Described by Guinness World Records as music’s “most awarded female artist of all time” with an amazing tally of over 400 awards, a tally that is certainly topped by her two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 16 Billboard Music Awards, 23 American Music Awards, MTV VMAs in the United States and Europe, NAACP Image Awards, BET Awards, Soul Train Music Awards and so on, Whitney Houston shot to fame in the 1980s when she became one of the first African-American female artists to receive regular rotation on MTV. A feat that successfully opened doors for other women to find success in music and movies. Best known for her work with Kevin Costner in “The Bodyguard”, Houston has led a life of service to others when not on screen or behind a microphone.
She first showed her socially-conscious side when still a model, before her fame rocketed her to stardom. Back then she refused to work for agencies that did business with South Africa, due to the country’s regime of apartheid. It was an issue that she later brought to the attention of the world when she performed at Nelson Mandela’s 70th Birthday Concert in London, an event that brought pressure on the Government to ease its restrictions and eventually release the future president of South Africa.
Following the concert, Houston formed the Whitney Houston Foundation for Children, an organisation that cared for the homeless and children with cancer and HIV/AIDS. It eventually brought the singer one of her many awards for her humanitarian work, as did her involvement with the United Negro College Fund.
Whitney Houston is also the only artist to turn a national anthem into a chart hit when her rendition of The Star Spangled Banner reached the Top 100 in 1991. She donated her royalties to the Red Cross.
True to her church upbringing, the Whitney Houston Foundation for Children Inc. was established in 1989 as a non-profit organisation that cares for such problems as homelessness, children with cancer and HIV/AIDS and other issues of self-empowerment.
In June 1995, the foundation was awarded a VH1 Honour for its charitable work. Funds have been raised for numerous causes involving children around the world, from South Africa to Newark, and generated more than $300,000 for the Children’s Defence Fund as a result of a 1997 HBO concert.
In 1997, the HBO Concert “Classic Whitney live from Washington DC” raised over $300000 for the Children’s Defence Fund.
Whitney’s tireless efforts have earned recognition from such organisations as St. Jude Children’s Hospital, the United Negro College Fund and the Children’s Diabetes Foundation, all of which have benefited from the heart and soul of a great artist and humanitarian. Singing to audiences on every continent, Whitney has won her worldwide following the old-fashioned way, digging deep down into her soul and finding common threads with her millions of fans.
Whitney Houston – 1963 – 2012