Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963
February 11, 2012) was an American recording artist, actress,
producer, and model. In 2009, the Guinness World Records cited
her as the most-awarded female act of all time. Her awards
include two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music
Awards, and 22 American Music Awards, among a total of 415 career
awards in her lifetime. Houston was also one of the world's
best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums,
singles and videos worldwide.
L-R: Whitney Houston and her mother, Cissy Houston.
Whitney, born in Newark, NJ in 1963, grew up in
a family of singers. Besides her mother, Grammy-winning gospel
singer Cissy Houston, she sang with her cousins Dee Dee and
Dionne Warwick, and godmother Aretha Franklin. In 1968, after the
Newark Riots, the family moved to
neighboring East Orange, NJ, but continued to attend church in
Newark each Sunday. Whitney was enrolled in Franklin
School in East Orange.
At the age of eleven, Houston began singing at
The New Hope Church on Sussex Avenue in Newark as a member of a
junior gospel choir. Her mother was in charge of the adult music
programs there and they often sang together.
Above is her high school yearbook photo from
Mount Saint Dominic Academy in Caldwell, NJ. She devoted her
spare time to singing in the choir and also singing with her
mother at night clubs in the New York City area. In 1983, she was
"discovered" by Arista Records label head Clive Davis.
Whitney Houston sang the National Anthem at
Super Bowl XXV between the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills game
in Tampa Stadium on January 27, 1991 in Tampa, Florida. Because
of the overwhelming response to her rendition, it was released as
a commercial single and video of her performance, and reached the
Top 20 on the US Hot 100, making her the only act to turn the
national anthem into a pop hit of that magnitude (Jose
Feliciano's version reached No. 50 in November 1968). Houston
donated all of her share of the proceeds to the American Red
Cross Gulf Crisis Fund at this time of the Persian Gulf War.
After a three-year courtship with Bobby
Brown, the two were married on July 18, 1992. On March 4, 1993,
Houston gave birth to their daughter Bobbi Kristina Houston
Brown, her only child, and his fourth.
Cousins Whitney Houston and Dionne Warwick
Houston's first acting role was in the feature
film The Bodyguard in which she costarred with Kevin
Costner (1992). The film's original soundtrack won the 1994
Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Its lead single, "I Will
Always Love You" written and recorded by country singer
Dolly Parton in 1974, became the best-selling single by a female
artist in music history. With the album, Houston became the first
act (solo or group, male or female) to sell more than a million
copies of an album within a single week period.
Houston continued to star in movies and
contribute to their soundtracks, including the films Waiting
to Exhale (1995) and The Preacher's Wife costarring
with Denzel Washington (1996). The Preacher's Wife
soundtrack became the best-selling gospel album in history. Three
years after the release of her fourth studio album My Love Is
Your Love (1998), she renewed her recording contract with
Arista Records. She released her fifth studio album Just
Whitney in 2002, and the Christmas-themed One Wish: The
Holiday Album in 2003. In 2009, Houston released her seventh
studio album, I Look to You.
In 1997, she attended the rededication of Franklin School in
East Orange, NJ, which Whitney Houston had attended as an
elementary school pupil, now renamed to the Whitney E.
Houston Academy of Creative and Performing Arts. In the
background is husband Bobby Brown.
2004 Music Awards
There is so much of her music on records and videos that we
have provide this link to her official biography Web site where
you can get more information and dates important to her life and
2011 Pre-Grammy Party Video
Monday, 2/13/12. After hearing of Whitney
Houston's tragic death on 2/11/12, students of Whitney Houston
Academy in East Orange gathered in front of the building to
salute a half-masted flag and remember the singer as she was.
Then they released white balloons into the sky.
At the school in East Orange, and in front of
New Hope Baptist Church in Newark where she sang in the choir,
those who honored her memory left flowers, balloons, and cards.
Her funeral was held at the church on Saturday, 2/18/12.
The church was too small for the millions of
fans, worldwide, who wanted to attend her funeral, but it was
Webcast to the world. The best news review of the funeral noted
that "The best voices of a generation all paid tribute to
her. But in the end, the most powerful voice at Whitney Houston's
funeral was her own. - Nekesa Mumbi Moody - Associated Press