7910-4456-8.
- Gardner, Elysa (January 28, 2013). "Cissy Houston remembers Whitney, with love and candor". USA Today. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
- "Whitney & Bobby – Addicted to Love". Vibe. September 2005. Retrieved March 17, 2007.
- Jet. Johnson Publishing Company; February 17, 1986. p. 59.
- Corliss, Richard (July 13, 1987). "The Prom Queen of Soul". Time. Retrieved March 17, 2007.
- "Cissy Houston Remembers Elvis Presley | Elvis Interviews". www.elvis.com.au. Retrieved April 10, 2020.
- DeCurtis, Anthony (June 10, 1993). "Whitney Houston: Down and Dirty". Rolling Stone; Jann S. Wenner, editor and publisher. Retrieved March 17, 2007.
- Bronson, Fred (October 1, 2003). The Billboard book of number 1 hits. Random House Digital. p. 629. ISBN 978-0-8230-7677-2.
- "Singer Whitney Houston a Model of Success". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. 1990. p. 32. ISSN 0021-5996.
- Waldman, Tyler (February 13, 2012). "Mount Saint Dominic Classmate Remembers Whitney Houston". Patch.com. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
- Vibe. Vibe Media Group; June 2007. p. 78.
- Corliss, Richard (July 13, 1987). "The Prom Queen of Soul" – via content.time.com.
- Chang, Rachel. "Inside Whitney Houston's Relationship With Best Friend Robyn Crawford". Biography.
- Caramanica, Jon (November 7, 2019). "Whitney Houston's Confidante Robyn Crawford Breaks Her Silence" – via NYTimes.com.
- Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (November 7, 2019). "Whitney Houston's close friend Robyn Crawford says they had sexual relationship". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved November 12, 2019.
- Traister, Rebecca (April 13, 2006). "Didn't She Almost Have It All". Salon.com. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
- Christgau, Robert. "Material she was a great song writer". RobertChristgau.com. Retrieved December 12, 2007.
- Ripol, Vince. "Paul Jabara & Friends Album Review". Allmusic. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
- "Girl". Ebony. Johnson Publishing Company. June 1990. p. 136. ISSN 0012-9011.
- Ebony. Johnson Publishing Company; December 1985. p. 155.
- "Whitney Houston: Watch her earliest TV appearances". Los Angeles Times. February 12, 2012. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
- Finkelman, Paul (2009). Encyclopedia of African American history, 1896 to the present: from the age of segregation to the twenty-first century. Oxford University Press. pp. 459–460. ISBN 978-0-19-516779-5.
- Scoppa, Bud (December 1986). "The Long Road To Overnight Stardom". Billboard. Retrieved March 17, 2007.
- Wynn, Ron. AllMusic. Love Language Album Review [archived December 6, 2009; Retrieved January 14, 2010].
- "Arista Aims New Houston Album at 'Core Urban' Fans". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. December 14, 2002. p. 64. ISSN 0006-2510.
- Sullivan, Caroline (February 11, 2012). "Whitney Houston obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
- Shewey, Don (June 6, 1985). "Music Review: Whitney Houston". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 17, 2011.
- Holden, Stephen (May 12, 1985). "Critic's Choice; Pop Music". The New York Times. p. A2.
- "Whitney Houston's Success Is Global". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. June 8, 1985. p. 54. ISSN 0006-2510.
- Grein, Paul (June 8, 1986). "Houston Hits: Master Plan, Blind Luck". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company.
- "Whitney Houston". Headliners And Legends. August 11, 2000. Archived from the original on October 21, 2009.
- Whitney Houston Reminisces About '80s Music on MTV (2001 interview). MTV. 2001. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
- "Charts '86". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. December 27, 1986. p. 52. ISSN 0006-2510.
- Recording Industry Association of America. Gold & Platinum – Top 100 Albums [archived July 18, 2012; Retrieved June 13, 2010].
- Recording Industry Association of America. RIAA Certification Searchable Database; July 29, 1999 [archived June 26, 2007; Retrieved January 13, 2010].
- "Inside Whitney's world". NBC News. September 28, 2013. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
- Booker, Bobbi (February 14, 2012). "Philly reflects on Houston's legacy". The Philadelphia Tribune. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
- Jet. Johnson Publishing Company; January 27, 1986. p. 57.
- Dire Straits Tops List for Grammy's; We are the World Wins 6 Nominations. The Washington Post. January 10, 1986 [Retrieved March 17, 2007].
- Jet. Johnson Publishing Company; March 17, 1986. p. 14.
- Jet. Johnson Publishing Company; October 13, 1986. p. 16.
- Jet. Johnson Publishing Company; February 17, 1986. p. 56.
- Collier, Aldore (February 16, 1987). "Whitney Houston: Why Success Won't Go to Her Head". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. p. 58. ISSN 0021-5996.
- Wenner Media. 500 Greatest Albums of All Time; November 18, 2003 [archived December 20, 2010; Retrieved March 17, 2011].
- The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The Definitive 200; 2007 [archived January 13, 2008; Retrieved January 15, 2008].
- 25 years of memorable musical moments. USA Today. June 18, 2007 [Retrieved January 1, 2008].
- Houston Tops New Wave of Women With Pop Punch Aplenty. August 30, 1987 [Retrieved March 5, 2008]:11.
- Anita Baker: 'Most Powerful Black Woman Singer of 80s'. February 1, 1987 [Retrieved March 5, 2008]:44.
- Wenner Media. Review: Whitney; August 13, 1987 [Retrieved March 16, 2011].
- Jet. Johnson Publishing Company; May 2, 1988. p. 54.
- Billboard. Nielsen Business Media; May 13, 2000. p. 104.
- "Gold & Platinum". RIAA.
- "This Day in Black History: June 27, 1987". BET.com.
- Jet. Johnson Publishing Company; February 1, 1988. p. 56.
- Jet. Johnson Publishing Company; March 21, 1988. p. 52.
- Jet. Johnson Publishing Company; February 15, 1988. p. 60.
- Jet. Johnson Publishing Company; February 20, 1989. p. 55.
- Showtime: Jackson is top winner at Soul Train Awards. The Washington Afro American. April 5, 1988 [Retrieved June 28, 2010]:6C. African-American News & Information Consortium.
- MacDonald, Patrick. "U2, Bon Jovi were top concert acts of 1987". The Seattle Times. January 15, 1988. Page 5. Retrieved May 16, 2008.
