Turns out I’m not the only one with a fascination with Whitney Houston. Well, clearly. Kevin Macdonald’s new film ‘Whitney’ is showing and it didn’t take a new film about her being made to make me think of her. I have Whitney in most of my Youtube playlists. When I’m out with the girls if we hear ‘I wanna dance with somebody’ we give each other a knowing look, toss our drinks to the side and clamber for the dancefloor. It’s such a club banger, guaranteed to lift any mood. Hell, when I was at uni and the neighbours were annoying me with bad tunes, I said to my roommate ‘I’m gonna bust out some Whitney to sort this.’ If in doubt – always Whitney.
When I watch her music videos and her interviews I still get emotional. In the Diane Sawyer interview, where she famously claimed ‘crack is whack’ she seemed defiant but also with a clear sign of the demons – I would venture she was on something before that interview. She even said ‘the devil is in me’ in response to questions about addiction. What makes all of her issues seem even more layered are the sensational claims that she was abused by her cousin; Dee Dee Warwick. To be honest when I heard this, I thought it all made perfect sense. I am no psychologist, but the evidence suggests that a lot of the time, those who are abused tend to self medicate. Well, who wouldn’t? I am guessing all you want to do is dull out those horrible memories and the ghastly feelings they stir up. And to make matters worse? It was a member of her own family for F sake.
It still irks me a little bit that I discovered of her passing in an ex boyfriend’s tweet. My brother, living in America at the time, had texted me to say I was in for a ‘big shock.’ He had sent it whilst I was asleep (time difference) and I had got up to pee. I went on the internet and typed in ‘news’ but weirdly that didn’t come up. And whilst scrolling twitter saw the tweet. I was gutted. Honestly heartbroken. I had grown up with Whitney. I watched The Bodyguard with my friends at my first ‘big girl party’ and fell in love… with both of them. Any critic who didn’t enjoy the film, clearly didn’t understand it. I saw a ridiculous review that said they didn’t ‘see these two together, and they were working hard to seem like a pair’ to me that just says this person was trying to hide their thinly veiled racism about an interracial couple (this was a big deal at the time, 1992 unbelievably.) The chemistry between Houston and Costner sizzles – and the movie went on to make over $400 million at the box office, with the soundtrack becoming the best selling soundtrack of all time, selling more than 45 million copies worldwide.Make of that what you will.
Six years later after she’s gone, I still can’t seem to get enough of her songs, her beautiful face, and that bejewelled voice. I honestly think she has the best voice I have ever heard. Her control and range is insane. Truly. Try and listen to anyone else attempt her songs. None of these X factor wannabes who copy her every year, come anywhere close to her talent. She is so gorgeous as well. Her stunning light cocoa skin, dark doe eyes and broad smile. She is one of the few stars that has that je nais se quois– where you can’t take your eyes off her – you want to know what she is going to do next, such is her magnetism.
Someone like Taylor Swift, I find dull as dishwater. I couldn’t get obsessed with her because she is so boring (to me anyway – not trying to hate, opinions and all that.) But I would say I am definitely obsessed with Whitney Houston in some way. I can’t scroll any of her songs even though I have heard them a thousand times. I can’t not watch her music videos, just because I have to drink in her talent and beauty. In fact, as I write this, I’m listening to a Whitney playlist on Youtube.
It’s interesting that she didn’t have much confidence when filming The Bodyguard. I guess her expertise was the music and not necessarily acting, but still, I would have imagined her to feel untouchable when it came to something else in the entertainment field. Kevin Costner, a brilliant actor and a person who is extremely reticent, actually spoke at her funeral. He said she doubted herself; wondered if people would like her performance. He said ‘they didn’t like you Whitney, they loved you.’ She also admitted in her interview with Oprah, that ‘every day I wanted to quit. I didn’t think I could do it.’ This surprises me in some ways, in other ways it makes sense because of everything else going on. When watching he Oprah interview, my first thought was how fragile she was ; her raspy voice, her thin frame; still beautiful of course.
I know we can’t play this game, but I always wonder where these people’s loved ones/ friends/ people who give a shit were when things like this happen? There’s footage of Whitney, clearly intoxicated, barging into an interview with her manager Clive Davis and Brandy, swaying and kissing everyone, even passing a note to a very confused Brandy, in the 24 hrs before she passed away. I even saw an interview with one of her entourage who admittedly mumbled ‘we weren’t supposed to let her have baths because of this reason.’ Well then, what the hell. Back in uni, I got very drunk, and ended up being sick on myself (it’s actually a hilarious story I promise) anyway – I decided I wanted a shower so I went in the bathroom , locked the door and started running a shower but the pressure was crap, and even as off my tits as I was, I wanted a proper rinse so I ran a bath. My friend was downstairs getting a snack. It was about 3am in the morning. The next thing I know. My friend has burst the door open and I wake up – having just fallen asleep in the bath. She was really angry. ‘What the hell are you doing? You could drown.’ She dragged me naked out of the bath and put me to bed. I probably would have drowned in all honesty. But someone was looking out for me. And that was just tequilas. Everyone around Whitney, they knew she was on coke. They knew she was struggling, vulnerable, emotionally ravaged. Instead of leeching off her, it would have been nice if someone could have actually cared about the person, not just living in the orbit of the ‘star.’ I Just find it really irresponsible/ careless and it really bothers me.
I also hadn’t realised she had had a few miscarriages, one famously whilst shooting The Bodyguard. How sad for her. It’s even more tragic that her daughter Bobbi Kristina followed the same suit.
I haven’t seen the film yet, but I plan to. Any excuse to hear that voice and absorb the magic, that only Whitney Houston has. I use the present tense, because her music goes on, in more ways than one <3
‘Whitney’ is showing at selected cinemas now.
‘The Bodyguard’ is showing on Amazon Prime.
Interviews with Diane Sawyer and Oprah, on Youtube.