Friday Open Thread: Whitney Houston Week

Her voice is so missed.

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1995–97: Waiting to Exhale, The Preacher’s Wife, and Cinderella

In 1995, Houston starred alongside Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, and Lela Rochon in her second film, Waiting to Exhale, a motion picture about four African-American women struggling with relationships. Houston played the lead character Savannah Jackson, a TV producer in love with a married man. She chose the role because she saw the film as “a breakthrough for the image of black women because it presents them both as professionals and as caring mothers”.[136] After opening at number one and grossing $67 million in the US at the box office and $81 million worldwide,[137] it proved that a movie primarily targeting a black audience can cross over to success, while paving the way for other all-black movies such as How Stella Got Her Groove Back and the Tyler Perry movies that became popular in the 2000s.[138][139][140] The film is also notable for its portrayal of black women as strong middle class citizens rather than as stereotypes.[141] The reviews were mainly positive for the ensemble cast. The New York Times said: “Ms. Houston has shed the defensive hauteur that made her portrayal of a pop star in ‘The Bodyguard’ seem so distant.”[142] Houston was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture”, but lost to her co-star Bassett.[citation needed]

The film’s accompanying soundtrack, Waiting to Exhale: Original Soundtrack Album, was produced by Houston and Babyface. Though Babyface originally wanted Houston to record the entire album, she declined. Instead, she “wanted it to be an album of women with vocal distinction”, and thus gathered several African-American female artists for the soundtrack, to go along with the film’s message about strong women.[136] Consequently, the album featured a range of contemporary R&B female recording artists along with Houston, such as Mary J. Blige, Brandy, Toni Braxton, Aretha Franklin, and Patti LaBelle. Houston’s “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” peaked at No. 1, and then spent a record eleven weeks at the No. 2 spot and eight weeks on top of the R&B Charts. “Count On Me”, a duet with CeCe Winans, hit the US Top 10; and Houston’s third contribution, “Why Does It Hurt So Bad”, made the Top 30. The album debuted at No. 1, and was certified 7× Platinum in the United States, denoting shipments of seven million copies.[61] The soundtrack received strong reviews; as Entertainment Weekly stated: “the album goes down easy, just as you’d expect from a package framed by Whitney Houston tracks… the soundtrack waits to exhale, hovering in sensuous suspense”[143] and has since ranked it as one of the 100 Best Movie Soundtracks.[144] Later that year, Houston’s children’s charity organization was awarded a VH1 Honor for all the charitable work.[145]

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In 1996, Houston starred in the holiday comedy The Preacher’s Wife, with Denzel Washington. She plays a gospel-singing wife of a pastor (Courtney B. Vance). It was largely an updated remake of the film “The Bishop’s Wife” (1948 in film|1948), which starred Loretta Young, David Niven, and Cary Grant. Houston earned $10 million for the role, making her one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood at the time and the highest earning African-American actress in Hollywood.[146] The movie, with its all African-American cast, was a moderate success, earning approximately $50 million at the U.S. box offices.[147] The movie gave Houston her strongest reviews so far. The San Francisco Chronicle said Houston “is rather angelic herself, displaying a divine talent for being virtuous and flirtatious at the same time”, and she “exudes gentle yet spirited warmth, especially when praising the Lord in her gorgeous singing voice”.[148] Houston was again nominated for an NAACP Image Award and won for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture.[citation needed]

Houston recorded and co-produced, with Mervyn Warren, the film’s accompanying gospel soundtrack. The Preacher’s Wife: Original Soundtrack Album included six gospel songs with Georgia Mass Choir that were recorded at the Great Star Rising Baptist Church in Atlanta. Houston also duetted with gospel legend Shirley Caesar. The album sold six million copies worldwide and scored hit singles with “I Believe in You and Me” and “Step by Step”, becoming the largest selling gospel album of all time.[citation needed] The album received mainly positive reviews. Some critics, such as that of USA Today, noted the presence of her emotional depth,[149] while The Times said, “To hear Houston going at full throttle with the 35 piece Georgia Mass Choir struggling to keep up is to realise what her phenomenal voice was made for”.[150]

