Whitney Houston: A career perspective

Craig Miller, Centurion Staff

On Feb. 11, 2012, internationally known pop and soul singer Whitney Houston was found dead in a Beverly Hills hotel bathtub.
Her career began as a child in her church’s gospel choir. She then went to New York City with her mother to share her talents on a larger scale, becoming a singer in the Michael Zager Band.  Her voice was prominently featured in the song “Life’s A Party,” as well as others such as “I’m Every Woman,” both of which were inspirations for her musical career later in life.
Still working and singing with her mother in NYC, she was eventually discovered by the head of Arista Records, Clive Davis, who offered her a recording contract.
After her national debut on The Merv Griffin Show, Houston decided it was time to release her debut album, “Whitney Houston”.   The album garnered three number one singles: “Saving All My Love for You,” “How Will I Know” and “Greatest Love of All”.  Her debut album received four Grammy nominations and won the award for best female pop vocal performance.
The awards Houston won from that album were a sign of things to come. In total, she won 22 American Music Awards, six Grammys and 30 Billboard Music Awards.
She was also a symbol among African-Americans.  Supporting the exiled Nelson Mandela, she partook in a concert in London in which over one billion people tuned in, all while bringing awareness and understanding to the situation in South Africa and apartheid.
It didn’t end there, however, as Houston would go unto form The Whitney Houston Foundation for Children which is a “nonprofit organization that cares for such problems as homelessness, children with cancer and AIDS and other issues of self-empowerment,” according to multiple sources.
In the following decade, she married Bobby Brown, an R&B singer with drug issues.  Brown and Houston had a daughter, Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown.
In time, Houston became a national symbol performing during Super Bowl XXV, where Houston sang the National Anthem.
As time went by though, the spotlight started to catch up on Houston, and to an extent, Bobby Brown as well.  Both were found with marijuana in an airport in early 2000, but charges were dropped.
In August of 2001, Houston signed a $100 million contract to produce six more albums.
A year later, Whitney sat down in an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, to put an end to the speculation of her supposed rampant drug use: “I make too much money to ever smoke crack.  Let’s get that straight, okay? We [Houston and Bobby Brown] don’t do crack.  We don’t do that.  Crack is whack,” Houston firmly stated.
In 2006, Whitney filed for divorce from her husband and gained custody of her daughter.  She admitted to frequently using drugs with Brown: “It was an everyday thing……I wasn’t happy.  I was losing myself,” Houston said on the Oprah Winfrey show in late 2009.
Following her interview, Houston announced plans for her first world tour and in essence, a comeback of sorts.  Unfortunately, the tour was criticized, with fans citing a lackluster performance.
Deciding to go back to acting, it was announced last fall that Houston would be performing in the film Sparkle alongside Jordin Sparks and Mike Epps, a remake of the 1976 film which focused on three teenaged sisters who form a girl group in Detroit, certainly something Houston can relate to.
Preparing for the Grammys during the week of February 6th, Houston died five days later, found in a bath-tub.  While the cause of death is not known, sources have speculated that prescription drugs may have played a role.
At the 54th Grammys, Jennifer Hudson performed a tribute to Houston, singing perhaps Houston’s most well known song, “I Will Always Love You.”
Whitney Houston left this world at the age of 48, and her fans are left pining for more of her stardom and success.  In the end, Houston left too soon, an all too familiar possibly cautionary tale of drug use and demons, despite talent and fame.