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This programme contains very strong language
People say Whitney died from an overdose of drugs.
Whitney Houston was drugged out.
I know Whitney Houston actually died from a broken heart.
She died from a broken heart.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Oh, it's like that, huh?
Hallelujah. Thank you.
I'm tired! Let's do this show.
Well, sir, I hear the people. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
-Now, that's the crowd out there.
-That's the crowd.
I want you to go out there and do what I tell you.
It's my prerogative.
# It's my prerogative
# It's my prerogative. #
# She can do what she wants to do. #
-Let's do it!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
# I hope life treats you kind
# And I hope you have all you dreamed of
# And I wish you joy and happiness
# But above all this I wish you love
# Sweet love
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
# And I
# Will always love you
# I will always love you
# I will always love you
# I will always
# Always love you
# I will always love you
# I'll always love
# You. #
I'm sitting... I'm playing drums behind her, right?
And I'm sitting and I'm watching her.
And I'm watching the muscles in her back
and everything just expand like that, you know?
It was like a... She was like a doggone body-builder.
And that's how she sang every night, every song.
Whitney's voice, you know, unparalleled.
I mean, she was ridiculous.
It also cost her near the end of the tours.
I mean, you could see the toll it took on her voice
to have to do those performances night after night.
She was totally brilliant.
Totally brilliant but...
Everything came so naturally to her.
Whitney was created by God and Whitney's gift came from him.
So the only one who could mess it up was her.
There was a timbre, a sound to her voice that was just angelic.
There were many, many times when Whitney's voice was just gone.
By the time... You know, we would lower the key
to songs and then lower it again and then maybe lower it again.
But even then, you know, when it became time for her
to hit those notes, she wasn't there because she wasn't
taking care of herself.
Whitney's voice broke barriers.
We did not have Beyonces.
And any African American female artist
that can now be at the top of the pop chart,
that absolutely was not going to happen before Whitney Houston.
It had not happened before Whitney Houston.
So she changed history for us
and she paid a price for it.
People may not know it but Whitney was from the 'hood.
They wanted to present her as the princess.
That's what white America was presented.
They weren't presented with Newark, New Jersey, Whitney.
I grew up in Newark, New Jersey, and in East Orange, New Jersey.
I do know what it is to be black.
I know what it's like to see my black community and people not being
given the opportunity as others are given the opportunity.
GOSPEL MUSIC PLAYS
Whitney was very in touch with her spiritual...
You know, with her thoughts about being spiritual
and knowing where it came from - from my mother.
You know, from growing up and going to church,
you know, from reading the Bible, from singing gospel songs,
from being affiliated with people who were in the church.
You know, things of that nature.
# When the Lord comes back
# We'll be ready when he comes
# When the Lord comes back
# We're gonna have a great celebration. #
The memories of singing in church are ones
that I cherish the most.
# If you just
-# Have a little talk
-A little talk
# With Jesus... #
THEY CONTINUE SINGING
It wasn't worldly, it wasn't...
It was fresh, it wasn't stale.
Singing gospel was an energy, a passion.
THEY CONTINUE SINGING
I taught Whitney. Nobody else taught her.
I taught her what she knew.
She sang from her heart.
She knew how.
She learnt how. She learnt to craft well
and that's very important.
If you're going to sing, you have to know how to sing
and most people sing...
I guess they learn their way, but she learned the right way
because that's what I taught her.
She was spoiled. She was the baby.
She was John's baby.
Nobody messed with her anyway, nobody did.
They didn't have the heart to...
They didn't have the heart to mess with Nippy.
I think she was closer to her dad than her mother.
She felt that love more from her dad.
It could be, you know, she was the only girl...
Cissy's no joke.
Cissy is straight, stern.
She didn't doubt that her mother loved her, but whether she could
feel it the way she did with, like, her dad, I'm not sure.
Her mother made her decisions.
Her mother, I feel, was instrumental in creating the enormous career.
She guided her, she chose her people that were around her, she...
She influenced Whitney in her voice and her training, and her choices.
Cissy was everything.
We were the first black family up here.
House has been painted, because it was white.
No, they put whatsitsname on it.
The tower, the little panelling, or whatever.
It's amazing, it's amazing.
So many memories.
I used to sneak into the house and climb into the window
of Whitney's bedroom.
She opened the window for me.
"Daddy's going to whoop your ass!"
We were always, like I say, being together most of the time,
and her following behind me, I taught her to drive, you know.
We played together, you know, and everything that you do together
as you're growing up, and then, when you get into drugs,
you do that together, too.
You know, like I say, at ten years old, I tried drugs.
I mean, you know, I was ten years old.
I mean, I saw people that I looked up to using drugs,
and I saw them doing their best, being at their best.
When Whitney and I met, we were in our teens, 18, 19.
They did drugs! You know, it was the thing you do,
you go out, you party, you drink, you do a little drugs,
everybody did it, and her brothers gave it to her.
It was just something you do to have fun.
I mean, you know, my mother had a good, pretty good rein on me,
you know what I'm saying? Erm...
When you're raised in church, and in the background of
God-fearing religions, you kind of - and it's instilled in you -
there is a certain boundary that you don't cross.
You know what I'm saying? Like, I could have got into
a lot more trouble than I got into if I hadn't thought about,
"My mother's going to kill me,"
or, "My father and my mother are going to be so disappointed,"
or, you know, "I know God is watching me".
I've been working with Whitney for 18 years now, and I guess you
can say that I've known her for 18 years, too.
I have a friendship - that's our foundation.
I knew her brothers, went to school with them,
but never knew they had a sister.
And she was pretty low-key, smart.
She knows how to play, she's funny.
I didn't know... She was like this, she would come over, and my mom
was real cool with it, and Whitney would hang out. And she would be
on the cover of Seventeen, and wouldn't even tell anybody.
