Last weekend, the death of Whitney Houston shocked the world. Although the incomparable singer is another legend gone too soon, her memory will never be forgotten.
We had the chance to talk to Whitney Houston for her last interview with GlobalGrind.
Whitney was very upbeat and in high spirits. We would like to share with you our final interview with Whitney Houston before her untimely death. Rest in peace.
GlobalGrind: What made you want to bring this project to life again? What was it about Sparkle that excited you?
Whitney: As a young girl back in the '70s, it was the black exploitation kind of movie. This was a positive reinforcement for young African American women who are becoming young women, and ultimately into full-blown women.
Anybody who wanted to pursue their dream, their desire, their goals, present their gifts … it just appealed to me. I would go every Saturday for like four months straight and I’d watch the matinee to the evening show, I just never ever let go of it.
When it was 15 years later, 20 years later after that, Debra and I were talking and I was like, 'Did you ever look at Sparkle?' and she looked and she said, 'Wow, great project.'
Sony picked it up, they moved some folks out and moved some folks in and they said this is the project. It all fit in place when Jordin came in. The rest of the cast came and it worked out perfectly.
How does it feel to be back in front of the camera after so many years?
Now that I'm older and more seasoned in this particular form of entertainment, after my experiences in life you become more seasoned and more mature. You maturate in the time of life. It coincides with my life as a mother, I have three daughters, I have one daughter, but it adds up to three as far as I'm concerned. (Laughs)
I'm comfortable with it, because I am a hands-on mother and I'm a disciplinarian mother. I don't make idle threats. Basically, it’s a good position for me to be in because I feel very close to all three of them (her castmates) as my daughters. I’m very comfortable with it at this point.
In the original version, Effie didn’t really have a major part. In the new version will you have more of a vocal presence and be singing more? Will you be contributing to the soundtrack?
I am contributing to the soundtrack. Robert Kelly is doing the soundtrack. Jordin has some great material on there. We are compiling the material as we speak.
I’m not Effie in this movie, not this version. I’m not going to tell you what it is. It’s not Effie, I didn’t want to be Effie; I wanted to be another name. So I chose my name and they accepted it.
What you will find in this version is that we have a foundation. We started a church, which was different from the original. We had no idea where the girls actually came from, where they got talent from or if their mother couldn’t sing. We twisted it a little bit so we know that the girls have a foundation and where they came from. And it starts off singing gospel.
Hollywood has seen a take on a lot of remakes over the last couple of years. This is the first remake of an African American type cast movie. Do you think this will open the doors for more remakes of our classic cinema that we had in the '60s and '70s? Do you see this project doing the same thing for this generation?
The grand part of this movie is that you will able to go with your children. It is a family movie. It’s inspiring, it’s encouraging. You will see the ups, the downs, the all-arounds, and we still come out all right.
We’re not trying to set presence for other black movies to be done. If so, then God bless it. However, we just want to make it available to families, mothers and daughters and fathers. My daughter goes to the movies and I’m like 'I’m not going to see that,' so that’s our goal … for families to go back to movies together.
You have mentioned this is a black movie, but you had fame and recognition on a much larger scale. Is there pressure to do well? What’s the pressure like to come back?
I don’t think of it as a comeback. I don't think of it as pressure. I think of it as a gift that God gave me to contribute to a cast of people who are working as hard, if not harder than I. I have three jobs: I'm an executive, I'm on the soundtrack and I'm an actress. I've done it before. In my life, it was not that I said, 'I want to be an entertainer,' it's in my family bloodline, I can't help it. It is something that God has said this is what you do. It's in me. So, to me, it's not like a comeback, it's innate - it's natural.
How are you balancing everything, being here in Detroit?
That’s a good question. I have priorities. Maintaining my daughter is my first. She also has it in her blood too. She's doing her acting classes and her vocal coaching.
I keep her busy with that and she's very happy with that. She's 18 now. She's going to be a young woman, going to be a woman, lord have mercy. But I also have my godson; he is going to be 22, a well-balanced young man.
Now I’m comfortable keeping my focus on what I have to do here. You do that like it's pre-production. It’s like prep work. You never know what happens in between, but you just be ready for whatever it brings and you try to balance it. You try to make the proper decision and be prayerful about it and make sure you confer with that inner spirit and do the best you can.