Whitney Houston: Long Live the Mother of Pop
BY Clay Cane
February 12 2012 1:50 PM ET
One rumor that followed Whitney was that she was in a lesbian relationship with her longtime friend Robyn Crawford. In 2000, Whitney's first interview for LGBT press, she told Out magazine: "If I was gay, I would be proud to tell you, 'cause I ain't that kind of girl to say, 'Naw, that ain't me.' The thing that hurt me the most was that they tried to pin something on me that I was not. My mother raised me to never, ever be ashamed of what I am. But I'm not a lesbian, darling. I'm not."
Back in 1999, Whitney Houston surprised her LGBT fans at the Heritage of Pride's 13th annual Lesbian & Gay Pride Dance on the Pier in New York with an unforgettable performance. Nowadays, pop stars performing for LGBT events is no shocker. But then, it was rare for a star of her caliber, who was currently on top with the success of the dance classic "It's Not Right (But It's Okay)" and the My Love Is Your Love album, to perform for an LGBT audience. Later that year, Houston told MTV's John Norris about the performance, "It's their pride that they're celebrating. I'm just there to entertain. I'm proud of being a mother, a wife, a daughter, and a sister, and a lover and a friend. And I am sure they are all those things, too, in their own lives. We're all God's children."
Eighteen years ago, Whitney Houston won three Grammys for The Bodyguard Original Soundtrack Album. Tonight, the Grammys will pay homage to one of the most brilliant vocalists ever recorded. But outside of the voice, the awards, the legacy, Whitney wanted love that was beyond fame. Were we truly hearing her outside of the melodies? Whitney wasn’t a torch singer like Judy Garland or Billie Holiday, but she had an enduring flame, a unique soulfulness, which rested between the notes and her next breath. We will always love you.
Our condolences to Cissy Houston, Bobbi Kristina Brown and the entire Houston family.
Clay Cane is the Entertainment Editor at BET.com. You can follow him on Twitter here.