Isn't that funny? My mother would have to go to the grocery store,
come back, and say, "Robyn, you know so-and-so?"
I would know that maybe she had a photoshoot some time ago,
but Whitney wouldn't tell me anything.
Isn't that strange?
Young, and you would think she would be like, "Check me out!"
None of that.
I wonder if she was scared to, like, see it.
I've never asked her that.
But she would do strange things like that, she's...
I would say that Whitney is sort of strange.
-So are you going to...?
-You're looking quite spinny today.
-When I met them, I think Whitney had just moved into her very
first apartment, and her and Robyn were sharing an apartment.
Robyn was older than Whitney, and I think people were picking on Whitney
at school, and Robyn would, you know, step in to keep people
from fighting her, and protect her from those people.
So they, I guess, created a bond then, and then they just kept it.
And then Robyn became instrumental in helping her make those decisions,
with her career, and stuff like that.
I first met Whitney when I started to work at Arista Records.
She was... She was a sweet kid at the time.
She was very insecure, she was not that polished.
I remember at a dinner in Washington DC, she made a joke about the amount
of silverware, the amount of service placing at dinner,
and how do you use it? And I remember telling her this trick,
the way I learned the first time -
you watch everybody else and just start from the outside.
She was very naive, she was very insecure.
She was always very concerned if people were going to like her,
if people were going to accept her.
And it's interesting, because it was never really about the talent.
It was about how she looked, and how she presented herself.
When Merv returns, Arista Records president Clive Davis
introduces a great new singing talent.
This girl is 19 years old, yeah, and rarely do you find...
There was Lena Horne, there was Dionne Warwick, who is
-She's Dionne Warwick's cousin, isn't she?
By coincidence, I have never even talked to Dionne about this.
I mean this sincerely.
Clive was a master at pop music.
He had a vision for a pop artist.
He tried to do it with Dionne and Aretha,
but they were far too established in their career as to who they were.
And along comes Whitney, who was so mouldable,
and she was the perfect vehicle for his foolproof vision.
-She's got it.
-She got it. Wait till you hear.
# It's real, it's real to me
# And I've learned that we must look inside
# To find
# Yeah, we gotta find
# A world full of love
# Like yours, like
# Like mine,
# Like home
# Home. #
The company had this image in mind that they were going to create
a pop icon, an artist that was accepted by the masses,
translating to white America.
How did you market Whitney for a white audience?
Put the past behind them,
and don't focus on it.
And that's what we did.
You know, it sounds trite and small and insignificant, but it's not.
As you have said, this is a very racial country, and racism,
especially on the part of a black person that's an artist
or whatever they may be,
normally, folks are looking for something in the background.
The news about Whitney Houston is crackling through the music world,
and the news is good.
"She is a talent with tremendous potential" - The New York Times.
"Whitney has the pedigree and the style to be a major vocalist,
"there is no doubt about it.
"Whitney Houston is going to be a star."
She was who she was. She came from she came from.
If you're from the 'hood, you're from the 'hood.
There are certain things you do, there are certain things you like,
you dance, you play, you...
It is part of the culture you have,
so we are going to take you out of that, present you to be another way
to a mass audience, and you're going to play the part.
And Whitney played that part great,
because that was part of who she was. She WAS classy.
Her mother was Cissy Houston, her cousin was Dionne Warwick.
But at the heart of it, she was still Nippy.
My next guest is a rather spectacular 21-year-old singer,
whose recent album - debut album, as a matter of fact -
has received great reviews from the critics. She is the daughter of
singer Cissy Houston, and cousin of Dionne Warwick.
Whitney Houston, cousin of Dionne Warwick
and daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston...
-Your aunt is...
-My cousin is Dionne Warwick.
-And your aunt is Thelma...
-No, no, no, we're no relation at all.
Oh! And who was your father, Duke Ellington?
Her music was deliberately pop.
Anything that was too black sounding was sent back to the studio,
and to say "black sounding", in case you have a problem with that,
it's to say that it's too George Clinton, it's too Funkadelic,
it's just too R&B.
We want Joni Mitchell, we want Mariah Carey,
we want Barbra Streisand, we want to achieve that sound
more so than we want to achieve the other R&B sounds.
We don't want a female James Brown.
OK, congratulations, first of all,
on having the number one song in America.
-Isn't that something? Thank you!
-How does that feel?
-It feels great.
It feels really, really great, I must tell you.
I should explain to you, also, in the final product,
I'm not going to exist, it will be just you.
-Yeah, too bad.
-Oh, poor thing!
-So, you need to make your answers fairly complete and...
Ideally about a minute long, but if you go longer, that's fine,
-but just not really short, OK?
Some of the criticisms of the album were that your voice was so good,
it shouldn't be wasted on pop cliches and things like that.
Do you feel that way at all, or will that influence your next album?
I doubt it.
I doubt it.
I did not go into the studio wanting to make a pop album.
I went into the studio wanting to make good music.
# I found the greatest love of all
# Inside of me
# The greatest love of all
# Is easy to achieve
# Learning to love yourself
# It is the greatest love of all
# And if, by chance, that special place
# That you've been dreaming of
# Leads you to a lonely place
# Find your strength in love. #
Clive Davis was right.
In January of 1986, she collected five American Music Awards,
and in February, she took top female vocalist honours at the Grammys.
Greatest Love Of All, Whitney Houston.
Whitney Houston, Whitney Houston!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
They told me...
They told me to take as much time as I wanted.
And they're asking for it now!
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
Gosh. What can I say?
I'd like to thank my mom and dad, for their love and support.
I wouldn't have made it without you.
My brothers, Michael and Gary.
Whitney and Robyn, they fought those battles together,
from the beginning to a bona fide superstar.
They were close, they were tight.
Robyn was my go-to person, I love Robyn.
Whitney was at the top of the charts,
she had four or five, six, seven consecutive number one records.
