It’s hard to believe that more than ten years have passed since the world lost the legendary singer and actress Whitney Houston. The life of the late eight-time Grammy-winning artist recently received a biographical interpretation in Kasi Lemmons’ film “I Want to Dance with Someone,” drawing attention to the singer’s life and struggle. Houston producer Clive Davis (who discovered Houston at the age of 19) said in a recent interview that at first he did not see the star’s struggle with addiction.
Prolific music producer (and at one time Whitney Houston’s manager) Clive Davis recently met with CNN to discuss Houston’s career and a new film about the singer that he was producing. Davis said he had seen the “ups” and “downs” of Houston’s career, but admitted that he learned about the performer’s battles later than some because her loyalty and devotion blinded him. He explained:
[I realized it] later than some because she was loyal, devoted, she was always on when she was with me. So admittedly, I didn’t see the signs early.
The music mogul said Houston was always ready, so he didn’t realize the depth of her addiction. However, the singer’s performance at a special event dedicated to the 30th anniversary of Michael Jackson at Madison Square Garden in 2001 made it obvious to everyone that something was wrong with the star of “The Bodyguard”. Davis continued:
She was always ready for me. But, clearly, unmistakably, the lowest would be Michael Jackson’s concert at Madison Square Garden. She comes on stage and I can’t believe my eyes. She’s a skeleton.
The two—decade-old play is admittedly still hard to watch-maybe even harder, given what we know about what happened to Houston. The singer appeared on the stage of Madison Square fatally emaciated. Davis said her emaciated appearance scared him so much that he took the liberty of writing her a letter. He said:
I’ve never seen her like this. I was very scared. I wrote her a letter.
Houston’s longtime manager said he wrote the singer a heartfelt letter informing her that she had a problem and that if she didn’t get it under control, she would absorb it. He insisted on the deadly seriousness of her situation, but, unfortunately, the singer did not heed his words. David said:
I said, “You have a serious problem, and you have to deal with it. And this is a matter of life and death.” She didn’t listen or didn’t respond to the letter.
In a documentary about his life and music career, “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack to Our Lives” (which you can watch on a Netflix subscription), Davis’ relationship with Houston takes 25 minutes out of the two-hour timekeeping, and it goes into much more detail about the heartbreaking letter that Whitney Houston never answered.
Clive Davis clearly cared about the late singer and continues to support her legacy. According to the young actress Naomi Ackie , her communication with people close to Houston, such as Davis, was vital for her during the preparation for the role of Houston in “I want to dance with someone.” The actress said that communicating with instrumental musicians from Houston’s life helped her understand the person behind the mythical star.
Fans can see for themselves that Davis and Ackie are paying tribute to Whitney Houston’s legacy by watching I Wanna Dance With Somebody at a local movie theater. Our readers may also be interested in watching famous biographical films about iconic black musicians, or perhaps they will want to watch some of Houston’s films.