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You're expecting her to float delicately into the room, but Whitney Houston strides in with a purposeful air. '' [Laughs] I wasn't goin' for a lot of bullshit. This is the ultimate.'' I haven't experienced anything greater. Really, it has nothing to do with business whatsoever.
She's dressed way down in purple stretch pants and a brightly patterned flannel shirt, and while her smile is welcoming, her handshake is firm, businesslike. Since Houston burst on the scene at twenty-one in 1985, it's been easy for her to sell records, harder for her to get respect. The disadvantage of growing up with two boys is that you can't do anything. You know, my brother had one girl outside, one upstairs, one in the basement - and all three of these girls would be waiting.
The daughter of Cissy Houston of the Sweet Inspirations (who sang behind Aretha Franklin and Elvis Presley) and the cousin of the great Dionne Warwick, Whitney, now twenty-nine, has been characterized as lacking both her mother's deep soulfulness and her cousin's songful sensitivity. More personally, Houston has for years fended off allegations about a lesbian relationship with her longtime friend Robyn Crawford, as well as speculation about her 1992 marriage to New Jack Swinger Bobby Brown, who, though five years younger than Houston, has three illegitimate children with two other women. So my mother was my first example that I looked at and said, "Wow, that voice right there.'' And I'm her daughter, so I sound like my mother when my mother was my age, though I truly think my mother has a greater voice than me, because she's the master, I'm the student [laughs]. You learn, you grow up, and you become your own woman. When other people are talking shit to my ear, I know my mother won't blow smoke up my ass, and I know she'll tell me the truth. Did it bother you that many people saw Clive Davis as the Svengali behind your early career? Who's to say that William Kennedy Smith raped this girl? Who's to say that these young ladies weren't being promiscuous? I have seen Mike, a very good friend of mine, go to jail behind something that I think has been done a lot. Being with my family, going out and laughing, having a good time. But the fun in the business, the excitement, like at the beginning?
Even the birth of Houston and Brown's child, Bobbi Kristina, last March failed to slow the spinning of the rumor mill. She has greater range, greater power than I ever did. Sometimes it did when critics would say that Clive told me what to do and how to do it, because that's all bullshit. You see a lot of videos that have women as bodies, with bathing suits on, just running around. My mother always said to me: "If you want to be respected, then act with respect. Do I think it's because they're black people? I think it's because they're famous black people. I think that plays a real important part in the whole thing.
She's having that kind of moment Let's talk a little bit about your musical upbringing. Being around people like Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick and Roberta Flack, all these greats, I was taught to listen and observe. It was something that was so natural to me that when I started singing, it was almost like speaking. Were you surprised that the first album got so large? I was hugging them, we were laughing, and I kept hitting Bobby in the back of the head. Okay, now we can go on to , that he wanted me to do. I went, "Yeah, sure.'' Then I called my agent, and she said, "Yeah, it's true.'' So I read the script. But almost simultaneously with the rise of your own career, much harder styles of black music have risen up.
It had a great impact on me as a singer, as a performer, as a musician. You know, it gets to the point where the first couple of million you go, "Oh, thank you, Jesus! Robyn said, "Whitney, you keep hittin' Bobby, he's goin' to be mad at you.'' I leaned over and said, "Bobby, I'm so sorry.'' And he turned around and looked at me like "Yeah, well just don't let it happen again.'' And I was like "Oooooh, this guy doesn't like me.'' Well, I always get curious when somebody doesn't like me. So I said, "I'm going to invite Bobby to a party.'' And I did. I've heard a lot about my husband being this womanizer. I liked the story, but in the beginning Rachel was very rough, very hard a little bitch.
Her albums – , which to date has clocked a cool 0 million worldwide, ensures that a career in the movie industry is hers for the asking. Me - "You kept me waiting too long, see ya later.'' I knew it was a trip. '' I remember stopping the meeting and saying, "I gotta take a break.'' I went into another room and sat in a chair, and my mother came in after me and said, "You know, this is very difficult, but I'm going to tell you the truth: You should go where you are going to get the best out of it.'' Meaning, let's say a company offers you a contract, and they're saying: "Whitney, you can choose the songs. You can do whatever the hell you want to do.'' As opposed to Arista, with Clive Davis saying: "We'll give you this amount of money, and we'll sit down, and as far as the songs you want to do, I will help you. This song doesn't.''' So my mother was saying to me, "You're eighteen years old.
See, our whole relationship started out as friends. '' The first time he asked me to marry him, I said [laughs]: "Forget about it, no way. My husband's got a lot of energy, period [laughs].
How conscious were you about how different you seem from each other? I mean, do you stop loving somebody because you have different images? Bobby has two very strong parents, I have two very strong parents.
You know, Bobby and I basically come from the same place.
I'm a mother, and that's my concern for the most part right now.
There's nothing I want to do individually at the moment that I can think of. Bam, I'm gonna pop you again.'' I said: "What! '' He said, "Nah, we're gonna have some more kids, honey.'' We were joking about it we were talking about having more children.