These were pop records, they were massive.
She was everywhere.
And to the black ear, these records didn't have a natural feel.
These records were not natural R&B records.
So for the black audience, the perspective was in the community,
that Whitney had sold out.
Whitney had been nominated for either Record Of The Year
or Female Vocalist Of The Year.
When her picture came across the screen, there was this massive boo.
And the winner is...
It's not a good feeling. It is horrible, and it's kind of funny.
You go, "Are they booing me?"
You have to sit there and be, like, cordial, and be smiling,
and be like, "Everything's OK," and you're feeling, like,
"Oh, my God, they're not booing me, are they?"
Sometimes, it gets down to - you're not black enough for them.
You know, or you're not R&B enough.
You're very pop, the white audience have taken you away from them.
That moment of being booed on Soul Train was not only tough
for Whitney, it was devastating.
It was devastating. It was emotionally devastating.
She, I don't think, ever recovered from it.
It is one of those boxes that was checked,
that when ultimately she perished,
it was because of those boxes, and that was a big one.
Whitney insisted they crossed her back over to black music.
I'm Your Baby Tonight was not a record that
Clive Davis wanted to make, but she says,
"I'm not making another record like you want, I'm going to do me now."
Her favourite saying was, "Can I be me?"
In fact, she would say it so much, that we had it sampled.
"C-c-c-c-can I be me?"
And that was the conundrum, like, "Damn it, I have made all this
"money, and made all these people happy, and I still can't be me."
Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you so much!
I love you, Mommy and Daddy, and my brothers, God bless you...
When you create somebody, when you create something, at some point,
that something realises, "This isn't me.
"I have been created and I have been moulded into this,"
and they break out of it.
She came from such a controlling family situation.
And she allowed that to happen, of course,
because maybe of her upbringing, I don't know why, but...
..after a certain point, I think that anybody, and it was clear
in her case, that you can't take it much longer,
and you break out, you fall apart, you crumble.
You're like, "I can't take the pressure any more."
-And who do you think was controlling her, mainly?
-Oh, her mother.
Her mother, clearly. I think that, you know,
Whitney had the career that her mother always wanted.
Her records never achieved any real major success,
and here comes her daughter, and if you read in her book,
she referenced in her book, Whitney stole all of her style.
# I wanna say, happy birthday...
# ..to my daddy
# I love you, so happy birthday...
# Happy birthday...
# ..to you. #
You're surprised, aren't you?
I just want to thank you for your love...
..and for being the best daddy any girl could ever have.
There was a deep, very complicated relationship with her father.
One of the things about being rich is that your family is either
dependent on you in one way or another, financially,
or they actually work for you.
And in this case, her father and mother worked for her,
and so did her brothers, and her sister-in-law. And with Whitney,
we saw just the weirdness of that relationship with her dad.
Because he was constantly trying to do what was right for her,
you thought, but then there were times, you'd go,
"I don't know if you are doing what is right for her,
"as much as what is right for the career, but how about her?"
# I love you so much, yes, I do.
# Couldn't make it without you.
# Hallelujah, I love you, Daddy. #
After the second album, and this phenomenal success,
folks didn't realise, they really didn't know a whole lot about her,
Who she was hanging out with, who she was going out with,
and, you know, who she was partying with.
Is there somebody that you're seeing?
Yeah, I'm seeing someone, absolutely, sure.
Sure. I'm seeing you right now, with my own two eyes.
-Has he actually what?
-Rung you up, since you've been over here?
MOCKING ENGLISH ACCENT: Rung me up!
Has he actually rung me up?
Yes, he has actually rung me.
He has rung me and I've rung him.
I said I want to fuck her.
He says you are great.
You are the best of the best...
A lot of what I have learned, a lot of what I know...
..kind of takes the fun out of it.
I enjoy doing what I do.
I enjoy singing, I enjoy performing for people.
You know, but there's a lot of it, about the business,
and about what I do, that's not fun, that you're subjected to,
and it's often not very fair.
Then it started again, real intense in terms of questions.
And, um, you know, I'd have people call from radio stations
and be in a conversation with programme directors,
and they'd say, "Hey, man, is Whitney gay?"
I'd say, "Huh? Hell, no. What made you ask?"
"Well, I've heard..." You know. And that was all over the place.
Rumours had already started about her sexuality.
When we travelled, Robyn was with us. Depending on who you were,
you had to get through Robyn to get to Whitney.
You have to understand the make-up of these guys who did promotion.
700 music programme directors, that, uh, 99.9% heterosexual,
And the woman goes, "Oh, this woman is not a heterosexual."
They had a field day with that.
And heterosexual men always have a field day with that, anyway,
because the first thing they say is that, you know,
"Oh, she doesn't need me."
HE LAUGHS CYNICALLY
This wasn't her world.
I mean, I brought her into this madness, and she goes, "What?
"Why am I the target? What did I do?"
I said, "You're my friend. What else do you want?
"You play basketball. They think you're a man! I don't know!"
She's a damn good basketball player.
She can beat any guy there is. I love it!
Because she plays basketball, people think she's a lesbian.
She's a very tall, very broad woman. She's been my friend for years.
I don't know, we just... stuck it out.
This was her friend, that she'd had around her for, you know,
since the beginning of her career,
and all of a sudden I think she had people telling her what to do.
Her mother was very much against it, Clive was very much against it.
They said, "Was it cool to have a lesbian affair?"
You know, today - I always think, if she were an artist today,
she'd be fine, everything would be lovely.
She'd probably still be here. But back then,
it was this tremendous emphasis on being the perfect girl.
It became quite a conflict. And it's interesting,
because you have drugs, you have this family riddled with drugs,
and yet the homosexuality is what you're going to focus on,
when, you know, you would have had a better time probably trying to
handle those drugs than you would have with that.