- Jet. Johnson Publishing Company; September 28, 1987. p. 52–53.
- Jet. Johnson Publishing Company; June 20, 1988. p. 59.
- Diva Will Always Love Limelight. The Scotsman (Edinburgh, UK). August 23, 2009 [Retrieved January 12, 2010].
- Pop Music's Homage to Mandela. The New York Times. June 13, 1988.
- Jet. Johnson Publishing Company; September 19, 1988. p. 54.
- Jet. Johnson Publishing Company; September 12, 1988. p. 59.
- number-ones.co.uk. 1988 UK Number Ones [Retrieved January 12, 2010].
- charts.de. October 24, 1988 Single Top 100; October 24, 1988 [Retrieved January 12, 2010].
- "Forbes Names Jackson as the Best-Paid Star 5 Women, 3 Boxers on List of 40 Celebrities". Los Angeles Times. September 19, 1988. Page 2.
- Jet. Johnson Publishing Company; October 3, 1988. p. 12.
- "Whitney Houston Foundation for Children". Archived from the original on October 7, 2014. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
- A History of Soul Music. October 18, 2007. VH1. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Duckett Cain, Joy (December 2003). "The Soul of Whitney". Essence Magazine. Retrieved February 15, 2008.
- Ebony. Johnson Publishing Company; May 1991. p. 112.
- Ralph M. Jr., "Interview with Whitney Houston", Dateline NBC, December 10, 1996 (transcript available at whitney-fan.com – archive)
- Wenner Media. Review: I'm Your Baby Tonight; January 10, 1991 [Retrieved March 16, 2011].
- Browne, David. Music Review: I'm Your Baby Tonight; November 23, 1990 [Retrieved March 16, 2011].
- Runtagh, Jordan (September 15, 2017). "Music's 30 Fiercest Feuds and Beefs". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
- Pop View; Caution: Now Entering The War Zone. The New York Times. February 24, 1991 [Retrieved October 5, 2008].
- Company, Johnson Publishing (March 18, 1991). "Jet". Johnson Publishing Company – via Google Books.
- "Spokane Chronicle - Google News Archive Search". news.google.com.
- "The Daily Gazette - Google News Archive Search". news.google.com.
- Fisher, Luchina; Marikar, Sheila (February 3, 2009). "Hudson's Super Bowl Lip-Sync No Surprise to Insiders". ABCNews.com. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
- "Was Whitney live, or was she Memorex?". The Daily Gazette Co. Associated Press. March 5, 1991. p. A6. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
- Jet. Johnson Publishing Company; February 18, 1991. p. 31.
- African Americans in the performing arts. Infobase Publishing; April 1, 2010 [Retrieved February 12, 2012]. ISBN 978-0-8160-7838-7. p. 116–.
- Jet. Johnson Publishing Company; June 17, 1991. p. 37.
- Blair, Tom. "The village verbiage collector". The San Diego Union. May 23, 1991. Page B1.
- Jennifer Hudson delivers on Super Bowl stage. The Washington Times. February 2, 2009 [Retrieved March 27, 2011]. News World Media Development.
- VH1. 100 Greatest Moments That Rocked TV (20–1).
- "Bill Clinton, Michael Jackson and The Beatles Hit the Top Slots on VH1 and TV Guide's '100 Moments That Rocked TV' Countdown" (Press release). VH1. January 9, 2003. Archived from the original on March 8, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Recording Industry Association of America. Gold & Platinum – Search Results for "The Star Spangled Banner" single and its video single; April 11, 1991 / October 3, 2001 [archived July 25, 2013; Retrieved March 17, 2011].
- Smith, Patricia. "Mom, apple pie and Whitney Houston in concert for troops". The Boston Globe April 1, 1991.
- Hodges, Anne. "Hope opens his home to U.S. troops". Houston Chronicle April 6, 1991.
- Connor, Tracy (March 5, 2012). "Whitney Houston and Jermaine Jackson had year-long love affair early in their careers: report". New York Daily News.
- Norment, Lynn (May 1991). "Whitney Houston talks about the men in her life – and the rumors, lies and insults that are the high price of fame". Ebony. Vol. 46 no. 7. Johnson Publishing Company. pp. 111–118. ISSN 0012-9011.
- Jet. Johnson Publishing Company; April 26, 1999. p. 60.
- "Warrant issued for Bobby Brown". CNN. January 16, 2003.
- Lee, Chris (February 12, 2012). "Inside Whitney Houston's Violent Marriage to Bobby Brown". Daily Beast.
- "Bobby Brown charged with battery". CNN. December 10, 2003. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
- Speidel, Maria (March 22, 1993). "Passages". People. Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved July 10, 2013.
- Bologna, Caroline (October 19, 2017). "50 Celebrities Who Opened Up About Their Miscarriages". Huffington Post. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
- Hollywood highlights: 25 movies with real impact. USA Today. July 2, 2007 [Retrieved October 30, 2011]. Gannett Company.
- Berkman, Meredith (February 5, 1993). "Up close with Whitney Houston". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
- The Bodyguard. The Washington Post. November 25, 1992 [Retrieved October 30, 2011].
- Review/Film: The Bodyguard; Tragic Flaw Meets Pampered Pop Star Over Multiple Risks. November 25, 1992 [Retrieved October 29, 2011].
- boxofficemojo.com. All Time Box Office Domestic Grosses [Retrieved January 12, 2010].
- Garwood, Bianca (October 13, 2017). "Whitney Houston Estate to Reissue 'The Bodyguard' Soundtrack for 25th Anniversary". EBONY.
- "Deep 10: Whitney Houston's The Bodyguard — Original Soundtra". GRAMMY.com. November 17, 2016.
- "Jazz, popular, etc". CD review digest. Vol. 7 no. 4. Peri Press. 1994. p. 174.
- Wenner Media. 100 Greatest Singers: Whitney Houston; November 2008 [archived July 12, 2012; Retrieved March 17, 2011].
- James T. Jones IV (November 17, 1992). "Houston heroic on 'Bodyguard' album". USA Today. Gannett Company. Archived from the original on July 25, 2012. Retrieved September 25, 2010.
- Whitney Houston Hits 4th `Triple'. January 15, 1993 [Retrieved March 17, 2011]. Tribune Company.
- The Recording Industry Association of America. RIAA certification for "I Will Always Love You" single; January 12, 1993 [archived July 25, 2013; Retrieved July 5, 2010].
- Billboard. Nielsen Business Media; April 11, 1998. p. 10.
