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Monday, February 13, 2012

The Life Of Whitney Houston: From Model To R&B Megastar

Singer Whitney Houston, performing in London in 2010. (AP)

Around the world, fans are mourning the loss of Whitney Houston, who died on Saturday at the age of 48. Houston’s godmother Aretha Franklin posted a photo on Facebook of the two of them, saying, “It’s so stunning and unbelievable. I couldn’t believe what I was reading coming across the TV screen.”

And celebrities took to Twitter, like artist Pink, who said: “Whitney was the reason many of us do what we do.”

Oprah Tweeted: “To me Whitney was THE VOICE. We got to hear a part of God every time she sang.”

With hits like “I Will Always Love You”, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and “So Emotional,” she sold some 55 million records in the United States and the Recording Industry Association of America calls her the best selling R&B artist of the 20th Century.

Here & Now pop culture critic Renee Graham said that she was recently reminded of the power of Houston’s voice when she went back and watched Houston sing the National Anthem at the 1991 Super Bowl.

Renee said no one has ever sung it as well or ever will.

On Here & Now’s Facebook page, Amylisa Ceramicoli writes that her favorite Houston moment was when she sang “When You Believe” with Mariah Carey on the Prince of Egypt soundtrack, while David McKinnon enjoyed “seeing her performance on the Boston Common in 1987. She made the world a better place.”

Whitney Houston modeled with a friend in the November 1981 issue of Seventeen magazine. (Seventeen)

Growing Up In New Jersey With Gospel Roots

Houston was born in Newark and raised in East Orange, New Jersey.

The daughter of Grammy-award winning Gospel singer Cissy Houston, Whitney started singing Gospel at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark.

A Modeling Stint

Before she became a pop singer, Houston worked as a model and she was one of the first African-American women to appear on the cover of Seventeen magazine.

Whitney Houston is survived by her daughter, Bobbi Kristina.


  • Renee Graham, Here and Now pop culture critic

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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