But again, that religion, that fierce religion that I think
Cissy had, that was very important to her,
because it's people talking, it's the church talking.
She's an elder in the church, she's a trustee in the church,
and your daughter's a homosexual.
And again, female homosexuality in the black community is
absolutely never spoken about.
I don't hear that at all. You never hear that.
-Black men, yes. Black women, no.
I've not got five minutes to eat!
They hate it. Hey, listen, I'm going onto a...
Whitney didn't have a closeness and feel safe with many people.
Robyn provided a safe place for her, Robyn loved her, cared for her,
was a friend to her and didn't want to ever disappoint her.
In that, Whitney found safety and solace.
I don't think that she was gay.
I think she was bisexual. If you loved her and she loved you,
it's possible for her to get into a physical relationship,
because Whitney loved to be held and she loved to be embraced,
and she wanted to feel protected.
Do you believe that Whitney and Robyn were in a gay relationship?
I don't really know. I thought, you know...
Would it have bothered you if your daughter Whitney was gay?
-It would have bothered you?
-So, were you happy when Bobby Brown came into the picture?
-You weren't happy about that?
# ..strange relationships
# That really gets me down
# I see nothing wrong... #
# Everybody's talking now
# I don't need... #
And as you may be aware, the Soul Train Awards, where she was
booed, was that not the night she met Bobby Brown,
at the Soul Train Awards?
So you're talking about a total 360 image reversal.
This beautiful pop starlet
is now with the bad boy of R&B, Bobby Brown.
And the winner is...
I think I had won three awards that night,
and all of a sudden someone's hitting me in the back of the head.
And I turned around, and it was Whitney Houston.
And they said I was crazy, huh?
She was like, "Oh, was I hitting you? I'm sorry."
And then she did it again.
She was trying to get my attention, because I was fly.
I knew it, she knew it. You know?
Thank you. I'm outta here, baby.
We found that we had a lot in common,
and we started hanging out more and more.
Bobby was street. Bobby was 'hood.
Bobby was... Bobby had... As they say, Bobby had swag.
Whitney didn't grow up in Long Island, she grew up in Newark.
Bobby grew up in Boston, came from a similar culture.
They just had a chemistry, for whatever reason,
that worked for them.
I met Bobby Brown in 1988, I believe.
We had a birthday party at Whitney's new home.
On the gate were three guys,
one of whom was dressed in a floral turquoise short-trousers suit...
..black loafers and white socks scrunched up round his ankles.
And his hair was cut like this, at a diagonal.
Bobby, what brings you round these parts?
Whitney, Whitney, Whitney.
Um, she invited me. I'm having a great time.
I just want to say happy birthday, Whitney.
You're doing great. I wish I could be like you one day.
And as that evening went on...
..she actually danced with him.
Robyn didn't take it especially well.
I think it adversely impacted on her relationship with Whitney.
# Come home
# Come home... #
Mr Bobby Brown!
# Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!
# I-I-I-I-I-I-I I-I-I-I-I-I-I
# Yeah, hoo HE CONTINUES TO SCAT
# Yeah, yeah, yeah!
# Oh, baby!
# Hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo
# One more time
# A-one more time
# Here we go! Mr Brown!... #
MUSIC STOPS The record is not over yet.
MUSIC RESTARTS # Oh, yeah!
# Bobby Brown!
# Oh, yeah!
# Oh, baby!
# Oh, baby!
# Yeah, yeah! Yeah!
# Yeah! Yeah!
# Yeah! Yeah!
# Oh, yeah!
# Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
# Yeah! #
He loved her as herself.
She could come off that stage and not have to be the person that
everybody in the world expected her to be or who they thought she was.
He understood that part of her. He understood the pressures,
because he was Bobby Brown, you know?
He understood her pressures and he understood her pain.
What do I think that Bobby and Whitney gave each other?
You know, because, again, they absolutely...
she absolutely loved him. And they loved each other.
But there was ACCEPTANCE.
You know, for who they were.
And that feeling of when you don't feel like you have to be
anybody but yourself with somebody...
..they had that.
Where are you at this point of your life?
Um, married with a baby. Happy.
Yeah. You know, I've got a great career. I have no complaints.
I am blessed.
So, then, will you tell me about Bobby?
..was ready for the same things I was ready for.
Commitment. Loyalty. Security. Trust. A good woman, a good man.
They call him a womaniser. You know, that's pretty harsh, you know?
Um, I don't think that my husband womanised anybody,
because I know that if he wanted them, they definitely wanted him.
You know? I don't think, you know, it was about womanising.
I think boys will be boys, and they have their fun, and they play.
When they really become smart and they find a good woman,
they marry her.
And that's what he did! SHE GIGGLES
THEY SHOUT HAPPILY
I think I'm a slave. I'm a slave. I'm a horse.
I'm a horse.
She's the most loving mother, um...
..the craziest wife...
..because I'm crazy myself, you know?
I'm... Everybody knows me, you know?
Knows OF me.
But in order to deal with a person like me,
she has to be the sweetest person in the world
and also the meanest person in the world at times, because...
..it's, like, I'm...
..I'm Bobby Brown, I'm the original bad boy, they say.
But I'm not as bad as everybody thinks I am, so...
My wife, to me, is just like...
She's just a joy to be around.
Mm. I told you, I'd never seen nothing like it...
People could say what they want to say, but I lived in the house.
You know what I'm saying?
For years. So...
And what were they like together?
Hm! They were funny. I tell you, they used to do skits from movies.
She'd be Tina Turner and he'd be Ike!
HE COUGHS VIOLENTLY
Oh, no way!
Hey, hey, hey.
So now, I got the cutter.
That's what Tina DIDN'T do!
# Why, oh, why? #
How long did you work as bodyguard for Whitney?
From April 1988 until October 1995.
She knows that I looked after her with my life.
Very few people commit like that.
They didn't interview me for the job, I interviewed them.
