*Kelly Price’s friendship with Whitney Houston was something the former “R&B Divas: Los Angeles” star holds in high regard. Not so much for Houston’s iconic status in music, but for her demeanor away from the spotlight.
In addition to collaborating with Houston and Faith Evans on Houston’s hit song “Hearbreak Hotel, Price was the last person to perform with the late vocalist before her death in 2012.
Two days before she would be found dead in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Houston attended Price’s “For The Love Of R&B” pre-Grammy party at Tru Hollywood nightclub in Los Angeles as well as performed the song, ‘Jesus Loves Me’ with Price.
In a letter written to Houston, Price reminisces over the experience she, Houston and Evans had filming the video for “Heartbreak Hotel” as well as Houston un-diva-like behavior. According to Price, Houston was one of her early supporters who believed in her, despite her plus-sized frame not conforming to music industry standards.
The following is part of Price’s letter to Houston, via AlwaysAList.com:
To My Beautiful Friend Whitney,
This time of year is really hard because it brings back a flood of emotions that I don’t want to feel. So many people saying so many things. So many who don’t even know you. Your departure was sudden and unexpected and it hurt to the core. But what hurt worse were the things said, the lies told and the total disregard for the woman, the mother, the daughter, the friend, the mentor, the philanthropist and the humanitarian you were.
When I think of the Whitney I know I don’t see a tabloid photo or the over the top, sensationalized descriptions of Diva Whitney as told by storytellers. I remember the icon Whitney Houston who reached out to me 17 years ago and said to the new girl in R&B “I have to sing with you.” That icon quickly became a friend and a mentor. You became one of my loudest cheerleaders often reminding me that God gave me my voice because he wanted it to be heard. You often reminded me to hold my head up and sing and never feel like I didn’t deserve to be on stage with a microphone because someone else was thinner, cuter or more “marketable.” I think of you and that’s what I remember and that’s what I will say.
I will tell them about being on the set of the ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ video with you and Faith in Miami outside in 38 degrees of cold after a freak ice storm hit and how concerned you were about us. I remember going home after the video shoot and days later seeing the tabloid headlines that said you lost your temper and stormed off the set of the video shoot over a chair and I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I couldn’t believe that someone called the tabloids and told that story. What they didn’t tell the tabloids was that due to the weather our outdoor location scenes had to be reconfigured and after multiple production related delays and all of us being on set dressed and ready to shoot for hours the request you’d made was for someone to make sure that Faith and I had heaters for our trailers and comfortable seating and gloves and hats and scarves. You wanted to make sure WE were okay. They forget to mention that part.
The “source close to Ms. Houston” on the set forgot to mention that the “tantrum” you threw was about us, not you. They forgot to tell the tabloids that someone brought you a blanket, a scarf, a hat, some gloves and some hot tea while we all stood together outside in between takes and didn’t think it was necessary to do the same for me and Faith. They didn’t tell the tabloids that you took your blanket and tried to wrap the 3 of us in it to keep warm. They didn’t mention that you took your scarf off and wrapped my throat so I wouldn’t get sick.
Price’s letter comes amid the third anniversary of Houston’s death. To read the rest of the letter, click here.