5 Historic Whitney Houston Firsts That Will Live On Forever
Though the amazing, award-winning singer Whitney Houston would have been 49 last Thursday, she had a lifetime of many amazing firsts that remain part of her legacy.
While we'll all get to enjoy her final film performance in Sparkle on August 17th, we thought it'd be great to celebrate five of her historic firsts and pay respect to all the good the great lady achieved.
1. FOREVER SEVENTEEN - In 1981—two years before she began recording for herself—Houston was one of the first ever black faces on the cover of Seventeen magazine. She later went on to do photo shoots with Cosmo, Glamour and Young Miss, proving that even in her younger days she gave great face.
2. MONEY MOMMA - Following the release of her second album Whitney (which had seven consecutive number one singles) and her 1987 Moment of Truth World Tour, Forbes magazine ranked Whitney as the highest earning African-American female entertainer of all time. She ranked just below Bill Cosby and Eddie Murphy, neither of which could carry a tune half as well as she.
3. STAR-SPANGLED GOLDEN GIRL - Houston's stellar performance of "The Star Spangled Banner" which kicked off 1991's Super Bowl XXV turned the national anthem into a national hit. Her single of the performance hit the Top 20—the first time Francis Scott Key's song ever did that in history.
Houston donated her share of the sales to the American Red Cross Gulf Crisis Fund and to this day, her performance remains the incredibly high bar against which all performances of "The Star Spangled Banner" are measured.
4. WHITNEY OUT DOLLIES DOLLY - Who can forget Whitney's stunning rendition of Dolly Parton's 1974 song "I Will Always Love You" in her film debut for The Boydguard? For five weeks the song scored number one on the Billboard Hot 100, the R&B chart and the Adult Contemporary chart, making it the first single to ever do so—wow!
5. SUPERSTAR IN SOUTH AFRICA - Houston was also the first major musician to perform in the newly unified, post-apartheid country of South Africa following the election of SA President Nelson Mandela in 1994.
The event, called "Whitney—The Concert for a New South Africa," hosted 70,000 concert-goers in Johannesburg's Ellis Park Stadium and was broadcast live via HBO making it South Africa's biggest media event since Nelson Mandela's inauguration.