February 11, 2015

Kelly Price: A Letter To Her Friend Whitney Houston

Kelly Price & Whitney Houston 2

R&B star Kelly Price was the last person to perform with Whitney Houston before she died in 2012.  Houston attended Price’s “For The Love Of R&B” pre-Grammy party at Tru Hollywood nightclub in Los Angeles just 48 hours before she would be found dead in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.  The two performed the Gospel song, ‘Jesus Loves Me.’

Price and Houston were used to singing in harmony, as the two recorded the hit song ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ together along with Faith Evans.

Kelly Price embraces Whitney Houston at “For The Love of R&B” event

On the third anniversary of the ‘I’ll Always Love You’ singer’s death, Price penned a letter to her late friend that was exclusively written for AlwaysAList.com.

In her reflection below, the 41-year-old former “R&B Divas: Los Angeles” star shares memories from the ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ video shoot and how Houston believed in Price though her plus-sized stature didn’t fit the industry standards.

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.

Kelly Price, Whitney Houston & Faith Evans on the set of the ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ music video

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.

Kelly Price, Whitney Houston & Faith Evans

The tabloid reported that you “stormed off the set” because they didn’t have the comfortable chair you asked for in the trailer. That was true, but they left out the part that the comfortable chairs were for our trailers. That you in fact had what you needed but you were upset at the treatment of your sisters and how we were being overlooked. You didn’t leave. WE left. You left and you took us with you and told everyone that we were your guests; we are artists just like you and that we were to be respected by everyone just like you. You grabbed us by the hands and said “come on” then you told everyone we’re weren’t coming back until they had things right for all of us.

You were concerned about us. If I had to sum you up in one sentence that would be it. You were concerned about others. You loved to a fault,
gave til it hurt and you didn’t see it as too much. It was just who you were. So today when so many will mark the anniversary of your flight to heaven as a time to recall your struggles and your challenges I will speak well of you. I will talk about your heart.

I will tell the whole truth that you fell but you got back up, and you fell but you got back up. And every time you fell you kept getting back up. And when you couldn’t get back up, God carried you and took you home.

Your voice was great and unmatched and one of kind but it wasn’t the best thing about you. It was a reflection of the heart and soul that filled it with emotions that made the world take notice of the girl from New Jersey.

I am grateful that out of all the people in the world I was one of the ones who knew you, the woman behind the voice.

I truly will always love you. My sister. My friend.


To memory of Houston, Price held her “For The Love of R&B” event in Los Angeles during Grammy Awards week.  The musical salute to the most celebrated female artist of all time featured performances by Evans, Sevyn Streeter, Goapele, Antonique Smith, Melanie Amaro, B. Slade, Y’Anna Crawley, Angie Fischer and others.

Price’s latest album “Sing Pray Love, Vol. 1: Sing” is in stores now. The CD features the chart-topping single ‘It’s My Time,’ which is currently featured in the Hyundai Smarter campaign commercials.  The disc also includes a remake of Chaka Khan’s ‘Through The Fire,’ and collaborations with Ruben Studdard (‘Back 2 Love’) and Algebra Blessett (‘Conversations with HER’)

Kelly Price looks on as Whitney Houston sang ‘Jesus Loves Me’ at the “For The Love of R&B” event in 2012

VIDEO: Watch the ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ music video below with Whitney Houston, Kelly Price and Faith Evans.


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