It's hard to believe that it's been exactly five years since we lost Whitney Houston. The songstress died at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills on the eve of her longtime friend and mentor Clive Davis' annual pre-Grammys party, and on the anniversary of that dark day, we sat down with Davis to share memories of his dear friend.
One of the most painful ones, he recalls, is seeing her perform at the Michael Jackson anniversary concert in Madison Square Garden. "She looked like a skeleton," he tells us. "I gasped and feared for her life." The sight prompted Davis to write Whitney a letter pleading with her to seek help, and last year, Davis released that letter in its entirety to the Hollywood Reporter. "I wrote to her personally to get it to her immediately," he explains to BET.com, "[I wanted] to say, 'the time has come,' and it was a battle she could not win."
Davis, still clearly touched by the memory of his friend, explains, "she did make a valiant attempt and did go to rehab, but she lost that battle ultimately."
As Whitney herself would have said, the show must go on, and tonight the biggest stars in music will gather again for Davis' pre-Grammys bash. This year, the event will honor a very special guest: BET's own chairperson and CEO Ms. Debra Lee. At the 2017 Salute to Industry Icons, the Recording Academy will present Lee with the President's Merit Award in recognition of her significant contributions to the music industry.
The star-studded event is, naturally, invite only. So how does one get on the guest list? Davis told us: "You really have to be a part of the music," he reveals. "That's how you get in. Whether you had a career in music or a passion for music, it's very, very precious because so many people want to be there [tonight]."
Congrats to Ms. Lee for the well-deserved honor!
(Photo: Jason Merritt/FilmMagic)