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Whitney Houston makes history with induction into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame… finally!

Emma Powys Maurice January 16, 2020
Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston performing at the 2004 World Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Kevin Winter/Getty)

At long last, gay icon Whitney Houston has been posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

More than 1,000 members of the music industry voted to include her in the prestigious class of 2020, alongside musical greats Nine Inch Nails, T-Rex, The Notorious B.I.G. and The Doobie Brothers.

Artists who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the industry are eligible for inclusion at least 25 years after their first recording is released. Houston has been eligible for ten years now as her debut album, Whitney Houston, was released in 1985.

Clive Davis, who signed Houston when she was 19 and guided her career thereafter, told Billboard: “I’m delighted with the news, ecstatic… [the] official recognition and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is unique, special and really cherished.”

He added: “It’s very important to Whitney’s legacy and fully deserved. She and Aretha Franklin have influenced more young artists than any other artists I know.”

Houston’s impact on the musical world is undeniable: 35 years after her first album she remains one of the best-selling music artists ever, with 200 million records sold worldwide. She has been cited by the Guinness World Records as the most awarded female artist of all time.

“She was more than an incredibly successful artist – she had a unique role in breaking down the barriers at MTV,” Davis noted. “She was really the first female black artist that MTV embraced and was consistent in the devotion they had to what she did.”

Whitney Houston performing on stage at the Wembley Arena in 1988 (David Corio/Redferns/Getty)

Sadly Houston isn’t here to enjoy the honour as she died in 2012, but Davis believes she would be humbled by it.

“She’d be touched, grateful. There’s no question. She never took anything for granted. I always asked her, ‘Are you pinching yourself?’ She truly would be touched by this unique and special recognition. It would be very important to her.”

Seven years after her death, Houston’s sexuality was called into question when her alleged girlfriend, Robyn Crawford, released a tell-all memoir about her experience.

The book promised to “set the record straight” on the their relationship, which started when they were teenagers and continued through Houston’s marriage to Bobby Brown until her death in 2012.

Bobby Brown confirmed that Houston was bisexual in 2016, telling US Weekly: “I really feel that if Robyn was accepted into Whitney’s life [by others], Whitney would still be alive today.”

More: Clive Davis, Nine Inch Nails, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, T-Rex, The Doobie Brothers, The Notorious B.I.G., whitney houston

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