- Battle of the Divas, Round 3; August 28, 2009 [Retrieved September 25, 2010].
- Galindo, Brian (March 13, 2013). "11 Fascinating Facts About The Song "I Will Always Love You"". BuzzFeed. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
- Geller, Wendy (February 21, 2014). "It Was 40 Years Ago: Dolly Parton Bids Adieu to Porter Wagoner, Writes 'I Will Always Love You'". Chart Watch. Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on September 24, 2014. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
- "Rock On The Net: Grammy Awards: Record of the Year". www.rockonthenet.com.
- Billboard. Nielsen Business Media; May 13, 2000. p. 110.
- Morning Report: Pop/Rock. December 31, 1992 [Retrieved September 1, 2010]. Tribune Company.
- "Whitney Houston gets a boost from Bodyguard". The Globe and Mail. January 1, 1993. Page C6.
- Houston Still Plugged In As Contender. March 19, 1993 [Retrieved October 29, 2011]:O. Tribune Company.
- Billboard. Nielsen Business Media; December 8, 2001. p. 85.
- Billboard. Nielsen Business Media; March 13, 1993 [Retrieved February 13, 2012]. p. 134–.
- Deseret Morning News. Soccer and music fans sound.
- The Bodyguard Soundtrack worldwide sales:
- Kimberly, Nordyke (October 30, 2017). "American Music Awards: Christina Aguilera to Honor Whitney Houston With 'Bodyguard' Tribute". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
- Patrick, Ryan (November 9, 2017). "Exclusive: Whitney Houston's 'Bodyguard' turns 25 with never-before-seen performance". USA Today. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
- Chuck, Crisafulli (May 15, 2017). "Deep 10: Whitney Houston's The Bodyguard — Original Soundtrack Album". Grammy. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
- Zach, Johnson (October 30, 2017). "Christina Aguilera Will Honor Whitney Houston and The Bodyguard's 25th Anniversary at the 2017 AMAs". E! News. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
- Bianca, Garwood (October 13, 2017). "Whitney Houston Estate to Reissue 'The Bodyguard' Soundtrack for 25th Anniversary". Ebony. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
- Ryan, Patrick. "Exclusive: Whitney Houston's 'Bodyguard' turns 25 with never-before-seen performance". USA TODAY.
- "This Is How The Biggest Movie Soundtrack Of All Time Got Made". BuzzFeed News.
- Jet. Johnson Publishing Company; February 28, 1994. p. 56.
- Reynolds, J.R. (March 26, 1994). "The Rhythm and the Blues: 8th Soul Train Awards Are Aglow With Stellar Performances, Star Appearances". Billboard. Vol. 106 no. 13. p. 34. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved June 29, 2010.
- Crittendon, Denise (February–March 1994). "Stars Shine At The NAACP Image Awards". The Crisis. Vol. 101 no. 2. p. 34. ISSN 0011-1422.
- Reynolds, J.R. (January 15, 1994). "The Rhythm and the Blues: Tupac's Loss May Preserve Awards' Image; New Indies Form Out West And Down South". Billboard. Vol. 106 no. 3. Nielsen Business Media. p. 15. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved June 29, 2010.
- Michael Jackson Shares Whitney Houston's Spotlight, Honors: Houston wins five NAACP Image Awards, but Jackson gets cheers in a show marked by controversy. January 7, 1994 [Retrieved June 29, 2010]. Tribune Company.
- Dezzani, Mark (May 21, 1994). "World Music Awards Gaining Stature". Billboard. Vol. 106 no. 21. Nielsen Business Media. p. 41. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved June 29, 2010.
- British Phonographic Industry. The BRITs 1994 Winners & Nominees; February 14, 1994 [Retrieved June 29, 2010].
- "Spielberg Dethrones Oprah As Highest-Paid Entertainer" The San Francisco Chronicle. September 12, 1994. Page C16.
- Steven Spielberg Is Mr. Entertainer. San Francisco Chronicle. December 24, 1994:D11. Hearst Corporation.
- Few women producers make the top 100 list. Telegram & Gazette. April 15, 1993:C2. The New York Times Company.
- Greeting Mandela with elegance and esteem. USA Today. October 5, 1994:D02. Gannett Company.
- White House Lionizes Mandela. The Free Lance–Star. October 5, 1994 [Retrieved June 12, 2011]:A8. The Free Lance–Star Publishing Company.
- HBO worth seeing. Cincinnati Post. November 9, 1994:7B. E. W. Scripps Company.
- "Whitney in South Africa". Ebony. Vol. 50 no. 4. Johnson Publishing Company. February 1995. pp. 116–124. ISSN 0012-9011.
- Farley, Christopher John (December 4, 1995). "No More Prissy". Time. Retrieved March 17, 2007.
- "Waiting to Exhale (1995)". Box Office Mojo. March 2, 1996. Retrieved June 13, 2010.
- African American Filmmakers, African American Films: A Bibliography of Materials in the UC Berkeley Library. Berkeley, CA: UC Berkeley Library. Retrieved February 15, 2008.
- Ascher-Walsh, Rebecca (August 14, 1998). "Back in the Groove?". Entertainment Weekly.
- LaPorte, Nicole (March 6, 2005). "Diary of a Mad Niche Hit". Variety. Archived from the original on March 8, 2009. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
- White, Jack E. (January 15, 1996). "Heavy Breathing". Time. Retrieved March 17, 2007.
- Holden, Stephen (December 22, 1995). "Waiting to Exhale (1995) Film Review;4 Divas Have Lots Of Fun Telling Off Mr. Wrong". The New York Times. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
- "The 27th NAAPC Image Awards Official Ballot". The Crisis. Vol. 103 no. 2. February 3, 1996. pp. 20–22. ISSN 0011-1422. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
- "'Waiting To Exhale' Celebrates 15 Years Today". BET.com.
- Entertainment Weekly. December 1, 1995. p. 73.
- Willman, Chris (October 12, 2001). "100 Best Movie Soundtracks". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on December 9, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2007.
- Billboard. Nielsen Business Media; July 15, 1995 [Retrieved February 15, 2012]. p. 38–.
- Laurence, Charles (December 14, 1996). "The Arts: The gospel according to Whitney". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved January 1, 2008.
- "Box office / Business for "The Preacher's Wife"". IMDb. Retrieved February 15, 2008.
- Stack, Peter (December 13, 1996). "Human Comedy's Divine in 'Preacher's Wife'". San Francisco Chronicle.