In 1997, Houston’s production company changed its name to BrownHouse Productions and was joined by Debra Martin Chase. Their goal was “to show aspects of the lives of African-Americans that have not been brought to the screen before” while improving how African-Americans are portrayed in film and television.[151] Their first project was a made-for-television remake of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. In addition to co-producing, Houston starred in the movie as the Fairy Godmother along with Brandy, Jason Alexander, Whoopi Goldberg, and Bernadette Peters. Houston was initially offered the role of Cinderella in 1993, but other projects intervened.[152] The film is notable for its multi-racial cast and nonstereotypical message.[153] An estimated 60 million viewers tuned into the special giving ABC its highest TV ratings in 16 years.[154] The movie received seven Emmy nominations including Outstanding Variety, Musical or Comedy, while winning Outstanding Art Direction in a Variety, Musical or Comedy Special.[155]

Houston and Chase then obtained the rights to the story of Dorothy Dandridge. Houston was to play Dandridge, who was the first African American actress to be nominated for an Oscar. Houston wanted the story told with dignity and honor.[151] However, Halle Berry also had rights to the project and got her version going first.[156] Later that year, Houston paid tribute to her idols, such as Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, and Dionne Warwick, by performing their hits during the three-night HBO Concert Classic Whitney Live from Washington, D.C.. The special raised over $300,000 for the Children’s Defense Fund.[157] Houston received the Quincy Jones Award for outstanding career achievements in the field of entertainment at the 12th Soul Train Music Awards.[158][159]


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1998–2000: My Love Is Your Love and Whitney: The Greatest Hits

After spending much of the early and mid-1990s working on motion pictures and their soundtrack albums, Houston’s first studio album in eight years, the critically acclaimed My Love Is Your Love, was released in November 1998. Though originally slated to be a greatest hits album with a handful of new songs, recording sessions were so fruitful that a new full-length studio album was released. Recorded and mixed in only six weeks, it featured production from Rodney Jerkins, Wyclef Jean and Missy Elliott. The album debuted at number thirteen, its peak position, on the Billboard 200 chart.[160] It had a funkier and edgier sound than past releases and saw Houston handling urban dance, hip hop, mid-tempo R&B, reggae, torch songs, and ballads all with great dexterity.[161]

From late 1998 to early 2000, the album spawned several hit singles: “When You Believe” (US No. 15, UK No. 4), a duet with Mariah Carey for 1998’s The Prince of Egypt soundtrack, which also became an international hit as it peaked in the Top 10 in several countries and won an Academy Award for Best Original Song;[162] “Heartbreak Hotel” (US No. 2, UK No. 25) featured Faith Evans and Kelly Price, received a 1999 MTV VMA nomination for Best R&B Video,[163] and number one on the US R&B chart for seven weeks; “It’s Not Right but It’s Okay” (US No. 4, UK No. 3) won Houston her sixth Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance;[164] “My Love Is Your Love” (US No. 4, UK No. 2) with 3 million copies sold worldwide;[165] and “I Learned from the Best” (US No. 27, UK No. 19).[166][167] These singles became international hits as well, and all the singles, except “When You Believe”, became number one hits on the Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play chart. The album sold four million copies in America, making it certified 4× platinum, and a total of eleven million copies worldwide.[46]

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The album gave Houston some of her strongest reviews ever. Rolling Stone said Houston was singing “with a bite in her voice”[168] and The Village Voice called it “Whitney’s sharpest and most satisfying so far”.[169] In 1999, Houston participated in VH-1’s Divas Live ’99, alongside Brandy, Mary J. Blige, Tina Turner, and Cher. The same year, Houston hit the road with her 70 date My Love Is Your Love World Tour. The European leg of the tour was Europe’s highest grossing arena tour of the year.[170] In November 1999, Houston was named Top-selling R&B Female Artist of the Century with certified US sales of 51 million copies at the time and The Bodyguard Soundtrack was named the Top-selling Soundtrack Album of the Century by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[171] She also won The Artist of the Decade, Female award for extraordinary artistic contributions during the 1990s at the 14th Soul Train Music Awards, and an MTV Europe Music Award for Best R&B.[172][173][174][175][176]

