When Whitney Houston first emerged on the music scene in 1985, with her elegant looks (forgive the bow) and her exquisite, powerful voice, her family’s musical legacy was something to celebrate: Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick, and Met Opera soprano Leontyne Price were cousins. And Cissy Houston was her mother.
But her family’s legacy would seem tarnished since her death after drowning in a hotel tub, following a drug-induced heart attack (Xanax, marijuana, and cocaine were found in her system), on February 11, 2012 — and not by Whitney. Many of those who’ve survived her, including her mother, are commodifying their grief by doing so publicly: On October 24, 2012, Lifetime premiered a reality show of the surviving family — “The Houstons”— and last night, Cissy had a sit down with Oprah to promote her memoir, “Remembering Whitney,” which hits stores today.
And on that sit down, Oprah gets what she comes for — or at least, this viewer got what she wanted to see — though it took about 20 minutes of warming up her guest. Oprah approaches Cissy cautiously at first, padding Whitney’s mother’s canned, succinct responses about how their last encounters with video footage from the late 1980s of her young daughter talking about how much she loved and treasured her mother, how she owed her everything.