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Whitney Elizabeth Houston was born in Newark, New Jersey and she started singing when she was a child at the New Hope Baptist Church in in her hometown. Cissy Houston, a successful back-up singer, is her mother and was very involved in helping Whitney develop her singing voice. As a teenager she began singing in nightclubs with her mother and by 15 she sang back-up for Chaka Khan on the song “I’m Every Woman.” She became a model for magazines and had an appearance in a Canada Dry commercial. Her first recording was the ballad “Memories” on the Bill Laswell produced Material project. Clive Davis discovered her via Gary Griffith in a New York City nightclub and had her signed to Arista in 1983. The following year she recorded the duet “Hold Me” with Teddy Pendergrass. Whitney Houston, the album came out in 1985 and became a smash within a year of its release with help from the singles, “You Give Good Love,” “Saving All My Love For You,” “How Will I Know” and “The Greatest Love Of All.” The album started her award winnings and dominance in an industry that never had a Black female pop star on her level. Houston’s pop fortunes were criticized by some Black fans who saw her as an uber-talented sellout but her moves gave opportunities to other Black female performers like Janet Jackson, whose brother Jermaine had produced some of Houston’s first album, to excel in the industry. When she appeared at the Soul Train Awards in 1989 some members of the audience booed her for this reason. Critics label her third album I’m Your Baby Tonight as an attempt to appease the urban audience. “Queen Of The Nile” is from the hugely successful soundtrack to “The Bodyguard” which came out in 1992. Overall, Houston continued to have achievements in music and film with all of her recordings ultimately selling almost 200 million records in her entire career. When she appeared in “The Preacher’s Wife” in 1996 her 10 million dollar paycheck made her the highest earning Black actress in Hollywood at the time. At the time of her death she was planning a follow-up to 2009’s I Look To You. Whitney Houston is the first Black female pop icon to dominate the mainstream globally. Diana Ross is the only Black woman to come close to the level of recognition that Houston achieved. Houston’s legacy is not only one of tremendous commercial treasures but an artistic one that displayed a voice of elevated strength and versatility that few artists possess.