"Are these somebody I'm prepared to die for?"
That film encapsulated in two hours and ten minutes what had then been
six years of our life together, absent two elements -
I've never been shot at while with her and I've never made love to her.
You take those two out of the film,
it really becomes quite a boring two-and-a-half hours, yes?
# If I...
# ..should stay... #
Kevin Costner had said to me, "When she sings that song, in the first
"chorus I want it to be with no music."
And I said, "Kevin, that's so stupid. No music?
"Are you kidding me? We're trying to get on radio."
And I'm standing there, and she goes, "# If I... #"
And it was like, "Ohhh! My God, are you kidding me?
"This is the most incredible thing I've ever seen in my life."
And my demo did not include that. I had music right from the start.
And from that second on, I knew that the only way that record
could ever be that way was with that a cappella opening.
It's just one of the most breathtaking things I've ever
been part of. And it wasn't even my doing. It was Kevin Costner.
The Bodyguard just exploded her popularity,
so she was not prepared for that.
Before she became really, really big after The Bodyguard,
we would go to the mall and we'd just go shopping.
And then we noticed people would stop and nobody would be moving.
She had to realise, "I can't come out any more,"
because you couldn't get from
point A to point B without 20 people asking for her autograph or a photo.
When it comes to the drugs, I don't think that she realised
she had a problem until after The Bodyguard.
It was no longer recreational.
This was something that she was doing more out of necessity
than just to have fun.
How much has success changed you? How different are you?
Probably a lot more paranoid! SHE LAUGHS
..doesn't change you, fame does.
You get a whole world of people calling your name
and you really don't know them.
Is there...Is there...Is there a misconception of the fact that,
when we become famous, that we have these beautiful,
perfect lives and that nothing is ever on a low?
SHE SCOFFS It's a bad conception,
because then people always think that you have to be this
grand old person that's just happy about life and everything,
because, what, we got money? Well, money doesn't make you happy.
It never did. I mean, history will tell you that.
And fame certainly doesn't make you happy. You know?
People will tell you that who are famous. You know? Um...
You got to find the happiness in yourself.
You got to know who you are before you step into this business, because
if you're trying to find it, you'll probably wind up being
somebody else that you probably don't even like.
Watch your step.
Her rise to fame just took the wind out of her.
And those were the times when she turned to God,
she turned to her faith.
She said, "God, you're the only one who understands.
"You're the only one who accepts me as I am."
# If I could...
# Oh! #
I think maybe the greater of them, the greatest disappointment,
was that she felt like she had let God down, too.
She knew that her gift came from Him.
She felt that she had let Him down with the way
she had not taken care of her body, of her instrument.
Are we out here?
All right, we here. We here, we here.
We're asking for a special,
special blessing, that you bring it on down here...
..that you go inside, Father God, because only you know what's inside.
Only you know what's inside,
only you know how to fix things that we can't even fix.
We know there's power in the name of Jesus,
we know that the blood of the lamb covers all
and that it's a healing power,
and we're asking that you do not pass us by.
Can I take you someplace with me? Will you go there?
So, when we go to church, which is
where I want to take you right now...
..we get very excited, we get very happy, we may start to cry...
..because we feel a joy like a river in our souls,
and we just have to let it out...
BACKING SINGERS CROON
..and sing praises to the Almighty God, you know?
# Ooh, Lord Oh, Lord
# I love you
# I do
# I love you
# I love you, I love you
# I love you
# I hasten to His mighty, mighty, mighty, mighty...
# Going to praise Him
# I hasten to I'll hasten to
# Your love, yeah
# I will know Yes, I will
# Lord, I love you
# You know, you know I do, Lord
# I surely love you I can't do without you
# I can't live, yeah, I can't live I can't live another day without you
# I can't live without you, Father
# No! No! No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no
# I cannot make it, I cannot make it
# Without your love, without your peace, your joy
# You give your joy unspeakable
# You give your joy unspeakable
# You give your joy You give your joy
# Joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy
# You give your joy You give your joy
# Nobody, nobody can take it away... #
There were moments when we and the audience were transformed
by her voice, and that is a God thing, that's not a human thing.
# Ooh, give it up for God... #
Whitney knew that she had that gift.
She could knock you over and sing a gospel riff, or whatever.
But then she could just caress a note in such a way that said,
"Oh, my God, is this...?"
It's a God thing.
# Ooh, Lord
# Oh, Lord
# Ooh, Saviour
# Don't pass me by. #
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
This is the home of the dancers, the background singers,
the gentlemen we call the main corps to the band,
the backing unit...
-Robyn I want to get this photo of you...
Robyn and Whitney were like twins. They were inseparable.
They were inseparable.
And everybody, again, knew the power that Robyn had.
..in your respective places.
Band and dancers up, up in the front here.
Right here. Excuse us. On your knees.
Whitney and Robyn had a bond.
They had a bond,
and Bobby Brown could never remove Robyn from the relationship.
And that was part of his frustration, because he wanted
Whitney Houston to love him as the man of the relationship...
..and he wanted Whitney to remove Robyn from their relationship,
and Whitney didn't want to do it,
because Robyn cared for Whitney more than
she probably would care for anybody.
After a while, you get sleepy. You just go with the flow.
-I kinda know what Whitney wants to go on around her.
And sometimes it's a little difficult to convey that to people.
You have to just go and do it yourself.
So most people would say I'm just about everywhere.
One, two, three, go.
-# If we take this chance
# Extend to each other romance
# I hope it will be
# The right thing... #
See, slide, like... # If we take this chance
# Extend to each other romance
# I hope
# It would be... #
# You and you and you and you
SHE SINGS ALONG
# If I told you that...
# I know that we're just friends
# But what if I decide to bring something in?
# Oh, my, my, my, my, my
# I hope it won't affect the trust we have
# Because I don't want this to end... #
Bobby Brown and Robyn Crawford together was
the equivalent of fire and water, petrol and a short fuse.
