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My Ideal Whitney Houston Tribute Show

Whitney Houston

Last night, the Grammy Awards basically dedicated the show to Whitney Houston by making sure her name was never far from the mouths of presenters. Beginning with an opening prayer from host, LL Cool J, and with random mentions throughout the night. I loved the thoughtfulness they showed, especially with so little time. And the main tribute in the show came with did a tribute for Whitney Houston in the form of Jennifer Hudson singing a very understated but beautiful version of I Will Always Love You. J-Hud showed great restraint and sand Whitney’s signature song with such poise. My eyes sweated a little more than I wanted it to.

I might be in the minority in this but I thought it was a good enough tribute for Whitney for now. I didn’t want the Grammys to attempt an epic tribute in 24 hours and fail epically. The rush wouldn’t have pleased anyone, and most people who should perform in honor of our legend are probably not even ready for it.

Chaka Khan tweet

We understand, Chaka.

What I’d really like is for a real tribute to be done befitting of Whitney Houston’s legacy, in 2 weeks to a month. People will not be done grieving for her, but they’d have time to process it before being expected to get on a stage and perform. It needs to be nothing short of amazing, with some of the industry’s best vocalists paying homage by singing Whitney’s top songs. It would be awesome if Oprah directed it or played a major part. Clive Davis should produce it and pick the songs to be performed. Quincy Jones needs to make an appearance and direct a massive choir/orchestra.

And the most important piece of this tribute will be getting the right lineup of voices to bless us with Whitney songs throughout the 2 hours. My pick of vocalists is: Brandy, Yolanda Adams, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, Cece Winans, Mariah Carey, Gladys Knight, Adele, Celine Dion, Monica, Jennifer Hudson, and Kim Burrell. Christina Aguilera can be in the mix too, if told that she can’t do runs for 30 minutes straight. ALL of these voices paying tribute to Whitney’s memory would render even the strongest of thugs emotional. Suge Knight would be somewhere calling his mama and doing the ugly cry.

But that lineup is of legends and newbies alike, whose voices make us wanna kick down chairs and do holy ghost stomps. It’s only right that they give us the All Stars for the occasion. And Kim Burrell is a MUST! Not only because her voice makes me wanna run down a church pew with high knees, but because Whitney LOVED her. Kim did a tribute for Whitney at the 2012 BET Honors, and Nippy spent the whole time standing up and pacing because she was so touched! Yes, LAWD. Watch below and get everything you need.

Kim Burrell pays tribute to Whitney Houston from johnjohn on Vimeo.

Kim took Whitney to church in that auditorium. Come on and SANG for Jesus and the BET consumers, Kim!!

One thing I’d like to request is that BET not touch this tribute. They’d do something silly and I’ma have to write a sternly-worded letter to Debra Lee. And who wants that? Not nobody. Also, they better not even think about including Lady Gaga. I don’t even want her to introduce the performers. I’m not here for the gimmicks. I AM NOT HERE FOR THAT.

So yes. Universe, I need you to make this tribute happen. Team effort. Make it so epic that I DVR it and never delete. Make it so dope that I go buy the physical DVD so I can watch it over and over again. Please and thanks.

No other voice can touch Whitney’s but the celebration of her life can be amazing. Just get the right people. Who else should be in this tribute? Did I miss any important folks who should be sanging? Are my expectations too high? What say you?

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  1. Andrea
    February 13, 2012 at 8:32 am

    I like this line-up, may-be you can co-direct with Oprah. What about Destiny’s Child…not Beyonce but all the Children. They sing real pretty and loved them some Whitney. I think they could come up with sumthin good if Matthew makes them…just a thought.

  2. Tamara
    February 13, 2012 at 8:38 am

    LOVE this line up! I would also add Kelly Clarkson to round out this fine group 🙂

    • Stace
      February 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm

      YESSSS!!!! That girl can SANG!

  3. Melony Moore
    February 13, 2012 at 8:40 am

    I agree with tge Grammys not rushing for a tribute. That BET Michael Jackson this was three shades of a hot mess! Good on them!

    • me again
      February 13, 2012 at 8:44 am


  4. February 13, 2012 at 8:49 am

    I love this. I was initially disappointed in the Grammys last night. I haven’t watched that show in years because I really do NOT like it. After reading this, I can appreciate what I thought was a lack of love for Whitney.

    I love that lineup. I would also like to add Diana Ross to it.