- "Ebony's 50th Anniversary Show, Denzel Washington Among NAACP Image Award Winners". Jet. Vol. 95 no. 15. Johnson Publishing Company. March 3, 1997. pp. 60–61. ISSN 0021-5996. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
- Susman, Gary (February 13, 2012). "Whitney Houston 1996 Interview Sheds Light on Movie Career, Personal Demons". Moviefone. AOL. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
- Jones, Steve (November 26, 1996). "'Preacher's Wife' steeped in the spirit". USA Today. Archived from the original on February 28, 2005. Retrieved January 13, 2010.
- "The Preacher's Wife Soundtrack Reviews". The Times. UK. Archived from the original on March 7, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2010.
- Lewittes, Michael (December 21, 1996). "WHITNEY MISCARRIES THIRD TIME". New York Daily News. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
- "Whitney scores as producer and star". Ebony Magazine. November 1997. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
- Purdum, Todd S. (November 2, 1997). "Television; The Slipper Still Fits, Though the Style Is New". The New York Times.
- "Whitney & Brandy in 'Cinderella.' – updated version of 'Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella' – includes related article on producer and actress Whitney Houston". Ebony. November 1997. Archived from the original on October 16, 2015.
- Carter, Bill (November 5, 1997). "TV Notes; Happy Ending For 'Cinderella'". The New York Times. p. 7.
- "Cinderella: Emmy Nominations". classicwhitney.com. July 23, 1998. Retrieved January 13, 2010.
- "Whitney Houston To Take On "Christie Love". MTV News. April 9, 1997.
- "Streetwise Houston tries new approach Singer's tour hits town Monday" (Article ID: R00018180056). The Washington Times. July 3, 1999.
- Samuels, Anita M. (March 14, 1998). "Badu Heads Soul Train; Singer Picks Up 4 Awards". Billboard. Vol. 110 no. 11. Nielsen Business Media. p. 10. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved June 30, 2010.
- Don Cornelius Productions, Inc. Soul Train Music Awards Library: 1998 The 12th Soul Train Music Awards; February 27, 1998 [archived July 25, 2013; Retrieved June 30, 2010].
- "The Billboard 200 chart listing for the week of December 5, 1998". Billboard. Vol. 110 no. 49. Nielsen Business Media. December 5, 1998. p. 126. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved October 29, 2011.
- Newman, Melinda (October 31, 1998). "Houston Finds a New Groove with Arista Set". Billboard. Vol. 110 no. 44. Nielsen Business Media. pp. 1, 86. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved October 29, 2011.
- Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The 71st Academy Awards (1999) Nominees and Winners; March 21, 1999 [Retrieved October 29, 2011].
- MTV Network. 1999 MTV Video Music Awards; September 9, 1999 [Retrieved July 3, 2010].
- National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Past Winners Search: Whitney Houston; February 23, 2000 [Retrieved October 29, 2011].
- ""My Love Is Your Love" single; triple platinum worldwide". Billboard. Vol. 111 no. 47. Nielsen Business Media. November 20, 1999. p. 137. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved September 25, 2010.
- Whitney Houston Billboard chart history [Retrieved October 29, 2011].
- The Official Charts Company. Artist Chart History: Whitney Houston [archived September 17, 2012; Retrieved October 29, 2011].
- Vibe. Vibe Media Group; April 1999. p. 60.
- Vince Aletti, "Look Who's Ticking", The Village Voice, December 8, 1998
- AllBusiness.com. Whitney Houston World Tour '99 Becomes Europe's Highest Grossing Arena Tour of the Year; October 19, 1999 [archived July 25, 2009; Retrieved October 29, 2011].
- "US city makes $100,000 Whitney claim". BBCNews.com. August 26, 1999. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
- Recording Industry Association of America. The American Recording Industry Announces its Artists of the Century; November 10, 1999 [archived July 24, 2011; Retrieved July 23, 2010].
- MTV. TLC Nominated For Three Soul Train Music Awards; February 11, 2000 [Retrieved July 4, 2010].
- Mitchell, Gail (March 18, 2000). "TLC Rides Soul Train". Billboard. Vol. 112 no. 12. Nielsen Business Media. p. 20. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved July 4, 2010.
- Entertainment: Dublin gears up for MTV show. November 11, 1999 [Retrieved July 3, 2010]. BBC News Online.
- Prometheus Global Media. Spears Tops 1999 MTV Europe Music Awards; November 12, 1999 [archived November 5, 2012; Retrieved July 2, 2010].
- MTV Network. Bono Honored As Britney Spears Dominates MTV Europe Awards; November 12, 1999 [Retrieved July 3, 2010].
- "The Billboard 200 chart listing for the week of June 3, 2000". Billboard. Vol. 112 no. 23. Nielsen Business Media. June 3, 2000. p. 116. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved October 29, 2011.
- "Hits of the World". Billboard. Vol. 112 no. 25. Nielsen Business Media. June 17, 2000. pp. 72–73. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved October 29, 2011.
- "Reviews & Previews: Spotlight". Billboard. Vol. 112 no. 21. Nielsen Business Media. May 20, 2000. p. 26. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved October 29, 2011.
- Allmusic.com. Whitney: The Greatest Hits review [Retrieved October 29, 2011].
- Recording Industry Association of America. RIAA Gold & Platinum searchable database [Retrieved October 29, 2011].
- Prometheus Global Media. Florida Orchestra Sues Arista Over Anthem; December 17, 2001 [Retrieved October 29, 2011].
- Whitney Houston biography; 2012 [archived December 9, 2009; Retrieved February 12, 2012].
- Larry McShane, "Whitney Houston Gets Bad Press", The Washington Post, April 6, 2000.
- Vanhorn, Teri (January 17, 2000). "Whitney Houston reportedly Escapes Drug Arrest in Hawaii". MTV News.
- "Whitney Houston Faces Charges". CBS News. September 29, 2000.
- "Fears for Whitney Houston Grow". TCM Breaking News. September 11, 2001. Archived from the original on September 24, 2009.
- Dansby, Andrew (June 7, 2000). "Whitney Insider Tells of Drug Use, Failed Intervention". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on May 27, 2009.
- Movie & TV News @ IMDb.com, "Houston's Oscar Confusion", December 23, 2004. Houston was replaced at that Oscar telecast by singer Faith Hill.
- Diane Sawyer, Interview, ABC Primetime, December 4, 2002 (transcript available here ).
