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.
(Read the full letter at VIBEVIXEN)