Reflections: Mama said

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Although I have had it for months, I am just now reading Cissy Houston’s much-talked-about book, “Remembering Whitney” with its touching subtitle, “My Story of Love, Loss, and the Night the Music Stopped.”

Her story is fascinating and she made a point of being truthful about her own life and that of her beloved daughter, the late Whitney Houston (nicknamed “Nippy”). The integrity of the book was verified to me personally by a longtime friend of the Houstons.

I fail to see what Bobbi Kristina, Whitney and Bobby Brown’s daughter, is so upset about. And as for suggesting that she is going to “do something about it,” what could she possibly do? Better her grandmother tell the real story than someone else with bad intentions.

“Nippy became a superstar, and the pressures that brought eventually overwhelmed her,” writes Houston. “She endured so much and was criticized mercilessly by people who didn’t understand her, people who didn’t know who she was. She always used to say to me, ‘I just want to sing,’ yet that would never be enough.”

She continued, “A lot of wonderful people end up falling prey to the lure of drugs, and Nippy did too. I never thought she would and I never understood it, but who really knows why people do anything?”

And there is this haunting quote: “The day Nippy was born, as I was holding her in my arms in my hospital bed, something told me she wouldn’t be with me long.”

As a bonus, the book offers a huge amount of insight regarding the recording industry.

ONE OF the side benefits of the smash Broadway show “Motown: The Musical” is that it has helped further melt the ice between Diana Ross and Mary Wilson. They even posed for pictures together, and that hasn’t happened in decades!

Maybe they realize that at their age — and they both look fantastic — that it’s time to put aside their “issues” that date all the way back to the final days of Diana Ross & the Supremes. They had been best friends prior to that, plus they made history together as the most famous female vocal group of all time.

It would be great if Diana Ross did a concert and Mary Wilson was her opening act, and at the end they could have fun with some of the Supremes’ many hits.

KELLY ROWLAND, formerly of Destiny’s Child, got off a good one at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony on April 18 in Los Angeles. She had been selected to induct the late Donna Summer.

With regard to Summer’s first hit, the ultra sexy, downright orgasmic “Love to Love You Baby,” Rowland quipped, “I’m pretty sure me and a lot of people here were made to that record!”

Jennifer Hudson sang two of Summer’s other hits, “Last Dance” and “Bad Girls.”

But why did the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame not vote Donna Summer in when she was alive? My guess is that it was a subtle bias against disco.

Tracy Morgan, who first came to the general public’s attention on “Saturday Night Live” and more recently co-starred on “30 Rock,” will be hosting the Billboard Music Awards, to air on May 19. Good for him, but there is just something about Morgan that makes me uncomfortable. Often he comes across as kind of buffoonish.

AT THE TIME of this writing, Detroit’s own jazz and R&B songstress Kimmie Horne was winding up a concert tour of Japan. The people of Japan love Black music passionately and are very supportive of the artists. That’s the main reason Harvey Thompson, another jazz vocalist from Detroit, actually moved there.

I was watching the “Dancing With The Stars” episode that was built around the music of special guest Stevie Wonder. (I seldom miss the show anyway.) It dawned on me again how many classic hits he has had, so many that if he never made another record, that would be okay. (But, of course, he will…eventually.)

The hits are woven into the fabric of America (and most of the world), including “Signed Sealed Delivered I’m Yours,” “My Cherie Amour,” “I Just Called to Say I Love You,” “Sir Duke,” “Uptight (Everything’s Alright),” “Part-Time Lover,” “I Wish” and “Superstition.”

Tyler Perry’s movies are not everyone’s cup of tea, but he sure has no trouble getting major stars to appear in his blockbusters, among them Cicely Tyson, Angela Bassett, Blair Underwood, Janet Jackson, Rick Fox and Taraji P. Henson.

The latest to join this group is the legendary Diahann Carroll who will be featured in “Tyler Perry Presents Peeples.” Her last movie was “Eve’s Bayou” 1997.

BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW…that the Whispers made an appearance on “Soul Train” every season between 1971 and 1983.

MEMORIES: “Looking For A New Love” (Jody Watley), “Keep On Movin’” (Soul II Soul), “Fame” (David Bowie), “How Long? (Betcha Got a Chick on the Side)” (the Pointer Sisters), “Shining Star” (Earth, Wind & Fire), “Talk to Me, Talk to Me” (Little Willie John), “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” (Boyz II Men), “Found a Cure” (Ashford & Simpson), “Rhythm of the Night” (DeBarge).

BLESSINGS to Joe Billingslea, Keena Clinkscales, Sherrie L. Farrell, Eric Hunter, Galen T. Pauling, Daphne Andrews Williams, Fannie Tyler, Caroline Crawford and Hugh Burrell.

WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Stevie Wonder: “Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.”

Let the music play!

Steve Holsey can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and PO Box 02843, Detroit, MI 48202.

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