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In May 2000, Whitney: The Greatest Hits was released worldwide. The double disc set peaked at number five in the United States, reaching number one in the United Kingdom.[167][177] In addition, the album reached the Top 10 in many other countries.[178] While ballad songs were left unchanged, the album features house/club remixes of many of Houston’s up-tempo hits. Included on the album were four new songs: “Could I Have This Kiss Forever” (a duet with Enrique Iglesias), “Same Script, Different Cast” (a duet with Deborah Cox), “If I Told You That” (a duet with George Michael), and “Fine”, and three hits that had never appeared on a Houston album: “One Moment in Time”, “The Star Spangled Banner”, and “If You Say My Eyes Are Beautiful”, a duet with Jermaine Jackson from his 1986 Precious Moments album.[179] Along with the album, an accompanying VHS and DVD was released featuring the music videos to Houston’s greatest hits, as well as several hard-to-find live performances including her 1983 debut on The Merv Griffin Show, and interviews.[180] The greatest hits album was certified 3× platinum in the US, with worldwide sales of 10 million.[181][182]

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35 Responses to Friday Open Thread: Whitney Houston Week

  1. rikyrah says:

    This just gave me faith again in humanity


    ‘If We Left, They Wouldn’t Have Nobody’
    November 21, 2014 4:19 AM E

    When an assisted living home in California shut down last fall, many of its residents were left behind, with nowhere to go.

    The staff at the Valley Springs Manor left when they stopped getting paid — except for cook Maurice Rowland and Miguel Alvarez, the janitor.

    “There was about 16 residents left behind, and we had a conversation in the kitchen, ‘What are we going to do?’ ” Rowland says.

    “If we left, they wouldn’t have nobody,” the 34-year-old Alvarez says.

    Their roles quickly transformed for the elderly residents, who needed round-the-clock care.

    “I would only go home for one hour, take a shower, get dressed, then be there for 24-hour days,” says Alvarez.

    Rowland, 35, remembers passing out medications during those long days. He says he didn’t want to leave the residents — some coping with dementia — to fend for themselves.

    “I just couldn’t see myself going home — next thing you know, they’re in the kitchen trying to cook their own food and burn the place down,” Rowland says. “Even though they wasn’t our family, they were kind of like our family for this short period of time.”

    For Alvarez, the situation brought back memories from his childhood.

    “My parents, when they were younger, they left me abandoned,” he says. “Knowing how they are going to feel, I didn’t want them to go through that.”

    Alvarez and Rowland spent several days caring for the elderly residents of Valley Springs Manor until the fire department and sheriff took over.

    The incident led to legislation in California known as the Residential Care for the Elderly Reform Act of 2014.

    “If I would’ve left, I think that would have been on my conscience for a very long time,” says Rowland.

  2. rikyrah says:


    How to Get Away With Murder.

    I thought I was ok until the last minute of the show.


    That entire last minute puts what Annalise did the second half of the show into an entirely new perspective.

    Viola Davis is AMAZING!

    And Wes….always got to look out for those quiet ones….

    • Ametia says:

      Annalise knew Sam was DEAD, she went through the motions to pretend she didn’t know. who better than her to KNOW how to get away with murder.

      The give-a-way? How you gone let that mofo Sam trash you to your face, telling you that you’re no more than a piece of black ass he wanted to fuck and hold as some kind of slave-girl in the market square, and then call him later and tell him you fucking forgive him, will stand by him no matter what, and you love him.

      That message is on his cell phone, and she knows it will be used as evidence.

      DAMN, JUST.DAMN. THE EMMY GOES TO VIOLA DAVIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Kathleen says:

        Yes! She is a totally fearless actor..Analise’s scene with Sam was raw and painful. A level of intensity not seen on network TV.

    • Ametia says:

      Mega raw… and nobody could bring that kind of RAWNESS to Annalise like Viola Davis. that kind of love she had for Sam, and his TOTAL BETRAYAL and Tom fololery,

      That’s some gut-wrenching shit right there, and she BROUGHT.IT.

