The life of Whitney Houston, under the magnifying glass

This week, Whitney Houston I would have turned 58 and Mariah Carey acted like one more fan. “Missing you and celebrating you” she wrote to her friend on the networks, along with a photo where the two are seen singing a theme for the film Prince of egypt, which would win the Oscar for best original song in 1999.

Almost 10 years after her death, Whitney Houston is back under scrutiny. Superstar, a new docuseries from the ABC channel news department (which can be seen in streaming), has her as the protagonist of the first chapter, which will continue to portray other superstars, such as Robin Williams.

She is heard reflecting on a 1992 interview with the famous journalist Barbara Walters and on a more bizarre one by Diane Sawyer, with Whitney and her husband, Bobby Brown. There is unpublished material, revealing images in his recitals, accompanied by current interviews with friends and family who are painting a scene.

Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, singing at the Oscars in 1999.

The girl who just wanted to sing

Not that anything new is being said. But Superstar manages to edit in an hour a summary of her life and present it from a not so familiar perspective: the artist who since she was a girl only wanted to sing and who He banked the dark side of fame as best he could until he broke. The brave young woman from New Jersey forced to become a princess when the camera was turned on.

“I didn’t want to be famous, I just wanted to sing,” she tells Walters, clad in a blazer with anthological shoulder pads, that only the Whitney model knew how to look.

“All the madness that comes along with fame is part of the territory they say, hellish territory“She is seen complaining, between sighs. Her story thus presented, from her childhood in Newark, New Jersey, singing gospel in church with her mother, to the world tours she did alone and then with Bobby Brown, the gestures of boredom seen in her close-ups speak for yes alone.

Whitney Houston recorded 7 albums, sold 200 million albums, had seven consecutive hits of the first, became a mega movie star with The bodyguard, in 1992. “I wanted to quit, it seemed a lot to me to have to make that movie, but Bobby didn’t let me,” he confesses to Walters.

Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown in 1998. Those good ones? old times … AP Photo

Blame it on bobby

Her friends Brandy and Chaka Khan, and many of her producers seem to conclude that everything changed (for the worse) when Bobby Brown appeared in his life.

Several of those interviewed suggest that the beginning of Whitney’s downfall began when she fell in love with Bobby, who failed to measure up and was jealous of her fame. When they met he was very famous, but she got over it. He is seen stealing his camera.

They met at a 1989 black artist awards show, The Soul Train Awards, where Brown sings and Whitney is booed when her nomination is read. It was considered that it had been sold because it was successful on MTV, a video channel that initially didn’t cater to African-American artists. A segregation that even David Bowie reproached them for.

After Michael Jackson, Houston was the first woman to open doors. “She made all of us who followed her see that we could do it,” says Brandy, who refuses to enter the field of scandals and tabloids. And he prefers to extol how unique he was. “There will be no equal” agrees Jennifer Hudson, who on Monday also wished her a happy birthday.

She loved Bobby, no doubt. Her love led her to go wait for him when he gets out of jail. She later ended up in rehab, losing her voice and in a spiral fall that ended underwater in her bathtub at the Beverly Hilton.

“I am not self-destructive, I do not want to die, I want to live” she is heard saying in the series. In November 2020 she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, one of her wishes. And now like Jackson will continue to live and sing from a hologram, when in October he debuted his concert with a live band at the Harrah’s hotel in Las Vegas.