Black History Month: Whitney Houston

Black History Month: Whitney Houston

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Spanning the month of February, Black History Month celebrates the achievements of African Americans. Whitney Houston’s impact on the music industry was monumental. She paved the way for many artists and is still regarded as one of the most influential singers ever. Houston continues to inspire millions with her music even years after her passing. 

According to Whitney E. Houston Legacy Foundation, Houston was born in 1963, in Newark, New Jersey with her parents Cissy and John Russell Houston. Houston discovered a passion for music at an early age. Her mother was an accomplished gospel and soul singer who was also the choir minister at New Hope Baptist Church.  

At a young age, Houston began singing at church. She was only nineteen years old when she officially started her career. Clive Davis, the director of Arista Records, watched Houston perform at a nightclub and signed her on the spot. Two years later, she debuted her first album, Whitney Houston. On this album were many memorable songs, such as “Saving All My Love For You,” “How Will I Know,” and “Greatest Love of All Time.” This album solidified her status as an emerging star. 

After relentlessly working for two years, Houston released her second album, Whitney. Along with being the first female ever to enter the Billboard at #1, she became a Grammy award winner with her song, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me).” This album also broke a record previously set by the Beatles and the Bee Gees; Houston became the only artist with seven consecutive #1 hits. 

Houston’s status as a star was solidified in 1992. She starred in the movie, The Bodyguard, married R & B singer, Bobby Brown, and released her hit song, “I Will Always Love You.”

Her cover of Dolly Parton’s song became a smashing success. “I Will Always Love You” remained at the #1 spot on the U.S. Charts for a record-breaking fourteen weeks. Houston’s song was included on The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album, and this album won Houston three Grammys: Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. 

Houston later went on to star in the movies, Waiting to Exhale (1995) and The Preacher’s Wife (1996). In 1998, Houston released her album, My Love is Your Love. Although she did receive a Grammy award for the album, her success began to dwindle. This album was not as well received as her previous ones. 

In the early 2000s, Houston’s marriage to Brown started to crumble. Turning to substance abuse, Houston was at a low point in her life. Amidst her inner turmoil, she released the album, Just Whitney, which included “One of Those Days.” 

The reality TV series, Being Bobby Brown, was released in 2004 and abundantly included Houston during some of her worst moments. Many of her devoted fans turned on Houston and began to see her in a light they had never seen before.

 Despite this, Houston tried to repair her struggling marriage and tried to stop abusing drugs. In 2007, Houston took a break from her career, divorced Bobby Brown, and got sole custody of their daughter, Bobbi Kristina. 

After years of regaining her life back, she released her album, I Look to You, in 2009, which generated some support but not nearly as much as her previous albums. 

Houston’s life was on the mend in 2012. She reconnected with her daughter and stopped using. Although Houston’s career hit a rocky point, she rehabilitated herself to better her and her daughter’s life. 

She began working on a movie called Sparkle. Unfortunately, she never got to see her movie be released. Her life tragically ended on February 11, 2012 when she accidentally drowned in Los Angeles at a Beverly Hills hotel during a Grammy after party. 

Although Houston passed away many years ago, her legacy still impacts people every day. Her songs will still resonate with people for generations to come. 

Whitney Houston inspires not only me, but millions of people, to raise their voices and sing. Her voice will go down in history as one of the greatest ever. Houston’s legacy is one I am proud to share.

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