Gospel singer Bebe Winans gave one of the most memorable tributes at the late singer Whitney Houston’s televised funeral. So it’s only fitting that Houston’s longtime friend release a book about his relationship with the singer. “The Whitney I Knew” will be released on July 31. Never-released photos and details of the singer’s rise and untimely death due to a combination of cocaine and prescription drugs will be covered in the book. Whitney’s mother, Cissy who paid a moving tribute to her daughter with a rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” at this week’s BET Awards, has a book coming out as well.

Bebe is also set to release a new CD, “America, America.” In support of his new project, which features patriotic songs, he’ll perform on July 4th on “Good Morning America” and his television special, “BeBe Winans’ America America” will also air on July 4th on Centric at 8 p.m. Winans and Gladys Knight will duet on “America the Beautiful” and actress Cicely Tyson drops by to provide special readings. In a preview of those performances, Winans will sing and offer a specially-packaged version of “America, America,” tonight on QVC at 10 p.m. EST, which includes three bonus tracks -“Amazing Grace,” “Right Now (We Need One Another)” and “Star-Spangled Banner (Reprise).”

“I’m on a mission to share these songs with as many people as possible,” Winans says.  “As a nation, we are going through hard times; people are in need of an uplift.  My hope is that these songs can be that, and much more.”

Aside from the classic songs featured on “America, America” Winans wrote three new songs – the title track, “We’re the United States of America” and “Ultimate Sacrifice.”

“The inspiration for “America, America” is the time we are living in,” Winans says.  “Sometimes, we forget that we are all Americans.  At sporting events, when the national anthem is sung, everyone stands – black, white, rich, poor – everyone.”

Winans is heading out on a summer tour as well. Here are the dates:

Summer 2012 Tour Dates

6/22     El Paso, TX                 Plaza Theatre Performing Arts Center

6/23     Englewood, NJ           Bergen Performing Arts Center

6/24     Hampton, VA             Hampton Jazz Fest at Hampton

7/20     San Antonio, TX        Majestic Theatre

7/22     San Dimas, CA           JazzFest West

7/28     Healdsburg, CA          Rodney Strong Winery

8/2       Red Bank, NJ              Count Basie Theatre

8/3       Apple Valley, MN       Minnesota Zoo Amphitheater

8/10     Huntington, NY         The Paramount Theater

8/11     Richmond, VA            Richmond Jazz Festival 2012

8/17     Newport Beach, CA   Hyatt Regency Newport Beach

8/18     Temecula, CA             Thornton Winery

8/19     Temecula, CA             Thornton Winery

8/22     Vienna, VA                 The Filene Center

8/23     Glenside, PA               Keswick Theatre

8/25     Saratoga, CA               Montalvo Arts Center


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