- "Whitney Houston First Tried Cocaine at 14 Years Old Says Best Friend Robyn Crawford in New Memoir". PEOPLE.com.
- Lafranco, Robert. The Rolling Stone Money Report; July 4, 2002 [archived 2007-02-04; Retrieved January 15, 2010].
- "Whitney Houston Signs $100 Million Contract with Arista Records". Jet. August 20, 2001. p. 18.
- Mitchell, Gail (December 14, 2002). "Arista Aims New Houston Album At 'Core Urban' Fans". Billboard. Nielson Business Media.
- Knolle, Sharon (September 13, 2001). "Reports of Whitney Houston's Death Denied". ABC News. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
- Winfrey, Oprah (September 2009). "Remembering Whitney: The Oprah Winfrey Interview" (video). Oprah Winfrey Network. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
- Holloway, Lynette (November 11, 2002). "In Switch, Whitney Houston Has to Sell an Album". The New York Times'. p. C0009.
- Reid, Shaheem (September 17, 2001). "Whitney Houston's 'Star-Spangled Banner' To Wave Again". MTV Networks (Viacom). Retrieved July 27, 2019.
- Vineyard, Jennifer (October 8, 2002). "Whitney Houston Sued For $100 Million By Dad's Company". MTV. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
- "Whitney Houston is sued for $100 million by her father's entertainment company". Jet. October 28, 2002. p. 64.
- Friedman, Roger (February 10, 2003). "Whitney and Bobby No-Shows at Dad's Funeral". Fox News. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
- "Judge throws out Houston lawsuit". BBC News Online. April 15, 2004. Retrieved January 15, 2008.
- "Crack is Wack, 1986". The Keith Haring Foundation. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
- "Just Whitney" by Whitney Houston". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
- Vibe. Vibe Media Group; September 2003. p. 186.
- "RIAA Certification Searchable Database". RIAA. January 10, 2003. Archived from the original on June 26, 2007. Retrieved January 13, 2010.
- Norment, Lynn (June 2003). "L. A. Reid: The Most Powerful Black In The Music Business". Ebony. Johnson Publishing Company. pp. 124–. ISSN 0012-9011.
- Nero, Mark Edward (May 24, 2019). "10 Great R&B Christmas Songs". Live About. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
- Cashmere, Paul (September 17, 2004). "Whitney Back With Clive Davis". Archived from the original on July 9, 2012.
- Barry Garron, "'Being Bobby Brown' Is Disgusting", MSNBC, June 29, 2005.
- Steve Rogers, "Report: Bravo's 'Being Bobby Brown' coming back for second season", RealityTV World, October 31, 2005.
- "Brown Reality Show Cancelled", SFGate, The Daily Dish, January 10, 2007.
- "Whitney Houston Files for Divorce From Bobby Brown". The Hollywood Reporter. Associated Press. October 18, 2006. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
- "Whitney wants to speed up her divorce". USA Today. February 1, 2007. Retrieved October 5, 2008.
- Breuer, Howard; Keith, Amy (April 5, 2007). "Whitney Houston Wins Custody in Divorce From Bobby Brown". People. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
- Listing for 1014 Tullamore Place in Fulton County, Georgia, tax records City-Data.com
- Keith, Amy Elisa (May 11, 2007). "Bobby Brown Sues Whitney Houston for Custody, Spousal Support". People. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
- Brown Cannot Overturn Houston Divorce Terms After Court No-Show, "The Daily Dish!", SFGate, January 7, 2008
- "Whitney Houston to Tell All On Oprah" CBS, August 20, 2009. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
- "Whitney Houston – Houston Details Drug Use: 'We Laced Marijuana With Rock Cocaine". Contact Music. September 15, 2009. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
- Moody, Nekesa Mumbi (February 11, 2012). "Whitney Houston, pop superstar, dies in Beverly Hills hotel". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on February 15, 2012.
- Winfrey, Oprah (September 2009). "Remembering Whitney: The Oprah Winfrey Interview" (video). Oprah Winfrey Network. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
I did my stint. You do your 30 days. I went to one where I could take my child with me. Everywhere I just had to have her with me. I wanted her to understand. I didn't lie to her. I couldn't.
- Winfrey, Oprah (September 2009). "Remembering Whitney: The Oprah Winfrey Interview" (video). Oprah Winfrey Network. p. 40:02 minutes. Retrieved April 21, 2010.
I see the love and the passion that my mother had for me and she walks in with these sheriffs and she says 'I have a court junction [sic] here. Either you do it my way or we're just not going to do this at all. We're going to go on TV and you're going to retire and say you're going to give this up. Because this is not worth it. It's not worth it. And if you move, Bobby [Brown], [these officers are] going to take you down. Don't you make one move. Let's go. Let's do this. I'm not losing you to the world. I'm not losing you to Satan. I want my daughter back. I'm not doing this. I want my daughter back. I want you back. I want to see that glow in your eyes, that light in your eyes. I want to see the child I raised. You weren't raised like this. And I'm not having it.'
- Otis, Ginger Adams (January 26, 2013). "Cissy Houston details daughter Whitney's decline in new book". Daily News. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
- Marikar, Sheila (September 14, 2009). "Whitney Houston Reveals Dark Days With Bobby Brown: 'He Spit on Me'". ABC News. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
- Parade (September 16, 2009). "Whitney Houston Staying Sober 'One Day at a Time'". Parade.
- "Whitney Houston Album Due Out Sept. 1; 'American Idol' Auditions Kick Off". VOA News. Voice of America. June 9, 2009. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
- Singh, Anita (October 20, 2009). "Whitney Houston's weird performance on The X-Factor gives her top five hit". The Telegraph. Retrieved October 20, 2009.
- Harmsworth, Andrei (October 23, 2009). "Whitney Houston sparkles on Italian X Factor". Metro. Associated Newspapers. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
- whitneyhouston.com. 'I Look To You' Album Certified Platinum; December 1, 2009 [Retrieved January 13, 2010].
- ""Whitney Houston" 25th Anniversary". Official Whitney Houston Site. Sony Music Entertainment. November 20, 2009. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
- "This just in: Whitney Houston disappoints in Australia, Charlie Sheen enters rehab, Placido Domingo to undergo surgery". The Washington Post. February 24, 2010. Retrieved June 13, 2010.
- "Whitney cancels more shows". ITN. April 7, 2010. Archived from the original on July 11, 2012. Retrieved June 13, 2010.
