What were you doing on February 11, 2012, when you heard Whitney Houston had passed? I was personally out to dinner and had missed all the phone calls and texts trying to inform me of the terribly sad news. When I finally put two and two together on the taxi ride home, I was heartbroken–”Not Whitney, man…”
Well, as for Tyler Perry, he was trying to get mentally prepared for the birthday of his late mother, which is on February 12. He also received a bevvy of phone calls and texts, many that he initially ignored as he was trying to sleep, and when he finally picked up his phone, he got the bad news. Unlike all of us, Perry was asked by Pat Houston, Whitney’s sister-in-law and manager, to come to the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where her body still was, and what he saw was nothing short of a whirlwind mess and media circus. In trying to make it through the one-year anniversary of Houston’s death, Perry decided to take to his website and pen an open letter called “Whitney. Still Praying.” about that fateful night and the person he knew Whitney to be–a fighter. Some of the most interesting aspects of his letter include him recounting the scene at the Hilton when he pulled up to head to Whitney’s hotel room, the same hotel where Clive Davis and friends were having a ball a few floors below for his annual pre-Grammy party:
I went to the Beverly Hilton Hotel, got out of the car and I thought it was some kind of sick joke. There were hundreds of people standing around, laughing, drinking and screaming for autographs from celebrities as they arrived for a Grammy party. People were screaming my name and taking pictures as I pushed through the crowd. I went up to the floor and saw the police and coroners outside of the room. I went into the room and Whitney’s family was broken down, inconsolable. We must have been right above the party because there was a glass of water on the nightstand that was vibrating from the bass and the screams below. It was so surreal. Such a juxtaposed position to see this family breaking down and hear laughter and cheers from below us. It really made me think about her life. While her voice brought so much joy, there was so much sadness inside of her.
Perry also discussed the many things that can be done to honor the memory of Whitney and to help her family, and that includes praying for the Houstons and young entertainers put in a similar position as Houston was.
As I am seeing all these tributes to her on this one-year anniversary of her death, I want you to know something: Whitney was a fighter. She really tried to get herself together. She really tried to overcome. She really wanted to, and I also know that, like me, a lot of you were praying and rooting for her. So, for all of us that were praying for Whitney’s full recovery, for all of us who cared that she was on this planet, for all of us who loved her, I just want you to know that even though she is gone, there are still things that we can do for her. We can keep her daughter and her family lifted up in prayer. We can also pray for other people in this business, especially these young people who come in so bright eyed and eager, only to have it tear at their very souls.
Perry wrapped up his open letter by touching on the very hard battles people in Hollywood deal with, and how their spirits and who they are as a whole being can be broken down. Definitely a poignant message:
I thank God I didn’t become successful until I was older. The younger you are when you start in this business, the more at risk you are. Speaking of that, we can also pray for the children of these people. If you only knew what people in this business have to endure to sit in their seat. I’m not asking you to feel sorry for anyone. I’m simply asking you to pray for us all. God bless. Miss you Whitney.
If you want to check out Perry’s letter in full, you can click over to his website. What do you think about his open letter, and how are you honoring Whitney on the one-year anniversary of her passing?