Downstairs, as distraught luminaries such as Tony Bennett, Diana Ross, Britney Spears and Mary J. Blige arrived, the party commenced, the superstar’s loved ones insisting they celebrate. “Simply put, Whitney would have wanted the music to go on,” Davis told partygoers, ”and her family asked that we carry on.”
While Whitney has taken her final bow, her greatest legacy—that ability to entertain, that propensity to stun crowds, that voice—continues.
“I, like every singer, always wanted to be just like her,” Beyoncé said in a statement released after Houston died. “Her voice was perfect. Strong but soothing. Soulful and classic. Her vibrato, her cadence, her control. So many of my life’s memories are attached to a Whitney Houston song. She is our queen and she opened doors and provided a blueprint for all of us.”
And for all of her flaws there’s something innately endearing about the person Houston was—beyond the music. “She had a huge story,” sister-in-law Pat Houston told E! News, adding that the 2018 documentary is their way of putting the mistakes to rest so they can celebrate her life.
“Everybody loved her,” Cissy echoed in Whitney. “She was a little girl wishing upon a star, always trying to find her way back home.”
(This story was originally published on February 11, 2019 at 6 a.m. PT.)