1 Year Later: Industry, Fans Mourn Whitney Houston
By Breeanna Hare
(CNN) — On February 11, 2012, music lost one of its most iconic voices with the death of Whitney Houston.
Her unexpected passing at the Beverly Hilton, right ahead of the 54th Grammy Awards, sent shockwaves through the music community and created a tone of mourning on music’s biggest night.
On the one-year anniversary of her death, Houston’s contemporaries are still coming to terms with her death and her legacy. Here’s what some in the industry expressed to CNN at Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy bash on Saturday:
Recording Academy President Neil Portnow on moving forward after her death: “It was very difficult news to get, especially for those of us that knew Whitney personally. … Clive and I knew for certain that Whitney would be saying, ‘Guys, the show must go on. We’re here to celebrate music.’ We did that. We did it in a way that was respectful and that was honest and heartfelt.”
Brandy on still feeling Houston’s presence: “It’s definitely tough. It was a tough day for me last year and it’s tough now. … Whitney was everything to me, she always will be, and I’m so glad I had a chance to speak to her and all of that before she passed. And tell her how I feel about her. She is here in spirit. She lives in me; she lives in all of us.”
Gladys Knight on making Houston proud: “I think, and I think a lot of people may think like this, I’m happy that she’s at peace … The other thing is Whitney loved what she did. She loved to sing, she loved the entertainment business. And the fact that we’re still here doing it, I think [she would be] really happy about it.”
L.A. Reid on honoring her memory: “It was a very sad evening when we lost the sweet Whitney Houston. We managed to muster up a celebration even though we lost Whitney. And today we just remember her and we honor her. She left us her great music, she left us her great voice, and what more can we ask?”
Ciara on her legacy: “I still feel like to this day, it doesn’t feel real. It doesn’t feel like that really happened. Unfortunately, time has to move on. I feel like us as the young generation are going to try our best to make sure we keep her legacy alive and continue to tell our peers and people about Whitney and how much she meant to music. There’s no one that can do what she has done.”
CNN’s Topher Gauk-Roger contributed to this report.
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