Whitney’s mentor Clive Davis gave a tear-filled speech about his protegee. Plus Diddy, Alicia Keys, Miranda Lambert, Tony Bennett and Jessie J’s emotion-packed speeches to the A-list crowd.
Music industry legend Clive Davis decided NOT to cancel his annual pre-Grammys bash at the Beverly Hilton Hotel after the shocking late afternoon death of Whitney Houston - the renowned singer that he discovered and had mentored throughout her career and troubled life. Instead, he decided to go on with the party because he said ” Whitney would have wanted the music to go on. And her family asked me to carry on.” He cried at the podium as he told a room packed with stars that ” I am personally devastated by the loss of someone who has meant so much to me for so many years.”
Houston was found in her bathroom at the Beverly Hilton Hotel – she had been planning to attend the Clive Davis party- and was pronounced dead at 3:55 pst, yesterday, Feb 11.
After asking for a moment of silence from the podium and dedicating the evening to Whitney, Davis invited several other stars to to the stage to speak and perform. The evening in fact was meant to honor another musical legend Diana Ross. Diddy called Whitney ” a gift from God” and said she had ” the greatest voice in the world.” Alicia Keys said Whitney was ” a sister to me” and asked everyone in the crowd to ” sing her into heaven” and Jessie J said that without Whitney ” I would not have started singing.”
Now here are several of these emotional speeches honoring Whitney, almost all in their entirety:
So. By now, sadly, you’ve all learned of the unspeakably tragic news of our beloved Whitney’s passing. I don’t have to mask my emotions. Not in front of this room, so full of so many dear friends. I do have a very heavy heart and I am personally devastated by the loss of someone who has meant so much to me for so many years. Whitney was so full of life. She was so looking forward to tonight. She was not at all scheduled to perform. She loved music and she loved this night that celebrates music. My heart goes out to her daughter Bobbi Krisitina, to her mother Cissy, to all of the relatives, to so many of you here tonight…her extended family who loved and cherished her and cherished her spirit. Whitney was a beautiful person and she had a talent beyond compare. She graced this stage with her regal presence so many times, giving so many performances here over the years. So simply put, Whitney would have wanted the music to go on. And her family asked me to carry on. I ask you now to join me in this moment of silence as we dedicate this evening to Whitney. Now ladies and gentlemen, let the music begin.
First it was Michael Jackson. Then it was Amy Winehouse. And now the magnificent Whitney Houston. I want every gentleman and lady in this room to lend themselves to get our government to legalize drugs so they have to get it through a doctor and not through some gangster who’s just selling it under the table. Let’s legalize drugs like they did in Amsterdam. And it’s a very sane city now. No one’s running around corners trying to sneak up to find something…They have to go to a doctor and get it. If the doctor doesn’t want to give it to them, they don’t get it. And it’s called sanity instead of insanity. This is a song that Frank Sinatra asked me to sing, and he said, he had no idea how much trouble he could get into…and I would like to dedicate it to Whitney. When I first heard her, I called Clive Davis and I said, you’ve finally got the greatest singer I’ve ever heard in my life.
God bless all of you guys tonight. You know, we see each other a lot but we don’t get a chance to really connect and tell each other how much we appreciate and how much we love and respect each other. And I just want to give out my love and my respect to all of my peers that are here with us tonight because tomorrow, as you can see, is not promised. Tonight, I was like you guys. I was like, ‘am I gonna go, am I not gonna go. Is it right? What should I do?’ I had called up Clive and I had spoke to Clive and I just wanted to make sure he was alright because he’s one of like the kindest, most beautiful people that I know.
And then I was thinking about this time that I got honored at the BET Awards and I sat next to Whitney Houston. And if you ever sat next to Whitney Houston anywhere, you already know that you was in for a good time. Whenever you saw Whitney, she always hit you with that beautiful smile. She always hit you with that incredible energy. She gave you that hug, you know that grandma hug that just shook your body…that real love. So that made me kinda get dressed as it hopefully made you guys get dressed from the memory of her…from her just natural positive spirit. I also called Clarence Savant who most of us call when we in trouble but I called him on this occasion because I know how wise he is. And he was like, a lot of us profess to believe in God. And if we truly believe in God, then we should celebrate the life of Whitney Houston tonight.
Whitney, simply put, had the greatest voice in the world. She was a gift from God. Hearing her sing was like listening to magic. If it wasn’t for Clive Davis, the world may not have known about this miracle voice…this miraculous voice. Whitney Houston sold over 170 million records worldwide with DVDs and CDs combined. Today we didn’t just lose one of our fellow artists, we truly lost an angel and any time we think of Whitney, we have to remember that positivity that she gave us. Whenever she performed she performed at 5,000 percent. She always gave love. She was not a hater, she was a congratulator all of the time.
And when I found out on the news today, I was literally in a state of shock. I immediately thought about her mother Cissy, her father, her daughter, her family, her friends and Clive Davis. It’s rare in this industry that you get somebody to really ride with you. Imagine going through some ups and downs like that, and having somebody stand by your side, when the whole world’s turning their back on you. Somebody that believes in you. Somebody that’s gonna be for you in your darkest hour. That’s the type of man Clive Davis is. And that’s why all of us are here tonight, and also, we’re all here in honor of Whitney Houston and Diana Ross so give them a round of applause please.