  5. Erin
    February 13, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Love this lineup. I’d add a disclaimer, similar to the one you gave Christina, for Mariah because Mimi can get a lil extra too. I also think 1 or 2 men would be good, but I can’t think of any right now. Otherwise, I’m rollin with EVERYTHING you said. ESPECIALLY the Gaga and BET part (but we already know we won’t be so fortunate with the latter).

  6. MrsCamp
    February 13, 2012 at 9:26 am

    I watched the video of the Kim Burrell tribute. My thug has been rendered all over my desk! Anyway, I love the line-up, but I have one more to add. I need Tamia to be included in some way! Her voice has that purity that Whitney’s had. I miss that girl.

  7. Amanda
    February 13, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Where’s Jill Scott, Natasha Bedingfield and Ledisi?! ESPECIALLY Ledisi!! She’s matured SO much! Did you see her cover of Mary Wells “My Guy” and The Supreme’s “Stop! In The Name Of Love” on “Performances at the White House” last year?! AMAZING!! She could’ve blow Jordin Sparks and possibly Natasha Bedingfield off the stage but she respected the Motown classics and sang them the way Motown fans wanted them to be sung. I think she’d do the same for a Whitney track.

  8. MicNic
    February 13, 2012 at 10:03 am

    What about Boys II Men? I mean I know that’s taking it back, but not too much of a stretch. Also Aretha.

  9. Akua
    February 13, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I’m with Amanda. We need to add Jilly from Philly and Ledisi. I would also venture to say Dolly Parton. She has always said that she wrote the song, but Whitney made it famous.

  10. February 13, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Wait…no Fantasia!?


    • February 13, 2012 at 7:19 pm

      Girl we need people to keep their shoes on during the tribute.

      • TeeNikki
        February 17, 2012 at 10:33 pm

        We need Fantasia for the inevitable ugly cry. Cain’t NOBODY ugly cry like ‘Tasia!

  11. February 13, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Love this lineup. I’d add Ms. Diana Ross too. Who do we need to email to make this happen?

  12. Stace
    February 13, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Kelly Price, Mary J Blige, Faith Evans. Then the big aunties, Gladys, Dione, Chaka…My finger is hoovered over the DVR button in anticipation. Send Whitney on her ascent in STYLE!!!

    • February 13, 2012 at 3:37 pm

      Iunno bout Mary J. I need TRUE vocalists. No shade.

      • AH
        February 13, 2012 at 4:09 pm

        Imma need Ledisi, Chaka, Gladys, Jill Scott, Chico DeBarge, Tamia, oh yeah and Michelle Williams can sing she could be included and Deborah Cox (Whitney was her mentor) Who can we send this to? An email to Clive with a CC to Oprah. Or even post on Tyler Perry’s message board because he reads all of them. As a matter of fact the family is using his jet to fly the body back to ATL.

        • Yance
          February 14, 2012 at 8:27 am

          I’m sorry but I saw Michelle Williams in a play. NO NO NO FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS WHITNEY…NO!!! I have a new respect for Ms. Kelly though..she did an admirable job with Mimi’s song last night on the BET Honors.

  13. AH
    February 13, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    And right now Im a little salty with Celine Dion for her recent comment about Whitney so I wouldn’t want her to be included. Like Toni Braxton said Whitney paved the way for ALL of them as singers and Celine is not exempt. She did not make it on her own. Needless to say I ain’t feeling her right now.

  14. daphne
    February 13, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Your lineup is proper. Let’s definitely not forget Deborah Cox. The song “Same Script, Different Cast” was one of Whitney’s last great vocals. Deborah and Whitney were stellar together! Perhaps, Chante Moore, India.Arie, or Vivian Green, if we really want to bring it!

    • February 13, 2012 at 9:26 pm

      Girl NAWL to India Arie. She isn’t a vocal powerhouse.

      • Christine
        February 14, 2012 at 8:29 am

        Aww Luvvie…have you SEEN India live? That girl can SANG….but yes Jilly from Philly and Tamia (who always pops up in tributes because she’s a BEAST) should definitely be there.

  15. Joi Brown
    February 13, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    I usually am a lurker, but I’ma have to add Glee’s Amber Riley to the mix. She’s nothing short of awesome. In fact, she’s covering “I Will Always Love You” on Glee this Tuesday- check it out. Apparently it was filmed weeks ago.