- Goldsmith, Belinda (April 6, 201). "Due To Illness". Billboard. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
- "High: A Lifetime of Achievements (2010) from Whitney Houston's Highs & Lows". E! Online.
- "2010 BET Honors". Essence. January 16, 2010. Archived from the original on November 23, 2019. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
- Childs, Joy (December 17, 2010). "Whitney Houston, Kim Burrell Turn BET's Celebration of Gospel Out". Los Angeles Sentinel. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
- D'Zurilla, Christie (May 9, 2011). "Whitney Houston in outpatient rehab for alcohol, drugs". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
- Kit, Borys. Billboard. September 12, 2011. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
- Stransky, Tanner (September 12, 2011). "Whitney Houston circling 'Sparkle' musical remake with Jordin Sparks". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
- Kit, Borys (September 12, 2011). "Whitney Houston in Talks to Star in Music-Themed Drama 'Sparkle' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
- Sneider, Jeff (September 23, 2011). "Cee-Lo Green joins 'Sparkle' cast". Variety. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
- Sneider, Jeff (December 8, 2011). "Sony dates a trio of pics". Variety.[permanent dead link]
- Ballhorn, Kelly (May 21, 2012). "WORLD PREMIERE: Whitney Houston & Jordin Sparks Duet 'Celebrate' From 'Sparkle' [AUDIO]". ryanseacrest.com. Archived from the original on May 21, 2012. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
- "Whitney Houston dead: She was spotted displaying erratic behavior". LA Times. February 11, 2012. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
- "A Timeline of Whitney Houston's Final Days". ABC News. February 12, 2012. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
- Kennedy, Helen (February 12, 2012). "Whitney Houston caught on film bleeding, looking disheveled leaving pre-Grammy party Thursday night". ABC News. Daily News. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
- McKay, Hollie (February 11, 2012). "Whitney Houston dead: She was spotted displaying erratic behavior". LA Times. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
- "Whitney Houston's erratic behavior had been building over a week, source says". Fox News. February 13, 2012. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
- Investigators seek answers to Houston's death. ABC News 4. February 13, 2012 [Retrieved February 14, 2012]. WorldNow.[dead link]
- Grammys 2012: Clive Davis sets the stage for Brandy/Monica redux. Los Angeles Times Blogs. February 13, 2012 [Retrieved February 13, 2012].
- MSNBC. Watch Whitney Houston's final performance; February 12, 2012 [archived February 14, 2012; Retrieved February 13, 2012].
- Yahoo! News. Whitney Houston's 'haunting' last performance; February 13, 2012 [Retrieved February 13, 2012].
- Whitney Houston was found underwater in bathtub, police say. February 13, 2012 [Retrieved February 13, 2012].
- Boca Raton, Florida: American Media; 2012. (one-time newsstand collector's publication) Pg. 37: "434: The room number at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles in which she was found dead on Feb 11, 2012."
- Whitney Houston's death: Medics performed CPR for about 20 minutes. Los Angeles Times. [Retrieved February 12, 2012].
- Whitney Houston, Iconic Pop Star, Dies at 48. ABC News. February 12, 2012 [Retrieved February 22, 2012].
- CNN. Music exec: Whitney Houston looked 'healthy and beautiful' days earlier; February 12, 2012 [Retrieved February 12, 2012].
- CNN. Coroner: Drowning, heart disease, cocaine use killed Houston; March 22, 2012 [Retrieved March 22, 2012].
- Whitney Houston drowned after cocaine use, says coroner. March 22, 2012 [Retrieved March 23, 2012]. BBC.
- MSNBC. Coroner: Whitney Houston died of accidental drowning; March 22, 2012 [archived March 23, 2012; Retrieved March 23, 2012].
- Houston died from drowning, coroner says. March 22, 2012 [Retrieved March 22, 2012]. Associated Press (via Y! Music).
- Whitney Houston: Final coroner's report. April 4, 2012 [Retrieved April 6, 2012].
- abcnews.go.com. Whitney Houston Funeral: Singer Laid to Rest [Retrieved February 19, 2012].
- NJ.com. Whitney Houston's funeral: Love and humor dominate remembrances of pop superstar; November 1, 2011 [Retrieved February 19, 2012].
- Fred Groser. Whitney Houston funeral notable moments and celebrities; February 18, 2012 [Retrieved February 20, 2012].
- OnTheRedCarpet.com. Whitney Houston funeral: Bobby Brown leaves shortly after service began; February 19, 2012 [archived February 19, 2012; Retrieved February 19, 2012].
- Whitney Houston to be buried in Westfield: A Jersey girl comes home. February 18, 2012 [Retrieved February 18, 2012].
- McCall, Tris (May 12, 2012), "At Gospelfest, big tributes for Whitney Houston", The Star-Ledger, retrieved October 15, 2012
- Clive Davis: Whitney Houston would have wanted the music to go on. Los Angeles Times. February 12, 2012 [Retrieved February 12, 2012].
- Tony Bennett calls for legalization of drugs. Toronto Sun. February 12, 2012 [Retrieved February 14, 2012].
- BET Interactive. Chaka Khan: Clive Davis Should Have Canceled His Party; February 14, 2012 [Retrieved February 17, 2012].
- Digital Spy. Sharon Osbourne slams Clive Davis party after Whitney Houston death; February 16, 2012 [Retrieved February 17, 2012].
- Bob Considine/The Star-Ledger. "Whitney Houston's talent was evident in her childhood years, singer Darlene Love recalls". NJ.com. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
- Singer Whitney Houston dies at 48. February 12, 2012 [Retrieved February 12, 2012]. CNN.
- Mariah Carey, Diddy, Others React to Whitney Houston's Death; February 12, 2012 [Retrieved February 12, 2012].
- Celebs react to Whitney Houston death: 'Please tell me it's not true'. Entertainment Weekly. February 11, 2012 [Retrieved February 17, 2012].
- Idolator. 'SNL' Showcases Karmin, Honors Whitney Houston; February 12, 2012 [Retrieved February 12, 2012].
- The Daily Beast. 'SNL' Honors Whitney Houston; February 12, 2012 [Retrieved February 12, 2012].
- Bobby Brown Says 'I Love You, Whitney' During Emotional Concert; February 12, 2012.
- Singer Whitney Houston found dead. February 12, 2012. FoxNews.
- Grammys honor 'fallen sister' Houston. February 13, 2012. NYP Holdings.
- Grammys salute late icon: 'Whitney, we will always love you'. CNN. February 12, 2012 [archived February 16, 2012]. Turner Broadcasting System.
