6 things you may not know about Whitney Houston
Houston’s nickname, given to her when she was a baby by her father John Houston, was Nippy. The story goes, Houston was a fussy baby who kept kicking off her winter blanket at night. Her father, who repeatedly covered her up, would affectionately say to her, “Nippy, seldom right.” Nippy was also the name of a cartoon character who constantly got into trouble. When the singer formed her own management company, once run by her father, she named it Nippy Inc.
2-Cece Winans was Houston’best friend
CeCe Winans was Houston’s best friend and the godmother of her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown. Together, their voices were peerless on the soaring ballad ‘Count on Me.’ Obviously, from the title of the song, it was an ode to their enduring friendship. The single reached the top 10 of the Billboard R&B Songs chart and was nominated for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals at the 1994 Grammy Awards, though it did not win.
3- Houston Kept It All in the Family
Houston’s family worked for her and with her. Her brother Gary Houston, also a singer, once sang the duet “My Endless Love” with her on the concert stage. Her other brother, Michael Houston, penned several songs with her for the “Waiting to Exhale” soundtrack. Gary’s wife, Patricia Houston, was her manager. And her longtime bodyguard was Patricia’s brother Ray Watson.
4-Houston Turned Down ‘Cosby Show’
Houston auditioned for and got the role of Sondra Huxtable on “The Cosby Show.” But she turned it down. According to the UK’s Daily Mail, she told director Jay Sandrich that she couldn’t sign the contract because she was going to be a singer and had to be free to tour, even though she didn’t even have a record deal. “I said ‘Well, who told you you can sing?’” recalled Sandrich, “and she said ‘My mother, my aunt.’” “The Cosby Show” became the biggest hit of the 80s and Houston became an international pop star.
5-School Named After Her
Whitney has a school named after her (1997) – formerly Franklin School, now the Whitney E. Houston School of Creative and Performing Arts in her hometown of East Orange, New Jersey
6- Activist and Philantropist
Whitney Houston was a stalwart supporter the anti-apartheid movementand Nelson Mandela. During her days as a model, Houston refused to work with any agencies who did business with South Africa
In 1988, she performed in London at Freedomfest, an event thrown in celebration of Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday. The concert was watched by 600 million people and was credited with raising worldwide consciousness about the imprisoned leader, leading many believe to his release. In 1994, after Mandela’s election, Houston performed in a special series of South African concerts, all proceeds of which were donated by Whitney Houston and her foundation to South African children’s charities, including two children’s museums and several orphanages. In 1989, Houston founded Whitney Houston Foundation for Children, which helped kids with cancer and AIDS. She was also involved with many other causes, including the United Negro College Fund, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, and the Children’s Diabetes Foundation. In 1991, she donated her royalties from her chart-busting rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” to the Red Cross. In 1997 , Houston’s “Classic Whitney Live from Washington, D.C.” HBO special concert reportedly raised more than $300,000 for the Children’s Defense Fund.