    And, if we’re talking about purity of voices, I think Carrie Underwood would KILL one of her ballads, particular a gospel one. I heart Carrie!

    • February 13, 2012 at 9:26 pm

      I LOVE Amber Riley!

  16. Sonra
    February 13, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Aretha – Whitney’s biggest influence and you know it’s official when the Queen ding “Precious Lord”

    • February 13, 2012 at 9:26 pm

      Oh for sure, Aretha! How’d I leave her out?

  17. Mandi
    February 14, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I agree 100% about BET leaving their hands off of it those ppl have no tact what so ever…S.N Ms Leona Lewis can sing the shiz outta a Whitney tune…and Sasha Allen as well (check her out on youtube) u will not be disappointed.

  18. alik
    February 14, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    I LOVE your suggested list. I’d add or suggest hmm

    For Brandy and Monica , I’d love them to do “Count on Me”. I don’t know if hearing Cece Winans singing that song without Whitney would be comforting. Hearing them sing to each other “I can tell it’s hurting you, I can see your pain” would definitely relinquish lots of inner thug.

    Cece should still sing..something prayerful, mmhmm

    For male addition I’d add El Debarge. He was everywhere in 2010 before seeming to get a little of track again. If you saw that clip of Whitney and him seeing each other right before she passed you’d have to have been touched and understood. They were embracing each other like “we’re past the 80s, we’re still here ” 🙁 His emotion would be real and he still sings heavenly

    Jermaine Jackson : …we see his hair & forget he was a singer but he dueted with Whitney at least 3 times, including 2 on her first album which he also produced on. Even without the strongest voice, it’s important to have people who knew her… otherwise it’d be like you dying in high school and having classmates you never talked to speak on your behalf ,like “what…. Adele didn’t even pass the test back to me in class”

    Tamia: strong voice, she got a deal singing Whitney, ,,I feel like she could do a “You Give Good Love” or anything really, like someone said she has that clean, pure voice + she has range.

    Tiffany Evans: She killed Whitney’s “I have Nothing” two years ago http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEA7AuD9hVs
    Melanie Amarro talked about Whitney saying she’s passing the torch . So I think a young voice , is important. She’s not too well known but she met Whitney as she recounted on her blog : http://tiffanysheart.tumblr.com/post/17518246340
    I think it’s important to have a 90’s baby rep and bring her into the young kids world and she’s the best choice.

    Melanie is cool, but I don’t know if someone sooo fresh should rep Whitney. I would suggest Jordin Sparks too because of “Sparkle” and she can really sing, she just lacked depth. I know she is probably feeling one of her biggest upsets with Whitney’s death. She hasn’t even tweeted since before the death came out.

  19. TeeNikki
    February 17, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    I LOVE the Brandy/Monica Count on Me. Bamas would be slain.

    I think Tamia should do I Believe in You & Me. I can hear it clear as day. CeCe and Yolanda should tag team I Love the Lord, which would slay all thugs in every corner of the universe. A youngin should do Greatest Love of All. Probably Christina or Kelly Clarkson, shoot, even Beyonce singin to lil Blue Ivy. NO, Beyonce needs to do I Wanna Dance With Somebody with a bangin dance.It should end with an all star I’m Every Woman with an appropriate photo montage so bamas will be dancin, singin and ugly cryin as they stomp on all the final scraps of thugs that were lingering.

  20. May 2, 2012 at 12:19 am

    Chaka showed the utmost respect to Whitney. I still can’t believe that everyone else still attended the Awards and not to mention the pre-party knowing what had just happened earlier that day.

    Did you hear about this?


  21. CC
    June 8, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    What about Beyonce just as herself, You all have to admit without her booty shaking she still has a beautiful voice. I could see her singing “Dance with Somebody” or some of y’all might kill me for this one but i think she could pull of “I Have Nothing” ( Did you see her pull of that Halo tribute to MJ)Amazing!!!
    Also Please More Male Artist Like Stevie Wonder,

  22. June 25, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Help!!!! I sent tyler a personal letter an i sent it to the wrong box pleasw do not publish that one its under my email staffing2go@gmail

  23. April 22, 2013 at 6:32 am

    im a huge fan of whitney… but i must say im not at all impressed by this lineup..!!!

  24. May 12, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    Woah! That is great! I am really a great fan of Whitney.. Indeed she deserves such tribute, the Guinness world recorded female actress. Fingers Crossed!