Whitney Houston Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston's Life Long Friend Pens Open Letter

In the wake of Pop icon Whitney Houston’s death, her lifelong friend Robyn Crawford penned a letter to the legendary songstress.

I met her when she was 16. It was at a summer job. I was working at a community center in East Orange, New Jersey, and she was working just like the rest of us. She was there to work. She introduced herself as "Whitney Elizabeth Houston," and I knew right away she was special. Not a lot of people introduced themselves with their middle names back then. She had peachy colored skin and she didn't look like anyone I'd ever met in East Orange, New Jersey.

She was nothing like the Whitney Houston she became but at the same time she was already there. She knew, and so did everyone around her. She was doing shows in Manhattan with her mother, and she'd change her clothes in the car and get on stage and do her thing. She hadn't signed her contract yet. But she was modeling for Wilhelmina because she was discovered on the street. She was walking in front of Carnegie Hall and someone walked up to her and said, "There's a modeling agency upstairs that's looking for someone just like you." She walked upstairs and they signed her. That's what it was like, that's what she gave off. She looked like an angel. When my mother first met her, she laughed and said, "You look like an angel, but I know you're not." And she wasn't. But she looked like one.

She chose the life she lived, and she chose it from the beginning. She knew the life better than anyone. Her mother was Cissy Houston, and she had been on the road with Dionne Warwick. She got her chops singing in church, and her mother said to her, "You know, you can always sing for free. You can always sing in church. You don't have to choose the professional life." But she chose because she'd been chosen. Some people sing just because. She was never like that. She had to put on her gear. She knew it was going to be a job and that's how she treated it. Once she committed to something, she finished it. Not long after I met her, she said, "Stick with me, and I'll take you around the world." She always knew where she was headed.

And we went around the world. I was her assistant and then her executive assistant and then her creative director. I was her point person for the day-to-day. I traveled all around the world first-class and anyone who ever worked for her will tell you her checks never bounced. You knew she was going to take care of you. She wasn't going to be in a five-star hotel while you were in a two. I flew the Concorde the way some people ride the bus. She shared the fruits, and she changed a lot of lives. The record company, the band members, her family, her friends, me — she fed everybody. Deep down inside that's what made her tired.

It was never easy. She never left anything undone. But it was hard. The Bodyguard was great when it was done, but it was a lot of work. She did the movie, she did the music, she did everything — and when she was done, she was done. She nailed it. The music supervisor brought her Linda Ronstadt's version of "I Will Always Love You" way before Kevin Costner brought Dolly Parton's version — and she always knew what she could do with it. So when Kevin came in and played it for her and told her he wanted her to sing it for the movie, she said, "Fine." She wasn't much for showing off what she had, except when she had to.

I always compare her performance of that song with a great athlete hitting his peak — with Michael Jordan in the playoffs. It was the absolute pinnacle of what she could do, of what anyone could do — and then she had to keep on doing it. Everybody wanted to hear her sing that song, and so she sang it. It didn't matter whether she had a cold, or wasn't in good voice; she had to deliver it, and she had it arranged so she could deliver every last note. And even if the note wasn't there, the feeling was. A lot of her songs were like that. They were a lot to deliver, but she delivered them every note, every time.

It's so strange that she died when she did. February was her month. Her first album was released on Valentine's Day, right around the time of the Grammys, right around the time of Clive Davis's party. It was an orchestrated thing. She was Clive's girl, his great discovery. And she died right before Valentine's Day, right before the Grammys, right before Clive's party. Of course, she was going. I don't know if she was singing, I don't know what kind of pressure she was putting on herself. But she was going, that's for damned sure.

People thought they had to protect her. She hated that. And that's what people don't understand: She was always the one doing the driving. Someone just called and told me that the family kept Whitney from seeing her. Nobody kept Whitney from doing anything. She did what she wanted to do. When people left her or were told to leave, they could never believe that Whitney would never call them — but she never did. She was working hard to keep herself together, and I think she felt that if she admitted any feeling of sadness or weakness she would crumble. One time, back when we were young, we were out, we were partying, and I said, "Listen, I have to go. I'm tired. I can't make it." And she looked at me with her eyes wide and said, "I've got to make it."

And that was Whitney. She could not pick up the phone, and that meant it was too painful. I have never spoken about her until now. And she knew I wouldn't. She was a loyal friend, and she knew I was never going to be disloyal to her. I was never going to betray her. Now I can't believe that I'm never going to hug her or hear her laughter again. I loved her laughter, and that's what I miss most, that's what I miss already.

I'm trying not to think of the end. I'm trying not to listen to all the reports. All these people talking about drugs — well, a lot of people take drugs, and they're still around. Whitney isn't, because you never know the way the wind blows. I just hope that she wasn't in pain and that she hadn't lost hope. She gave so much to so many people; I hope that she felt loved in return. She was the action, for such a long time. She's out of the action now. I hope she can finally rest.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Getty Images | Craig Barritt

CupcakKe Reveals Abusive Boyfriend Led Her To Contemplate Suicide

Months of abuse led to the suicidal tweet posted by Chicago native CupcakKe, earlier this month. In a lengthy message posted to her Twitter account over the weekend, the 21-year-old rapper admitted that she’s been battling depression, brought on by an abusive ex-boyfriend.

