What Mama didn’t know (and did know)

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    Without question, “Remembering Whitney” by Cissy Houston is one of the most captivating, incisive, honest and informative books ever written. In addition to learning so much about her superstar daughter Whitney, who was on her way to becoming an icon, the book provides plenty of information on Cissy Houston, a star in her own right, and provides an insider’s look at the music industry and show business in general.

    But, of course, it is the topic of Whitney Houston that is the main focus and the main attraction. Avoiding truth and mincing words is not Cissy Houston’s style. She writes, “Though her voice came through just fine in the studio, Nippy (Whitney) was having more trouble than ever with her throat in live performances, and again she had to cancel a few dates. People said all kinds of things when she canceled those shows. Everybody in the world thought they knew what was going on with her, even if no one really did.

    “But the truth was, the very real struggles she was having with her voice as she got older were made even worse by the partying she was doing, which, as I found out later, included smoking cigarettes and smoking other things.” Houston continued, “Nippy was better than anybody I know at keeping her stuff private — or at least keeping it private from me…Obviously, the people who worked closely with Nippy could see if she was having problems — with drugs or Bobby or anything else.

    “But Nippy was their boss, and if she didn’t want me to find something out, they were not going to tell me about it. They knew she would feel betrayed, and they didn’t want to lose their jobs. “I never read the tabloids. For years, avoiding those rags had kept me safe from a whole lot of baseless rumors and the nastiness of the gossip business.

    “But when Nippy actually started to have a problem with drugs, it also meant that I was sheltered from the speculation about how bad things really were.”

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