They hated each other.
They would battle for her affection, they'd battle for her attention,
mainly to identify with the hate they had for each other.
There were numerous fights between Robyn and Bobby Brown.
Bobby and Robyn had some physical altercations,
and I think there were times when he wasn't always the winner!
But then, Whitney would come in-between them and she'd...
..you know, pour the oil on the troubled waters.
# How will I know? #
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
You know, I...I often have a conversation with my daughter...
..one that I cherish so much, so I'm going to share it with you.
Just so that I know that she knows the real deal...
..I ask her...
.."Who put the sun in the sky?"
She says... # God did. #
# If tomorrow is just we two
# And I'm standing on the front line... #
You look so pretty.
# And the Lord asks me what I did with my life
# I will say, "I spent it with you..." #
Go ahead, I'm here.
# My name is Bobby Kris And I just wanna say
# Clap your hands Clap your hands... #
Say it again.
# My name is Bobbi Kris And I just wanna say
# Clap your hands Clap your hands
# Clap your hands... #
Go reggae, go.
# Clap your hands
Come on, Kris! Come on.
# Jump, jump, jump, jump, jump, jump
# Jump, jump, jump, jump, jump
# Clap your hands Clap your hands... #
I said the record is not over yet!
You know, these days you have to stay up with your children,
you have to be as hip as they are,
and Bobbi Kris and I have a great relationship.
We really do, and I'm very, very proud of that. I cherish it.
And I am really, really dying to get home to see her little face,
and she's dying for me to come home.
You know? So that's a good feeling, you know,
when she talks about me to her friends, "My mom's away."
"My mom's coming back." "Look what my mom bought me. She sent me..."
I send her dollies every now and then, you know,
because she loves dolls. She loves to play with them.
I try to talk to her at least three times a week,
although it's very hard to talk.
It's worse to talk sometimes than not to,
because you feel that longing, you feel that passion,
that love between a child and a mother, and it's very deep.
It's very strong. Very strong.
Um, when she had to leave... I had her out here the first half,
before she went to school.
That day that she had to leave, I thought that we would be strong,
I thought I would be strong and I wouldn't cry,
but I couldn't help it, and I just really broke down, and she did, too.
And it made me feel really good -
and I felt really bad because I knew I had to let her go -
but it made me feel really good to know that she would miss me
and love me as much as I missed and loved her.
Sweet girl, she really was. She'd run up and down the corridor,
in and out of everybody's rooms and that sort of thing. Yeah.
I didn't think, "The writing's on the wall for this kid,"
no, I did not,
because you always think that with new life comes new hope
and something would have twigged or clicked
and it would have made it better for her.
But as time went on, no.
No. No chance for Bobbi Kristina.
She came into the environment just when it started to get worse.
And I'm convinced now...
..that, had anyone read...
..listened to and acted upon my reports...
..she would now be alive...
..as would her daughter.
I submitted my report to the family members who
were in charge of the business of Whitney Houston
after a disastrous tour to Singapore.
It's part of my duty not only to protect a principal
from the outside elements, it's to protect them from themselves.
She had nodules on her throat.
It was being destroyed, presumably with the chemicals.
Whitney overdosed while she was making the film Waiting To Exhale.
That's when you've got a problem.
Everybody was on drugs.
It's a case of degrees, to what degree the individuals
concerned were on drugs, that's all.
I put it down on paper, and I got the telephone call and the meeting.
"Thank you very much.
"Miss Houston has decided she doesn't need anyone of your calibre
"and experience again,
"because she's not touring internationally in the future.
"Should we need someone of your skills, we will call upon you."
And that was the answer to the "do something to help her" report.
PHOTOGRAPHERS SHOUT OUT
We're five now!
There was that level of inevitability about the end of this
shortly after 1992. Bobby Brown came on the scene.
Lots of drinking, lots of partying.
Though by herself she would have done anything to remain
nondescript, when in his presence it became a competition.
-So, put that motherfucking camera on me.
-Here you go.
-I'm the man.
-Let me get that mic.
-There you go.
-Let us do this ourselves. Check it out, y'all. Yo, yo.
-You just talk.
Man, just talk.
Can you tell me what tonight's all about and why everyone's here?
"Why everyone's here"? Isn't it obvious? It's my birthday, dawg.
-Check it out. It's my birthday. My wife gave me a party, right?
And we just chilling, right? Yo, MTV. This is my birthday, dawg!
It's my birthday, dawg! Boom!
Whitney was getting high before Bobby ever came in the picture.
I think they had a co-dependent relationship.
Bobby didn't do drugs when he met Whitney,
Whitney didn't really drink when she met Bobby.
But they both had their thing - she had her drugs, he had his liquor -
and when they came together they both started doing both,
which was terrible.
Bobby was notorious for sleeping with the girls on the tour.
He was not really ready to take on the role of a husband.
Remember, he was much younger than her.
When Whitney got married, Whitney got married forever.
That was her biggest downfall.
The longer she stayed in it, the harder it was to get out.
She didn't want to go against God and get a divorce, and then,
once she had Bobbi Kristina, she wanted her to have her father,
and even though he was not treating her right, I think
she stayed for Bobbi Kristina.
Bobby brought her down because he wanted to be up,
and she brought herself down trying to be on his level.
So it was this emotional sort of blackmail of, you know,
"You're no better than me. You're not that big of a star.
"You don't deserve all this. You're just lucky."
Just things like that played tricks with her mind,
because she had low self-esteem.
She was so worried about her hair. She wore wigs and weaves,
and her hair wouldn't grow and her nails wouldn't grow.
This is this big superstar,
and she never had that security that she sort of needed,
she never had that inner belief that she was this amazing person.
She was always sort of doubting herself.