- Kaufman, Gil (February 13, 2012). "Grammy Ratings Up Thanks To Adele, Whitney Houston Tribute". MTV.com. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
- NAACP Image Awards tributes Whitney Houston, hands prizes to 'The Help' and George Lucas; February 18, 2012.
- Telegraph Media Group. Brit Awards 2012: Rhianna and Bruno Mars win international gongs at Brit Awards 2012; February 22, 2012.
- Michigan man burns N.J. state flag to protest lowering of flags for Whitney Houston. February 20, 2012. Associated Press.
- Viacom International. Whitney Houston, Elizabeth Taylor Remembered At Oscars; February 27, 2012.
- Guardian Media Group. Academy pays tribute to Whitney Houston at Oscars; February 27, 2012.
- Apple Music
- "Bebe Rexha Samples Whitney Houston On New Single". idolator. May 2, 2017. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
- "Listen: Bebe Rexha channels Whitney Houston on 'The Way I Are' featuring Lil Wayne". AXS. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
- "Lil Wayne & Bebe Rexha Pay Homage To Whitney Houston On New Single "The Way I Are"". genius.com. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
- Rock 'n' roll: Gold rush: a singles un-encyclopedia. Algora Publishing; June 1, 2003. ISBN 978-0-87586-207-1. p. 87.
- Powers, Ann. "Album Review: Whitney Houston's 'I Look To You'". Los Angeles Times. August 25, 2009
- Times UK. Whitney Houston: the life, death and rebirth of a pop princess [Retrieved February 5, 2012].
- "Blender Magazine's 22 Greatest Voices". Blender. Retrieved January 13, 2010.
- COVE. 100 Outstanding Pop Vocalists [archived September 11, 2009; Retrieved January 13, 2010].
- POP REVIEWS: Part Divas, Part Goddesses: 2 Women of Glamour and Music; Whitney Houston At Radio City [Retrieved June 4, 2012].
- Jann S. Wenne. Photos: Ten Incredible Whitney Houston Performances; February 13, 2012 [archived February 15, 2012; Retrieved February 18, 2012].
- Ahmed, Tufayel (August 5, 2016). "Whitney Houston's 'One Moment In Time': The Anatomy of an Olympic Anthem". Newsweek. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
- A Voice of Triumph, the Queen of Pain. February 12, 2012 [Retrieved February 18, 2012].
- Group, Vibe Media (November 1998). "Higher and Higher". Vibe. Vol. 6 no. 9. p. 95. ISSN 1070-4701. Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- BBC. Whitney Houston and the art of melisma; February 15, 2012 [Retrieved February 20, 2012].
- "If Ella Fitzgerald is the queen of jazz, Billie Holiday first lady of the blues, and Aretha Franklin the queen of soul, then who is the queen of pop? In the 1990s, it would seem to be a three-way tie between Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and Celine Dion. Certainly all three have their devotees and detractors, but their presence has been inescapable." in Lister, Linda (2001). "Divafication: The Deification of Modern Female Pop Stars". Popular Music and Society. 25 (3/4). p. 1. ISSN 0300-7766.
- Holden, Stephen. Review/Pop; For Whitney Houston, Showy Doesn't Count: The Show Is the Voice. The New York Times. July 22, 1993 [Retrieved March 13, 2011].
- Oh, Whitney – for Heaven's Sake; November 24, 1996 [Retrieved March 6, 2011].
- Perry, Caroline (August 12, 2012). "Whitney's bitter pill". NYPost.com. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
- Connelly, Chris (February 17, 2012). "Whitney Houston Insider Reveals Singer's Anguished Fight to Win Back Her Voice". ABCNews.com. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
- "Whitney Houston". Headliners and Legends. NBC. August 8, 2000.
- Baker And The Rise Of Black Women In Pop. Los Angeles Times. January 18, 1987 [Retrieved March 26, 2011]. Tribune Company.
- AllMusic. Whitney Houston Biography [Retrieved October 16, 2010].
- Holden, Stephen. "The Pop Life; 1986, A Musically Conservative Year". The New York Times. December 31, 1986.
- Holden, Stephen. "Review/Pop; Diana Ross Flirts With a Willing Audience". The New York Times. June 16, 1989.
- Whitney Houston, the greatest voice of her generation. The Independent. February 17, 2012 [Retrieved February 20, 2012]. Independent Print.
- Whitney Houston to perform in Seoul. The Korea Herald. March 29, 2010 [Retrieved February 12, 2012].
- Jann S. Wenner. Whitney Houston Biography; 2001 [Retrieved October 16, 2010].
- "50 Most Influential RnB Stars". Essence. June 21, 2011. Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. Retrieved July 1, 2011.
- Whitney Houston obituary; February 2012 [Retrieved February 12, 2012].
- ABC News Internet Ventures. From Beyonce to Gaga: 8 Singers Influenced by Whitney Houston – Celine Dion; February 16, 2012 [Retrieved February 20, 2012].
- "Toni Braxton Talks About Her Hit Love Songs, Sexy Image and Religious Background". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. January 17, 1994. Retrieved October 17, 2010.
- "Lady Gaga 'Started To Cry' When She First Heard 'Marry The Night'". MTV. MTV Networks. May 27, 2011. Archived from the original on July 27, 2011. Retrieved July 15, 2011.
- Rodman Sarah. "Teen queen Aguilera belts 'em out like Whitney Houston". Boston Herald. September 5, 1999. Page 064
- IBTimes Staff Reporter. The International Business Times. LeAnn Rimes Performs Whitney Houston Tribute of 'I Will Always Love You'; February 14, 2012 [Retrieved February 20, 2012].
- Bandbiographies.com. Jessica Simpson Biography; July 10, 1980 [archived February 14, 2012; Retrieved February 12, 2012].
- Jessicasimpsonlive.info. Jessica simpson online – Actress Singer Photo gallery wallpapers biography [archived February 22, 2012; Retrieved January 2, 2012].
- "Artist Influences for Kelly Clarkson". MTV Artists. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
- "Everybody Talk About Pop Music!". MTV. August 2001.
- Good Morning America. ABC. August 20, 2009.
- Vera, Hernán (November 11, 2014). "Aneeka, una nueva voz venezolana al mundo". El Nuevo Herald (in Spanish). The McClatchy Company. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
- ABC News Internet Ventures. From Beyonce to Gaga: 8 Singers Influenced by Whitney Houston – Ashanti; February 16, 2012 [Retrieved February 20, 2012].