In the post titled “my disturbing read,” CupcakKe accuses a man named, Christopher Terrell, of stealing her credit cards and terrorizing her throughout their relationship.

“This is someone I’ve been dating for the past [five] months,” she wrote in the now deleted post. “Out of the kindness of my heart I gave this man over [$30,000] during this period [of] time because I understand how it feels to be without (especially after me being homeless). He also has threatened to shoot my mom in the face [and] has threatened me on multiple occasions [and] said he can do it because he will get away with it!!!! I have screenshots, recorded calls, bank statements and all types of proof.

“Me being stupid in love I have [taken] this man back multiple times but every time I take him back the abuse gets [worse],” she added.

Further in the post, CupcakKe explains that her depression from feeling trapped in the relationship resulted in her contemplating suicide. “He [has] snatched off my wig in public, broke phones [and] continues to traumatize me every step of the way! This is what [led] to my ‘I’m committing suicide’ tweet…I have called the cops multiple times and they have yet to do anything about it,” she wrote adding that Terrell is threatening her with revenge porn. She also admitted to posting his number on social media, and the numbers of women that he “plotted” with  to steal her money.

“Yes I am wrong for that,” she said. “But by me sending this message out it is not for harm to be sent his way, it’s for the police to make things way more serious!!!! Also this message is for every young girl or anyone in general that is struggling with abuse right now. I get u (once you see the first sign) leave!!!”

Read the full post below.

@Chicago_Police y’all really need to do something about @CupcakKe_rapper and her situation, she’s mentioned reaching out to y’all multiple times about this and nothings happened! Please do something before it’s too late... pic.twitter.com/ZczGq1jmcK

— moonlight_baes (@m00nlight__baes) January 20, 2019

Continue Reading
Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images)

Kelly Rowland Says Her Highly-Anticipated Project Is "Definitely Coming"

Six years ago, Kelly Rowland released her fourth studio album titled Talk a Good Game. The project boasted hit singles like "Kisses Down Low" and the transparent "Dirty Laundry." Now, the Houston native is preparing to release a project that'll surely satisfy fans' patient earbuds.

In an interview with Billboard, Rowland shared her hopes for putting out a new body of work and the pressure that she's encountered since she's been in the studio. "This is by far the longest, most pressure-filled process ever, only because I know what it's supposed to be and I have been so hard on myself. I know it," she said. "And it's the first time I've said it out loud. I've been extremely hard on myself. But it's definitely coming, and I'm more so excited about this project than anything else."

The news follows the recent release of Rowland's "Kelly" track, which was met with critical acclaim in November 2018. In addition to preparing the release of new music, the "Motivation" singer discussed fans' wish for a Destiny's Child reunion. The rumors have been fueled by social media photographs of Rowland with either Beyonce or Michelle or all three, especially during Beyonce's past Coachella performance. But Rowland assures readers that it's not what they think.

"It's so funny. I guess every time people see us together, they just see music but I see sisterhood, and that's what we are and that's what me, her, Michelle [Williams] and Solange and I are. People see us all together, they immediately think music. I'm like, no. Just family." As Rowland previously mentioned Solange, she hopes to one day work with her again.

"I'm a huge fan," she said. "I love her writing and how detailed and particular she is. I always wanted to figure out how the heck she has so many different layers of harmonies when she is constructing these vocals, and it's so complex but simple. It's genius. It's the genius in her genius mind that she has in there." One of the last times the pair collaborated was on Rowland's "Simply Deep" track off her debut solo album of the same name. Solange also penned a few songs off the same project. Fast forward to 2016, and Rowland's vocals were featured on Solange's iconic A Seat at the Table.

Continue Reading
Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

Teyana Taylor To Pay Homage To Ballroom Culture In "WTP" Video

Teyana Taylor aims to keep her hot streak of innovative videos coming thanks to this recent announcement. Taking to Instagram on Wednesday (Jan. 9), the "Gonna Love Me" singer will show adoration to ballroom culture in the visual for "WTP."

Directed by Gregory "Beef" Jones, The Aunties Inc., and Taylor herself, the Harlemite takes viewers on her journey to the expression-filled space where she hopes to rack up 10s across the board from a group of judges. The premise of the video also seems to follow a mockumentary format airing on a fictional network named FEMTV. Alongside Taylor, other men and women get ready to display their talents and confidence on the ballroom floor.

"WTP" is featured on the mother-of-one's sophomore album, K.T.S.E., which was released in June 2018. While the rollout's controversy didn't entirely muddle the excitement behind the project's debut, Taylor said she was sold on the idea that her album would be treated as the biggest out of G.O.O.D. Music's string of releases last year.

"I didn't know ahead of time that there wouldn't be any singles or visuals. But I knew that it was going to be the five-album thing," she said during a HOT 97 interview. "[Kanye] wanted [my album] to be last, he wanted mine to be the biggest. That's the way they sauced it up. I was sold."

The video will debut on Jan. 19. Check out the teaser below.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

👀 1.19.19 👀 #WTP Directed by @teyanataylor & @ogbeefjones @theauntiesinc 🙏🏾🙌🏾🙏🏾 The wait is ALMOST over. 😏 @museumofsex

A post shared by Jimmy Neutch- Shumpert (@teyanataylor) on Jan 8, 2019 at 6:32pm PST

Continue Reading

Top Stories