And I think Bobby contributed to that tremendously.
Did Robyn try and keep Whitney off drugs?
She did. She did.
They had dozens of arguments...
..Whitney getting high.
And something that started as simple as Whitney smoking weed...
..turned into a monster...
turned into something that Whitney lost control of.
All of the people that had positions of power that could have
steered her the right way was either not seeing what was happening or...
..being a part of it.
On page 128, you write about the first time you hear
anything about Whitney using drugs.
You say, "One afternoon in the late 1980s, Robyn came to visit me.
"She told me that Nippy was using drugs, which was news to me."
-She was telling on Nippy, actually, you know?
-I guess I said... Well, I went to her.
-You went to Nippy?
-After the visit from Robyn.
-Mm-hm. I saw her one time really high.
-And I wanted to kill her.
-I really did.
But I held myself back and, I tell you, she said, "Mommy, Mommy..."
And she was so sad and pitiful.
One time, Whitney wasn't even talking to her mom.
Nobody wanted to blame Whitney.
But Cissy made it no secret. She wanted to beat Robyn onto something.
She wanted to kick Robyn's ass.
You know? Every opportunity she got, she wanted to do something to Robyn.
They needed to blame somebody. Before it was Bobby, it was Robyn.
We blamed Robyn because Whitney don't want to talk to us.
It's Robyn's fault. "No, it's YOUR fault."
Did she shut off from it? Did she try and shut off from it?
Did she refuse to answer phone calls from these people?
Hell, yes, she did.
For her own sanity, her own peace of mind.
Would that kind of pressure being brought on her by others have
driven her in a direction she otherwise may not have gone?
Hell, yes, it did! Yes, it did.
That's why there is not one person out there
not responsible for the demise of that beautiful woman.
MUSIC PLAYS, AUDIENCE CHEERS
There was nothing I could do.
And not being a family member or someone
high enough in the food chain, I had no say-so.
I could only talk to her in those moments when we were doing hair,
and I could just tell her, "Whitney, you're killing yourself.
"You're going to die. You have to stop."
I also spoke to other people in her camp.
"Maybe she needs to just stop for a while, she needs to go to rehab..."
But when you making money for people, you paying their rent,
they don't want you to stop.
Nippy, who made you cry out there? Who made you cry out there?
People forget that they're human beings, and she felt deeply.
That's how she could bring what she did to songs,
that's how she could make every song her own.
How many times did you change?
MUSIC PLAYS, AUDIENCE CLAP ALONG
She would have to pull and sing from every place in her, and
then to couple that with the emotion,
that takes all of your body.
Who does that at the level that Whitney Houston did it?
I haven't seen anybody do it. Not in my lifetime.
There will always only be one Whitney Houston,
and to watch the world...
..receive from her and appreciate her, there aren't words for that.
And all you can say is, "Drug addict"? Come on. Please!
# When the tears are clouding up your eyes
# Just remember it was you, you, you, you, you, you
# Who said goodbye
# Who said goodbye
# You said goodbye
# I learned from the best I learned from the best
# I learned from the best Oh! #
-All right, OK. You got it. You got it.
-No, we're not leaving! We're not leaving!
-Wait! We're not leaving.
-We're not leaving.
-We're not leaving.
That's right, we're not leaving.
Get the cars organised. We're not leaving, but get the cars.
-It was from one disaster to another disaster.
There was no order from chaos.
I can't remember there ever...
..being a good moment between Robyn and Bobby Brown.
In my opinion, there came a time
when even Whitney couldn't tolerate it any more, and Robyn finally left.
Robyn totally disappeared. I'm assuming they paid her off.
I don't know. But she just disappeared.
I never saw her again. And she was everywhere with her before.
I think they prevented it. I think it was sort of understood
that they could not connect again.
It had to be Bobby and Whitney in this family unit.
I will always say that was the downfall of Whitney.
Robyn was the person who was keeping her together.
And I think that's why the drugs became so important to her.
That was the crutch that she used to get through that.
The drugs sent her spiralling.
This is the 72nd annual Academy Awards!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
We did the rehearsal Friday night.
She sings the first 12 bars of, um...
..Somewhere Over The Rainbow...
..and she's singing her own notes, basically,
or changing the melody substantially.
Then a couple of other things just went wrong,
she came in on the wrong song, and so it just was like a train wreck.
It was kinda startling.
It was so dangerous. This is live television.
And there was no salvation on something like that.
If she sang the wrong song, nobody would know what to do -
even Ray Charles wouldn't know how to cover that -
and how we would jump around, and we'd be scrambling.
So, you know, the right decision was made.
Of course, that's a very difficult thing to do at that hour of
the night, at midnight on a Friday night and the show goes on Sunday,
to replace her.
# If you can't feed your baby... #
That Michael Jackson concert, when she was emaciated,
I remember walking in that day. They called me to do her hair.
And I could not believe what I was seeing.
And I could hear people saying, "You look fabulous."
And I'm saying, "No, she doesn't."
And I take Whitney in the bathroom...
..and I close the door and I pull her shirt up in the mirror,
and I say, "Look, you're dying." And she started crying.
She's like, "I know. I don't know what to do."
Is it alcohol? Is it marijuana?
Is it cocaine? Is it pills?
It has been, at times.
If you had to name the devil, for you,
the biggest devil among them...?
That would be me.
And then, last September, the biggest blow of all.
Houston's father, who managed his daughter's finances, joined
his business partner in a lawsuit against her, demanding 100 million.
I'm tired of being hurt.
I'm tired of being...
..in a neglected state.
You get your act together, honey...
..and you pay me the money that you owe me.
My father is...
..81, very sick.
His health is failing.
The bad part about it is that it's about money.
And that really sucks.
That hurts more than anything.
And when you think it's the dad who dressed you
and walked you down the aisle...
What are you thinking?
-Can we stop, please?
