Whitney Houston was, at one point, the biggest Black pop female superstar in an orbit that only Janet Jackson and the biracial Mariah Carey inhabited. These celebrated stars existed in the rarefied air that only Madonna also inhabited at the time and Janet and Whitney, as the most recognizably Black stars, were particular sources of pride for the Black community.
Whitney covers that reality, along with the back story of Whitney’s life, much of which if it was known at all, was only known to her closest fans and followers. It covers her childhood in Newark and her relationships with her mother, brothers, her controversial relationship with friend and creative director Robyn Crawford and of course, her marriage to Bobby Brown with whom she had her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown. As we now know, Bobbi Kristina’s life had a similarly tragic end as she, too, died in a bathtub at age 22.
Where Whitney shines is in the details – from surprising information about her parents as well as the damning admissions of her brothers Michael and Gary about how culpable they were in Whitney’s drug addiction. The two people who have the least to say – Bobby Brown and Gary’s wife and Whitney’s longtime manager Pat Houston, aren’t really needed, as Whitney’s intimates including her aunt, hairdresser, agent and producing partner provide devastating testimony as to Whitney’s state of mind and the toll fame took on her psyche.
Interview with Pat Houston