  3. Ametia says:

    SMARTYPANTS GETS A LETTER FROM POTUS! Go show her some love.

    Friday, November 21, 2014
    A Response From POTUS :-)
    Anyone remember that last summer I wrote a letter to President Barack Obama?

    Well…hold on to your hats. Because he just wrote me back. OH MY!!!!!

  4. Ametia says:

    Maya Pope to Olivia: “Girl, you need to move on and “Cry me a river.”


  5. rikyrah says:

    Christie still afraid of his own shadow on immigration
    11/21/14 10:12 AM
    By Steve Benen
    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) was in South Florida this week for a party gathering, and like most of his Republican brethren, he was eager to condemn President Obama’s immigration policy. But the Palm Beach Post asked the governor an interesting question.
    A reporter asked Christie if it was fair to criticize the president without offering a proposal of his own.

    “This is a ridiculous question,” Christie responded. “Because I won’t lay out my plan if I were president, that precludes me from criticizing the guy who asked for the job twice and was elected twice and who promised in 2008 that he would fix this problem when he had huge majorities in the Congress to be able to do it?
    Well, for those who care about the details, when Democrats had “huge majorities,” Republicans still killed bipartisan measures like the DREAM Act with a filibuster. But putting that aside for now, Christie’s defense for his own evasions is arguably half-right.

    The governor wants to be able to take verbal shots at the White House’s policy without presenting a proposal of his own, and to a certain degree, that’s kosher. At least for now, Christie is a struggling, scandal-plagued governor, not a presidential candidate, so it stands to reason that he won’t have a detailed immigration policy proposal on hand.

  6. rikyrah says:

    A party in search of a policy
    11/21/14 08:38 AM—UPDATED 11/21/14 09:22 AM
    By Steve Benen
    If anger were a legitimate substitute for public policy, Republicans would be in excellent shape in the middle of a debate on immigration. The GOP has stockpiled enough rage, fury, insults, and red-hot disgust to last a lifetime. There isn’t a shred of doubt in anyone’s mind that the entirety of the Republican Party is experiencing genuine, 100%, Grade A outrage.

    What Republicans don’t have is a policy.

    Or anything resembling a serious, substantive approach to the issue at hand.

    A few days ago, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), a strident, right-wing voice in his party on immigration, sat down with Mark Halperin, who asked what the congressman would do about the nation’s immigration challenges. Huelskamp dodged, so Halperin, to his credit, followed up, pressing the Kansas Republican to explain what he’d do about the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States. Huelskamp dodged again. So Halperin asked a third time, and the Republican would only say, “I want to know how many folks are here. I want to secure the border.”

    It was uncomfortable to watch – the far-right congressman was clearly lost – but it was a cringe-worthy reminder that Republicans still don’t have a coherent immigration policy they’re willing to share out loud. Ezra Klein had a good piece on this overnight.
    Republicans aren’t just the opposition party anymore. They are, arguably, the governing party – they will soon control the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court, most state legislatures, and more governorships. And the governing party needs to solve – or at least propose solutions – to the nation’s problems. And that means the Republican policy on immigration needs to be something more than opposing Obama’s immigration policies. It needs to be something more than vague noises about border security. […]

    There are 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the country right now. Congress allocates enough money to deport roughly 400,000 of them annually. Our policy towards the 10.6 million unauthorized immigrants we’re not deporting is that we don’t have a policy. Democrats support a path to citizenship. Republicans don’t support anything.
    Quite right. There’s a striking asymmetry, not just between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to presenting policy solutions, but between Republican responsibilities and Republican intentions – they’re a post-policy party with an aversion to governing, which is a problem for a party that has been given broad authority by voters to shape policy and govern.\

  7. Ametia says:

    Waiting for Luuvie’s recap of Scandal………………………

    • Ametia says:

      Olivia pulled the trigger on an unloaded gun. She fell for the old “okey dokey. Should’ve known Papa Pope ain’t gonna lay a loaded gun on the table in front of NOBODY.