- Cordova, Randy. "R&B singer-songwriter Robin Thicke follows his own tune". Arizona Republic. March 4, 2009.
- "Artist Influences for Jennifer Hudson". MTV Artists. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
- "Artist Influences for Stacie Orrico". MTV Artists. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
- Hall, Rashaun (July 27, 2002). "Amerie Offers 'All' She Has". Billboard. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
- Roberts, Damone (October 7, 2010). "Beauty 101: Kelly Rowland's Next Chapter". Essence. Archived from the original on November 12, 2010. Retrieved October 17, 2010.
- "ARIANA GRANDE COVERS Whitney Houston AT THE WHITE HOUSE". rap-up.com. Rap-Up.com. March 7, 2014. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
- ABC News Internet Ventures. Beyoncé From Beyonce to Gaga: 8 Singers Influenced by Whitney Houston – Beyoncé; February 16, 2012 [Retrieved February 20, 2012].
- 1st Annual BET Awards. Black Entertainment Television. June 19, 2001.
- Yahoo! Music. Brandy On Whitney Houston's Self-Titled Debut: Black Music Month Album Spotlight No. 15; June 25, 2010 [Retrieved October 17, 2010].
- "Celebrating Black Music". Ebony. Vol. 61 no. 8. Johnson Publishing Company. June 2006. p. 166. ISSN 0012-9011. Retrieved March 17, 2011.
- Mitchell, Gail (November 14, 2009). "The Elements of Style". Billboard. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
- Leona Lewis' Spirited chart bid. The Boston Globe. October 19, 2007 [Retrieved October 18, 2010].
- Newman, Melinda. "Jennifer Hudson to 'surprise duet' at Davis party". The Associated Press. February 6, 2008.
- Whitney Houston to Take the Stage at the AMAs; November 11, 2009 [archived August 16, 2011; Retrieved March 17, 2011].
- Pop Music Review: Houston Tops Off Record Night With Show's Highlight. Los Angeles Times. December 10, 1993 [Retrieved March 17, 2011].
- Dezzani, Mark (May 21, 1994). "World Music Awards Gaining Stature". Billboard. Vol. 106 no. 21. Nielsen Business Media. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
- VH1. The Greatest " Ep. 071 "50 Greatest Women of the Video Era"; May 17, 2003 [archived June 29, 2011; Retrieved March 17, 2011].
- "The 200 Greatest Pop Culture Icons Complete Ranked List" (Press release). VH1. July 21–25, 2003. Archived from the original on May 1, 2017. Retrieved March 17, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Nielsen Business Media. The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists; 2008 [archived January 16, 2013; Retrieved March 17, 2011].
- Cabaret: Whitney Houston. The New York Times. February 16, 1985 [Retrieved January 13, 2009].
- Blog.vh1.com. Who Will Come Out On Top Of VH1's 100 Greatest Artists Of All Time? | Vh1 Blog; August 25, 2010 [archived August 23, 2012; Retrieved November 11, 2010].
- Nielsen Business Media. Top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years; November 18, 2010 [Retrieved March 17, 2011].
- "Billboard 110 Years: A Billboard Anniversary Salute". Billboard. November 27, 2004. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
- Black Power, Plus Phantom Menace DVD will compete with pirated edit, another movie ad scandal, and more; June 22, 2001 [Retrieved January 12, 2010].
- "Was Whitney Houston broke when she died?". NBC News.
- "Whitney Houston's financial worth after death". www.cbsnews.com.
- "Gold & Platinum". RIAA. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
- Ebony. Johnson Publishing Company; June 1990 [Retrieved February 13, 2012]. p. 138–.
- "2013 Inductees". New Jersey Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on April 17, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
- "Search - Whitney Houston". RIAA.com. Retrieved December 7, 2019.
- "R&B Music Hall of Fame sets big weekend to induct sophomore class featuring Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Marvin Gaye, Norm N. Nite and more". Cleveland.com. The Plain Dealer. August 19, 2014. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
- "Class of 2020 Nominees". Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
- Coscarelli, Joe (January 15, 2020). "Whitney Houston and Nine Inch Nails Make the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame". New York Times. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
- Turner, Houston, Village People honored by Library of Congress - CNN Video, retrieved March 29, 2020
- "First-Time Director Angela Bassett Defends Her Whitney Houston Biopic – ABC News". abcnews.go.com. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
- "6 Things We Learned From the Heartbreaking Whitney Houston Movie". EW.com.
- Farber, Jim (April 26, 2017). "Nick Broomfield on his damning Whitney Houston film: 'She had very little control over her life'" – via www.theguardian.com.
- "Whitney Houston's life to be documented on film". BBC News. April 28, 2016. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
- "Whitney Houston film trailer: Biopic reveals all in HEARTBREAKING new home videos". April 5, 2018.
- "A Whitney Houston Biopic Is Officially In the Works". Vibe. April 23, 2020. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
- Tonya Pendleton (April 23, 2020). "Whitney Houston biopic planned with 'Photograph' director possibly on board". The Grio. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
- Tom Beasley (April 23, 2020). "Whitney Houston is getting a family-approved movie biopic". Yahoo! News. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
- Mia Galuppo (December 15, 2020). "Whitney Houston Biopic Finds Its Star in Naomi Ackie". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
- Rebecca Rubin (December 15, 2020). "Whitney Houston Biopic Casts Naomi Ackie in Lead Role". Variety. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
- Ammons, Kevin; Bacon, Nancy (1998). Good Girl, Bad Girl: An Insider's Biography of Whitney Houston. Secaucus, NJ: Carol Publ. Group. ISBN 9780806580128.
- Bowman, Jeffery (1995). Diva: The Totally Unauthorized Biography of Whitney Houston. New York: Harper. ISBN 9780061008535.
- Halstead, Craig (2010). Whitney Houston: For the Record. Sandy, Bedfordshire, UK: Authors OnLine. ISBN 9780755212781. OCLC 751138536.
- Houston, Whitney (March 1999). My Love Is Your Love: Piano, Vocal, Chords. Los Angeles, Calif.: Alfred Publishing Co. ISBN 978-0-7692-7734-9.
- Parish, James Robert (September 2003). Whitney Houston: The Unauthorized Biography. London: Aurum Press. ISBN 978-1-85410-921-7.
- Parish, James Robert (April 2010). Whitney Houston: Return of the Diva. Chicago: John Blake. ISBN 978-1-84454-919-1.