-Thanks. I'll be back.
I think the biggest change in her came when her dad disappointed her.
She was closer to her dad than her mother.
She was secure in the fact that, "Daddy got my back,
"Daddy's going to take care of me, he's going to protect me."
And when that trust was broken for her, I think
it broke something inside of her that she could never repair.
She disappeared for a while. I remember I went to ask people,
Particularly after the show, which was hard,
she got out of town for a while.
I heard that she'd moved to Atlanta, and that provided a whole
other area of, you know, sort of, I guess, a little bit more freedom.
It's a very fun place, and I think there's less spotlight on you there,
because she was away from her mother, as well.
I'm taking water.
She wanted to be normal.
Many nights, she'd lay in her bed and cry, cry, cry.
She missed her dad.
She loved Bobbi girl so much.
That was her life.
-We used to slide down that banister.
Me and Whitney used to slide down here!
That's probably why... Yeah.
Remember when I told you that Cissy came to the house for her rehab?
You see that balcony?
When I was backing up here with the girls in the car,
they was like, "No, wait, wait! Look!"
-She had one leg over.
-Over the balcony?
She said, "If you don't come back, I'm going to jump."
What could I do? I had to go back.
Then she jumped out the back window!
She was an addict.
It was an everyday thing.
I would do my work, but it was, like, after I did the work,
like, for a whole year or two, it was every day.
I was still reading my Bible, amazingly enough.
I would still read my Bible.
I still had it in me, I knew God was there
and I knew a light was there, and I was just trying to get back to it.
I was definitely not happy by that point in time. I was losing myself.
My mom came and got me twice.
When it gets to the point where you're sitting in your home
and you're just trying to cover what you don't want people to know,
And then you want more, just so that you don't
let anybody see you cry.
You don't want anybody to see that, you know, we're unhappy.
Whitney said to me her heart was broken.
She was broken-hearted, you know?
This was my friend, my sister. She was so loving and generous.
Why isn't anybody out there rallying for that with the same
fervour of attack and criticism against her?
Where is the great appreciation for her contribution to the world?
Whitney talked about how it was very, very painful for her.
She was bad at that time, but she wanted help. She wanted help.
But she didn't want to be in some rich,
extravagant treatment facility.
She wanted to be home, she wanted her daughter with her.
All she wanted to do was be married and raise Krissie and, you know,
be in love and be happy and give her daughter what she wanted.
And she wanted to be normal.
She really didn't care about the fancy clothes, the fancy cars
and stuff like that. She just wanted to be normal.
# It's time to make that change
# People of the world today are failing
# It's all about ups and downs
# You're gonna take a fire and you won't be around
# All we need is a little bit of love
# Sent by God from Heaven up above. #
She would say to me,
"I want to get out of drugs and I want to be a mother to my daughter.
"I want to take care of my daughter."
Ready to go work out? One, two, three, four, five, six, seven.
In the beginning, Bobby was very supportive with Whitney being clean.
But the third month that we were together, he had
said that, "This stuff that my wife is doing clean is disturbing to me."
She started saying no.
She started taking cars, she started taking houses.
Why are you looking at me like that?
THEY LAUGH Your father's a nut.
So I became the enemy, with Bobby...
Tell me why!
..because she said, "I always got to be the ballerina on the stage,
"singing, pulling in the money to take care of everybody else.
"And everybody else is working for me. So where do I find time for me?"
# Need you desperately
# Can you please tell me
-Where do broken hearts go?
# Can they find their way home
# Back to the open arms of a love that's waiting there, Lord?
-# If somebody loves you
-If they love you
# Won't they always love you?
-# I look in your eyes
-I look in your eyes... #
At the end, like any other man, you know,
I guess he started dating, messing around with somebody else,
which was painful for Whitney.
He was my drug. I didn't do anything without him.
I wasn't going out by myself. It was with him.
We were partners. And that's what my "I" was - him,
he and I being together. And whatever we did, we did together.
No matter what, we did it together.
# No matter how I try
# You're always... #
Bobby getting into another relationship was real
painful for her.
So I think that's why she reverted back to drugs...
..because when you're using, you don't care about nothing.
I have to say, for ten years or so
I started waiting for the phone call that we all finally got...
..that she had passed.
When I opened the door...
..it was dark.
..she wasn't in the bed.
-She wasn't in the bed.
..I walked into the bathroom.
My baby was in the tub.
-Go, go, go, go, go!
This is Camera 4 there tonight with Whitney Houston's family,
including her mother and daughter.
VOICE FADES OUT
How would I like to be remembered?
It probably doesn't even matter anyway, because they're
going to remember me how they want to remember me anyway!
They're going to write books, write this, write that,
and everybody's going to have their own idea.
I don't know, I just think I want people just to remember me
just being a real nice person!
You know? Somebody who cared, you know?
Somebody who tried to do, you know, everybody righteously, you know?
I don't want to go down for being a hag!
-I don't think you will.
-Don't worry about it.
-OK, so that's it for me.
Great. Nice talking to you.
# Whatever you want
# Whatever you need
# Oh, baby
# Anything you want done, baby
# I will do it naturally
-# Cos I'm every woman
# It's all in me
# It's all in me
# Oh!... #
Come on, come on, come on, come on, come on, come on, come on.
-# Anything you want
# Anything you want, anything
# Oh, yeah! #
From acclaimed director Nick Broomfield comes a film about one of the greatest singers of all time. Whitney Houston was the epitome of superstar, an 'American princess' and the most awarded female artist ever.
Even though Whitney had made millions of dollars, had more consecutive number ones than The Beatles and became recognised as having one of the greatest voices of all time, she still wasn't free to be herself and died at the age of 48.
Made with largely never-before-seen footage and exclusive live recordings, Whitney: Can I Be Me tells Whitney Houston's incredible and poignant life story with insights from those closest to her.