  8. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    deray mckesson @deray · 1h 1 hour ago
    St. Louis has weaponized blackness. The mere thought of black assembly is a criminal act. Police, national guard, on alert. #Ferguson”

    deray mckesson retweeted
    ShunDon Cole™ @shundoncole · 37m 37 minutes ago
    “@deray Church has traditionally been the only assembly of blacks tolerated in America”

    Really makes one wonder and question what progress our country has achieved. Media and powers that be in Missouri need to STOP their fear campaign against Blacks!

    • Ametia says:

      THIS: Really makes one wonder and question what progress our country has achieved. Media and powers that be in Missouri need to STOP their fear campaign against Blacks!

  9. rikyrah says:

    ‘We were strangers once, too’
    11/21/14 08:00 AM—UPDATED 11/21/14 08:10 AM
    facebook twitter 0 save share group 12
    By Steve Benen
    It’s not every day that a leader can make an important, material difference in the lives of roughly 5 million people. It’s what made President Obama’s announcement last night such a breakthrough moment – with congressional Republicans unwilling or unable to act, the president found a way to improve the immigration system on his own, changing the national landscape for millions of families.
    “We expect people who live in this country to play by the rules. We expect that those who cut the line will not be unfairly rewarded. So we’re going to offer the following deal: If you’ve been in America for more than five years; if you have children who are American citizens or legal residents; if you register, pass a criminal background check, and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes – you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily, without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law.”
    I saw some suggestions last night that Obama extended “legal status” to undocumented immigrants. That’s incorrect – the White House policy extends temporary status to a limited group of immigrants and shields them from deportation threats. They’ll be eligible to work legally in the United States, but as Obama noted in his remarks, further action would require statutory changes that only Congress can approve.

    Indeed, one of the striking things about the president’s speech was the degree to which he anticipated critics’ arguments, explaining in advance why they’re incorrect.

    Republicans will say Obama’s been lax on border security, so he reminded the nation that he increased border security and pushed illegal border crossings to a four-decade low. Republicans will say Obama hasn’t worked in a bipartisan way with Congress, so he reminded viewers that he worked with both parties on the popular and bipartisan Senate bill. Republicans will say Obama’s actions are unprecedented, so he reminded everyone that his new actions are “the same kinds of actions taken by Democratic and Republican presidents before me.”

  10. rikyrah says:

    Country star Ty Herndon comes out as gay

    After nearly two decades in country music, Ty Herndon is ready to be honest with his fans: He’s gay.

    The country star opens up about his past, present and future in an interview with Entertainment Tonight’s Nischelle Turner that rivals ABC’s country soap “Nashville” with its real-life drama. Herndon discussed everything from his former drug use, his failed marriages and his current relationship.

    “I have an awesome relationship that I’ve been in for a good number of years,” Herndon tells ET in a new sit-down airing Thursday. “[I] love him very much and he loves me.”

    Married twice before, Herndon reveals that both of his ex-wives were “absolutely” aware of his sexuality.

    • Ametia says:

      This reads like everybody was in agreement about Herndon’s $exuality. Glad he’s living the life he resonates with. There’s freedom in marching to the beat of your own drum.

  11. rikyrah says:

    UH HUH

    UH HUH

    UH HUH


    Bill Cosby Accuser Has Long Criminal History Including Fraud
    11/20/2014 12:05 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

    One of Bill Cosby’s alleged sexual assault victims recently got out of prison for, among other things, fraud … and Cosby is now lashing out at her.

    Linda Joy Traitz claims Cosby tried to drug and assault her more than 40 years ago. Traitz came forward with her allegations in the last few days. In a Facebook post, she claims, “He drove out to the beach and opened a briefcase filled with assorted drugs and kept offering me pills…”

    Turns out she has a long criminal history. Traitz got out of prison in 2012 after serving more than 3 years for trafficking Oxycodone, possession of a controlled substance and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.

    She’s been arrested and/or charged with various other crimes, including ID fraud, battery, theft and various drug offenses.

    Cosby’s lawyer, Marty Singer, tells TMZ, Traitz is “the latest example of people coming out of the woodwork with unsubstantiated or fabricated stories about my client.”

    Singer adds, “There was no briefcase of drugs and the story is absurd.”

  12. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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