Ain’t no party like a Clive Davis party. There ain’t no party, like a Clive Davis party! There ain’t no party like a Clive Davis party! Put your hands together people! He’s probably one of the only people in the world that can throw a better party then me. He’s the only man in music that could bring us together for one night of respect, admiration and love for each other. He’s mastered the art of the Clive Davis party not being about him, but being about us, which shows his character, his respect and his love for the industry. This is the hottest ticket in town and you are sitting here listening to the sound of my voice right now. You are one of the many chosen few. And believe me, thousands were turned away, many have called but few were chosen. For real. For real though.
And tonight, even in the midst of our pain, it’s important that we have a good time. It’s important that we don’t feel funny about celebrating the life and the legend of Whitney Houston. We don’t feel funny about giving our sister Diana Ross the respect that she deserves. Because that’s the way, that’s truly the way that Whitney would have wanted it. We here to celebrate the excellence of us. So get your positive energy to an all-time high. Let’s put Whitney right there in that seat next to Swizz Beatz, and y’all know she’d be carrying on right now…she’d be throwin the towel at me, putting her hand in the air and saying ‘you right.’ She doesn’t want us to be somber.
I’m truly blessed to be here tonight. I’m here because of a lot of people but I’m here to speak about being here because of one person that believed in me. I had some rough times when I was feeling myself back in like 92. I had a couple of hits, I was walking around the office with no shirt on, I was like 17 making two million dollars…I was going crazy living in New York. I lost my mind. Andre Harrell fired me. That’s Andre Harrell there…he’s my best friend.
I was on the bridge I was about to jump and my cell phone rang and it was Clive Davis. He told me to come have a meeting with him at his office. Sat down, we didn’t talk about money, we just talked about music. He believed in me. He gave me a chance, he’s one of the main reasons why I’m here today. He’s affected my life and so many of the lives of so many in here in some way shape or form. And he came out earlier and he addressed us, like a man, like the leader that he is, like the person that he is.
Miranda Lambert, after she sang “The House That Built Me”:
I know that it’s been kind of weird tonight with everything. I’ve had a lot of loss in my life the last four weeks. Now I understand what it’s like to lose someone you are so close with….I also know that the celebration of music is important because that’s how we heal, through music. And I hope I can help you all heal with my tiny little part here at the Clive Davis party. I am a country girl at heart but I do have a little R&B and soul and me and a little bit of booty.
It’s a really special night. So many things, you know. So many things. You start and you kinda feel sad because that’s how it feels when you lose someone you love. But then you start to think back and think about just how much this person has touched your life. And it’s incredible. It’s incredible I mean from being a little girl, a little girl who was growing up watching this beautiful, incredible woman…who was a girl at the time too. And I’d be like “ohhh I wanna dance with somebody!” [she sings and then laughs] right in the mirror, you know you all did the mirror thing…And then you know, so you think about how much this person touched you…before you even know this person they touched you [inaudible] and your life and everything. Became your barometer for what you hoped for and wished for and dreamed about. It’s like amazing how much someone can touch you like that and you don’t even know them. And then..then you meet them and you form a friendship and a sisterhood and a bond and you realize just how incredible they really are. Far beyond any tv or an award show or anything. And that’s what she was. She was a sister to me. And we just had a kindred sisterhood. And it was so surprising. So unexpected. Because who would have thought, me from Harlem and Whitney Houston, like what??
And she came to visit me one time and I was in like…I don’t know where…like…the craziest city I’ve ever been in and I can’t even pronounce the name. You know, most people would come to Miami or Los Angeles or like London and she came to one of those crazy far away cities and she just hung out with me, you know? And she was like ‘You ain’t gonna tell me you pregnant cuz I know you pregnant…I see it, what you think I can’t see?’ I was like, yes? She was just awesome like that. We just like slept over like girls and hung out and talked and chilled…it was beautiful. And to think, here we are tonight…and the same man that helped her dreams come true helped my dreams come true yes, lots of love. It’s just incredible. Ten years ago I was here, I had my Cesare Paciotti sparkly sneakers and you couldn’t tell me nothing. I was like ‘woooow’ and I had the little tuxedo and you know I had the braids with the hat. And probably one too many other accessories I was wearing at the time. And it was just crazy. It was such an electric moment cuz I was like, this is my shot. This is my shot!
So it’s just a blessing. A beautiful beautiful blessing to be up here tonight. To feel all this love in this room. It’s the way it’s supposed to feel. It’s supposed to feel like this. And it’s hard because we get busy, we get fast, we think about tomorrow, we think about yesterday, we think about everything but sometimes we forget about this moment right here. So we’ve gotta remember to love each other. Because nothing else really matters. [applause from audience] So I wrote this little song, you know, and I just felt like it would be beautiful to sing for this, right now.
Right before singing “No One” she encouraged the audience to sing with her and said “let’s sing her into heaven” and had the audience since the “oh oh oh” parts.
Jessie J, before Singing “Who You Are”:
When I was 17 and got signed, I wrote a wish list. And one of those wishes was to sing live for Whitney Houston. And sadly, I thought I was going to be able to do that tonight….Without you Whitney, I would not be me I would not have started singing. I would not have believe I could carry on. I know that she’s watching me right now. And I want to say thank you to her, from the bottom of my heart, for allowing my dreams to come true. And tonight’s is definitely one of my dreams. And I want to sing this next song to her and please forgive me if my emotions take over.