This Day In History: August 9th
From Baby Boomers to Generation Z, people of all ages have heard and admired the powerful vocals of the late Whitney Elizabeth Houston. The iconic performer was born on August 9, 1963, in Newark, New Jersey.
Here are five things to know about the great Whitney Houston!
- A Performer From A Young Age. Whitney Houston’s talents as a performer were displayed from an early age. She began singing as a result of watching members of her family perform. Her mother, Cissy Houston, was a choir leader at New Hope Baptist Church and encouraged her to sing. By the age of 15, Houston was already performing and working on getting a record deal. Just four years later she was discovered by music mogul Clive Davis, which set her on her path to stardom.
- Chart-Topping Hits. In 1985, Houston introduced herself to a national audience with her self-titled debut album. The album featured hits such as “Saving All My Love for You” (which earned her a Grammy) and “How Will I Know.” Houston followed up the success of her first album by releasing her sophomore album Whitney. The album featured her upbeat single, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me),” which went platinum and also earned her a Grammy. However, in 1974 Houston elevated her success to a new level with the ballad “I Will Always Love You.” The hit song earned her three Grammys and spent 14 weeks at the top of the charts. Houston also released three more albums throughout her career which are: My Love Is Your Love (1998), Just Whitney (2002) and I Look to You (2009).
- Talents Beyond Music. Houston was a woman of many talents. Before her career took off as a singer, Houston found work as a model at the age of 16. She was initially discovered in New York and later signed with the Wilhelmina Models agency. Houston has graced the cover of magazines such as Seventeen, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Mademoiselle and Young Miss. In addition to working as a model, Houston also found success in acting. She has served as a leading lady in the films The Bodyguard (1992), Waiting to Exhale (1995), The Preacher’s Wife (1996) and Sparkle (2012).
- Using Her Platform To Help Others. Despite her superstar status, Houston remained charitable at heart. In 1989, Houston started The Whitney Houston Foundation for Children, which helped sick and homeless children, taught children how to read, built inner city parks and playgrounds, provided college scholarships and advocated against child abuse. Houston also helped her sister-in-law with the launch of her non-profit organization, Teen Summit. Teen Summit was formed to rebuild the lives of teens and young adults. In 2020, The Whitney E. Houston Legacy Foundation was formed as a way to carry out her legacy and continue inspiring youth.
- Awards And Lasting Legacy. Houston’s vocals and musical abilities brought her much acclaim and a wide variety of awards. Her award count was even recognized by the Guinness World Records, which named her the most-awarded female artist of all time. She has won more than 400 career awards, including Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, Emmy Awards, MTV music and video awards, People’s Choice Awards and Billboard Music Awards.
Whitney Houston died on February 11, 2012, in Los Angeles. With a career that spanned more than two decades and countless awards, Whitney Houston remains a celebrated talent.