President George W. Bush had a lot of screw-ups during his eight-year term, but he did do a couple things right. One of them was proclaiming June as Black Music Month on May 31, 2002. June is here,* and to celebrate Black Music Month, I'll be featuring one of my favorite artists each day, sharing my first or most personal memory of them, and explain what their accomplishments are and why I felt they should make the Black Music Month Top 30 list. There will be some oldies, some newbies and some artists you may not know of yet.
Black Music Month Heat Factor "Why's this artist hot?": Artists today get excited to sell a million records or even go gold. Whitney Houston has sold 170 million combined albums, singles and videos. She's a singer, a dancer, an actress ("Gimme a Break," "Silver Spoons" and "The Bodyguard") and the face behind the Whitney Houston Foundation For Children Inc., established in 1989. The foundation is a nonprofit organization that cares for the homeless, and children with cancer and AIDS. She's raised over $300,000 for the foundation, according to WhitneyHouston.com, due to a 1997 HBO Concert. Her 1985 album self-titled album sold 13 million copies and made her the best-selling female artist ever. Even through the issues with her ex-husband. Bobby Brown, she was still solid enough to be signed to Arista in 2009 for a six-year $100 million album deal.
First Memory, Most Personal Memory of the Artist: I had nightmares for weeks about the crazed fan in "Bodyguard" who kept saying "no" in the creepiest way I'd ever heard anyone speak. At 11 years old, I was terrified of that dude, and at 28, I still fast forward past his scene. But outside of that, I was fascinated by the film chemistry that Whitney Houston had with Kevin Costner, and that movie quickly became one of my favorites. Plus, the way she sang "I Will Always Love You" and "I Have Nothing" on the soundtrack was beautiful. I've always favored male singers like Marvin Gaye over female singers, and as sexist as that sounds, I like to hear about love and romance from men more than I do women. However, Whitney Houston's voice always took me to a warm place and changed my singer preference. Every time I hear her sing, my mood gets a little more mellow and I vibe out.
Plus she always had a hip-hop edge to her so I could connect even more to her sound. As much as I enjoyed her singing with Wyclef Jean on the 1998 hit "My Love Is Your Love" and being featured on his own album "The Ecleftic," my favorite jam of all time by her was "It's Not Right But It's Okay." I blasted that song through most of my high school graduating year when it was released in 1999. I literally partied like it was 1999 to that song. She put bounce, party, R&B and a touch of hip-hop all in one track, and she looked damn good doing it in the video, too. I think the table she was sitting at is the slickest table in the world and would love to have it in my home. But my favorite part of the video was the way she said, "I found your credit card receipt," letting women know you don't have to raise your voice to put a man in his place.
Accomplishments from the Artist: Whitney Houston had 30 songs on the Billboard charts. She was also the first artist to have seven singles peak at number one on the Billboard charts. Some of her Billboard chart toppers were "My Love Is Your Love" for 28 weeks, her version of "The Star Spangled Banner" for 27 weeks, "All the Man That I Need" and "How Will I Know" for 23 weeks, "Saving All My Love for You" for 22 weeks, "You Give Good Love" for 21 weeks and "It's Not Right But It's Okay" for 20 weeks. Her albums made the Billboard Top 200 in 1985-1988, 1991, 1993, 1999, 2000, 2003 and 2009. Whitney Houston also had hit songs on Billboard's Top 100 Songs in 1995-1988, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2000.
Whitney Houston has sold over 170 million combined album, singles and videos sold worldwide.
Whitney Houston signed a deal for six albums with Arista for $100 million.
Whitney Houston is the first artist to have seven consecutive #1 singles on the Billboard charts.
* This entry was originally published on Associated Content in June of 2010. It has been republished with permission from Shamontiel. To find out who the other 29 artists were who were selected in 2010, visit this Pinterest board.
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