‘Thanks for being her bodyguard, Clive’
Eleven years in the past, Whitney Houston died in a set on the Beverly Hilton Resort, the place downstairs, the annual pre-Grammy gaga hosted by her mentor, Clive Davis, was set to happen in just some hours. The gala that tragic night grew to become a wake of kinds, with Davis main a second of silence; the next evening, on the Grammy Awards, Jennifer Hudson memorably paid musical tribute to the late diva. This 12 months, as Davis’s gala returned to the Beverly Hilton on Feb. 4 after a three-year pandemic hiatus, Houston’s presence was intensely felt — not simply as Hudson delivered one other beautiful efficiency, however as Houston’s The Bodyguard co-star, Kevin Costner, delivered the night’s emotional opening remarks and seemingly tried to absolve Davis of the guilt nonetheless lingering all these years later.
Costner — who additionally co-produced The Bodyguard, Houston’s appearing debut, 30 years ago — started by joking about not feeling certified to introduce Davis, earlier than reflecting on the unlikely, enduring friendship they shaped whereas engaged on the movie. “How do any three folks discover one another on this world? I do not know. On this enterprise, the reality is it actually would not matter who we’re or the place we start; it is solely concerning the intersection, how we come collectively, and what we make of that fateful union,” Costner mused.
“Whitney had turn into essentially the most celebrated singer of her era, however she was additionally an untrained actress. And it was unclear if this was one thing she ought to aspire to, and even one thing that was good for her profession,” Costner recalled. “All three of us would take an enormous leap. And possibly the largest, possibly the toughest, was for Clive. I wanted to consider that I may make the film that I used to be imagining. Whitney noticed it as an opportunity to reinvent herself. However for Clive, it was a profession transfer that had a recipe for catastrophe written throughout it. I wanted Clive. I wanted his belief and his blessing, and I wanted the one factor that he wasn’t used to giving up: management. We had been set as much as be mortal enemies, if you concentrate on it. This might solely go a technique — and if it did not go proper, I do not assume I might’ve been invited tonight! However on this occasion, Clive was proper. If Whitney did not work, the film would not both. And that readability, that single-mindedness, is what I like about Clive.”
Costner went on to marvel concerning the “voice that got here out of that little physique that evening within the studio” when Houston recorded her signature tune from The Bodyguard, a canopy of Dolly Parton’s “I Will All the time Love You” — the biggest-selling single of all time by a feminine artist, and what Costner referred to as the “efficiency of a lifetime.” However then Costner grew to become noticeably choked up as he addressed his buddy Davis straight: “Now, I need to say one thing that I’ve by no means mentioned to you earlier than. Perhaps this is not the room for it, however I do not need to miss the second. And it is from the guts. Neither one in all us ultimately may shield your loved one Whitney. However your fingerprints on her life are clear, my buddy. You had been a miracle in her life. Thanks for being her bodyguard, Clive, and for each particular person on this room that you simply stood behind and stood for. Everybody on this enterprise has mother, however not everybody will get a Clive. So, you might want to come up right here. That is your stage.”
When Davis approached the rostrum, the often garrulous file government appeared surprised. “After listening to these phrases from Kevin, I’m totally overcome, actually,” he mentioned softly. “That was only a wow for me, Kevin. I thanks from the underside of my coronary heart for this introduction, and for the ever-deepening of our friendship.”
Saturday’s most beautiful second, nonetheless, was when Hudson appeared on Davis’s stage on the Beverly Hilton to belt one other one in all Houston’s well-known ballads, “The Biggest Love of All” — a virtually seven-minute tour de power that obtained a rapturous standing ovation from an A-list crowd that included Adrien Brody, Brandi Carlile, Probability the Rapper, Alice Cooper, Paris Hilton, Lil Nas X, Demi Lovato, Joni Mitchell, Nile Rodgers, Smokey Robinson, Olivia Rodrigo, Sharon Stone, Lars Ulrich, Diane Warren, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Cardi B and Offset, Machine Gun Kelly and Megan Fox, Nancy and Paul Pelosi, and Pat Houston (Whitney’s sister-in-law, the president of Whitney Houston Enterprises, co-executor of Whitney’s property, and co-producer of the biopic I Wanna Dance with Any individual).
“It was from the guts,” a humbled Hudson advised Yahoo Leisure after the epic efficiency.
Houston, who would have turned 60 this 12 months, was celebrated all through 2023’s Grammy week, with publishing firm Main Wave Music and the singer’s property launching the “Whitney Houston Resort.” The residency, held on the W in Hollywood, featured an immersive listening lounge, an exhibit of uncommon memorabilia, and two days of reside music by different Houston admirers like Future’s Little one star Michelle Williams and Glee actress Amber Riley, and a panel dialogue of Houston’s legacy.
Whereas onstage at Davis’s pre-Grammy gala Saturday, one of many occasion’s many different performers, Elvis Costello, recalled the surprising evening of Houston’s loss of life, when his spouse, jazz singer Diana Krall, carried out “If I Had You” in Houston’s honor on the 2012 gala. The temper was clearly significantly lighter this 12 months, as Costello jammed on “Pump It Up” with Latin famous person Juanes and performed his well-known model of his “hero” Nick Lowe’s “(What’s So Humorous ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding.” Different upbeat highlights of Saturday’s occasion included vivacious performances by Lil Child, Lil Wayne, Lizzo, and Latto; Italian Finest New Artist nominees Måneskin performing their rockin’ cowl of the Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons’ “Beggin’”; and, in an sudden cross-generational second, the precise Valli crooning “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.” Sheryl Crow additionally paid tribute to a different misplaced legend, the recently departed Christine McVie, by performing Fleetwood Mac’s “Songbird” and “Say You Love Me” solo on piano.
On the finish of the night, Atlantic Information executives Julie Greenwald and Craig Kallman obtained the 2023 Grammy Salute to Trade Icons honor, offered by Grammy-winning rapper Cardi B, who thanked the pair for supporting through the tough course of of making her debut album whereas she was pregnant and assuring her that she may “have all of it.”
The sixty fifth Annual Grammy Awards ceremony will happen at Los Angeles’s Crypto.com Area Sunday and can air on CBS and Paramount+ at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET.
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