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*Whitney Houston was born on this date in 1963. She was a Black singer, model, and entertainer.
From Newark, New Jersey, Whitney Elizabeth Houston grew up in a musical family. Her mother was Grammy award-winning gospel R&B singer Cissy Houston, and her cousin is Grammy Award-winning pop singer Dionne Warwick. By age 11, Houston was performing as a soloist in the junior gospel choir at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark. As a teenager, she began accompanying her mother in concert and on her 1978 album Think It Over. She was a backup singer with Chaka Khan and Lou Rawls and the lead vocalist on the Michael Zager Band's single "Life's A Party."
Houston's first recording as a featured vocalist was with the experimental jazz-funk ensemble Material; their 1982 album One Down placed Houston alongside such Avant-Gardes as Archie Shepp and Fred Frith. She also appeared as a model in Seventeen magazine and others. By 1983, Houston had entered a worldwide contract with Arista Records. The following year came her first commercial success, "Hold Me," a duet with Teddy Pendergrass. However, the rest of that year was taken up with the recording of a debut album. Her self-titled debut was released in March of 1985, with a steady climb by the success of the singles "You Give Good Love" and "Saving All My Love For You," which hit numbers 3 and 1, respectively. "How Will I Know" and "Greatest Love Of All" topped the US charts.
Her success was acknowledged by a series of prestigious awards, notably a Best Pop Vocal Performance-Female Grammy for "Saving All My Love For You" and an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Performance In A Variety Program On TV. Her popularity was growing fast. She landed an advertising deal with Coca-Cola, guest-starred on TV’s Gimme a Break and Silver Spoons, and even auditioned for the part of Sondra Huxtable on The Cosby Show (she lost the part to Sabrina Le Beauf).
In 2000 Houston's public image became tarnished when it was revealed that she had been battling spousal abuse with her husband, Bobby Brown. Additionally, she had lost a great deal of weight, and this, coupled with shaky (if not canceled) public performances, gave way to rumors of cocaine addiction. In 2002, Houston admitted in a television interview to abusing cocaine, marijuana, and other drugs.
During said interview, Houston's comment about having never used crack cocaine because it was "for poor people" caused a new uproar. In March of 2004, Houston entered a drug rehab program in California. Over the spring and summer of that year, Houston performed at a few concerts in Europe (Soul Divas Tour with Natalie Cole) and her concert tour in Asia.
In March 2005, Houston re-entered drug rehabilitation. She was back in rehab in 2009 due to a relapse, but that same year Houston released I Look to You, her first studio album in seven years and first since going through rehab and divorcing her husband of 14 years in 2006. While the album debuted at No. 1 and sold over 1 million copies, it failed to produce any massive hit singles or receive Grammy Awards nominations. Her subsequent overseas tour met with mixed reviews, with disappointed fans demanding refunds.
She acted belligerent in front of a Hollywood nightclub in February 2012. While staying at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Whitney Houston died on February 11, 2012. She was 48 years old.