This week on the Reheat: How The World Failed Whitney Houston

Hello, and welcome to The Reheat! This is a column where each week, I write about the highlights of the podcast I co-host with Sadaf Ahsan. Our podcast, also titled The Reheat, re-examines the most salacious scandals of yester-year from a contemporary lens. Whether it’s a deep dive into Bennifer’s original love story from the 2000s or a meditation on the time princess Anne was almost kidnapped, we explain why each saga captured our imaginations back in the day. Sadaf and I also ask, would these stories be as scandalous if they happened in 2021? The answers to that question might surprise you!

Whenever we release a new episode, I’ll share some of the juiciest tidbits right here, for Addicted  Magazine’s lovely readers. Obviously, we hope these columns tantalize you enough to listen to our podcast. That’s where you’ll learn the fascinating details I don’t share here…

This week’s installment of The Reheat provides listeners with a fulsome, trauma-informed conversation about the recording artist known as The Voice, AKA Ms. Whitney Houston. While the singer tragically passed away in 2012, her influence on music will never die! Here are a few highlights from the latest
episode, “How The World Failed Whitney Houston.”

Whitney Houston’s Is In Youtube’s “1 Billion Views” Club

In 2020, Whitney Houston became the first solo artist from the 90s to join Youtube’s so-called “Billion Views Club,” thanks to her unforgettable cover of “I Will Always Love You.” If that stat isn’t proof of Whitney’s continued relevance, I don’t know what is!

Ms. Houston Label Was Horribly Racist To Her

Whitney Houston signed with Arista Records in 1983. The singer had learned her craft as a child, singing Gospel music in the New Hope Baptist Church’s choir; however, Arista’s white male executives worried Whitney’s Gospel influences would alienate white audiences. Said execs encouraged the superstar to sing more pop music, regardless of her personal preferences.

Over the course of her career, Houston’s image was literally and figuratively white-washed. Case in point: record producer Clive Davis insisted Whitneyappear as light-skinned as possible in promotional images. The need to be “palatable” to mainstream audiences also led Houston to deny her romantic history with friend and former lover Robyn Crawford.

The Media Had A History of Exploiting and Dehumanizing Houston

Drug use disorder is a disease, like any other. According to Robyn Crawford,vWhitney first experimented with cocaine at age fourteen. Houston struggledvwith addiction for her entire adult life, but the media rarely treated her condition with the empathy it warranted.

Music journalists – especially white male music journalists – frequently glorify male recording artists who live with substance use disorders; however, during Whitney Houston’s 2010 world tour, Whitney was going through a particularly rough period. In response, Dave Simpson declared in The Guardian that
Houston shouldn’t be performing at all, referring to her as “a freakshow.” Well, screw him and his dehumanizing language!

Of course, it wasn’t just music journalists who mistreated Whitney. Anyone with an internet connection has probably seen the viral “Crack is wack” clip from Whitney Houston’s 2002 interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer. In this week’s podcast, we analyse the bullying tacts Sawyer used to elicit that sensationalized quote.

Ms. Houston Recorded The Top-Selling Gospel Album of All Time

After becoming one of the top-selling female vocalists of all time, Whitney finally received an opportunity to embrace her gospel roots. In 1996, she starred alongside Courtney B. Vance and Denzel Washington in the holiday The Preacher’s Wife. Houston co-produced the film’s soundtrack (and
obviously performed on the record, as well). It became the bestselling Gospel record ever recorded!

Sarah Sahagian

Sarah Sahagian

Sarah Sahagian is a feminist writer based in Toronto. Her byline has appeared in such publications as Elle Canada, Flare, Bitch Media, The Toronto Star, and The National Post. She is also the co-host of You Do You: A Dating Podcast. Sarah holds a master’s degree in Gender Studies from The London School of Economics. You can find her on Twitter, where she posts about politics and live-tweets The Bachelor

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