“I Thought It Was Some Kind Of Sick Joke”: Tyler Perry Pens Open Letter For Whitney Houston On Anniversary Of Her Death

February 11, 2013  |  

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?

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  • bullheadedtaurus

    I was at home watching a college basketball game and it came across the screen. I quickly turned to CNN and it was breaking news. I grew up with her music. It was literally a soundtrack in my life so it kinda hurt. She seemed so down-to-earth in the interviews I had seen (prior to CRACK IS WACK) and that voice was angelic.

  • Nikki

    I know everyone’s going to get on me for this, but the Whitney Houston was bound to die young. When you spend years being a drug addict, (no matter how much money you have) you ALMOST ALWAYS die before you really should.

  • Dichu eba realy lub mehSteebie

    I was sitting in a McDonalds with a fellow singer friend and it flashed across the TV screen. I nearly choked in my fries. I haven’t been filled with so much sadness, I haven’t been that heart broken since I lost my aunt. I guess in a way it did feel like I lost a loved one. I have always listened to her music even as a child DVD she was hut inspiration and role model. Regardless of her state when she was at her lowest, the woman always had class and sophistication and just her presence commanded respect when she walked in a room. There will never be another Whitney. Ever.

    P.S. I know Whitney, God, and the angels are grooving to I Wanna Dance With Somebody. 🙂

  • Guest360

    I was at home studying and saw “breaking news” on the tv. I will never forget the feeling of absolute sadness that my idol who was such a HUGE part of my childhood and began my affinity for music, was dead. And not just that, that there was a party going on right below her as if her dead body wasn’t still in the building. The whole thing was just surreal. What makes me especially sad is that she was trying her hardest to get her life back together and just didn’t have the time to do it. RIP Whitney. Gone but never forgotten.

  • Donna

    I was talking to my cousin via text about music. We talked about Whitney. I went out & when I got home she sent me another text that Whitney died. One moment of shock and then reality quickly set in. My heart goes out to her family. Especially to her mother. That is a loss Cissy is not going to get over. May she rest in peace.
    Tyler Perry is an extremely gracious man !

  • pickneychile

    I was at my mother in law’s house, and it was weird because I had seen a montage of music clips about an hour before she died, and there was a clip of her in it. It stood out for some reason. Then an hour later my friend texted me the news. It was so bizarre how I had just seen that clip of her looking so alive, and then to hear she had passed…Smh.

  • Reese

    I was at home chilling and my uncle called and told us. I wasn’t shocked but I was still saddened. She was such a talent whose star faded far too soon.

  • NeaJ

    I remember getting a text from someone telling me that she had died. I was in total shock along with everyone else. It’s amazing when a celebrity that you’ve grown up admiring passes away because you feel like you know them even though you’ve never met them. You feel as though you’ve lost someone close to you & you mourn just as if they were a family member. The fact that she was from my state of Jersey really hit home for me. She left us with great music that will last a lifetime. I’m praying for her daughter & hope that she takes her mother’s life as a lesson & doesn’t fall into the same trap. Ppl can speculate, criticize & judge all they want but Whitney was human. She had weaknesses like we all do but unfortunately hers were publicized. But she no longer has to endure that judgement. R.I.P Whitney

  • bluekissess

    Where was I? At a family members house getting tipsy. My brother texted me the news. I sobered up quick and got misty eyed. It was heavy on my heart. But, the media seen it as a money maker with the same news every 15 min.about her drug use. It was a little distasteful.