‘If I talk too long, I’ll cry’: Whitney Houston’s mom gets emotional during Rock Hall induction 4/5 (1)

Written by on November 7, 2020

The most heartfelt tributes come from the families of two late inductees: Houston, who died in 2012 at age 48 from accidental drowning attributed to heart disease and cocaine use; and Christopher Wallace, aka Notorious B.I.G., who was shot and killed in 1997 at age 24. 

Houston’s induction, which closes out the special, is unsurprisingly moving, as Alicia Keys describes her “beautiful friendship” with the incomparable singer, calling her “the greatest voice of all time.” It’s impossible to not tear up watching clips of Houston performing and cradling her now-late daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, before her family gives a speech on her behalf. 

Cissy Houston, left, and daughter Whitney Houston in 2010.

“I’m so very, very proud that Whitney is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” mom Cissy Houston, 87, says. “She wanted to be something – not anything. She worked hard at it, too.” 

“This is something Whitney always wanted,” manager and sister-in-law Pat Houston says. “I remember in 2009, we were in London. Whitney looked at me and she said, ‘This is really special, but there’s only one thing missing: I’ve got to get the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.’ This moment right now proves it all: There’s only one matchless Whitney Houston, and tonight, she would be very proud and honored to receive this award.” 

“I’m proud of who she was,” Cissy Houston adds. “What can I say now? If I talk too long, I’ll cry. I don’t want to cry.” 

Notorious B.I.G. at the Billboard Music Awards in 1995.

Earlier in the special, Wallace’s two adult children – T’yanna, 27, and C.J., 24 – accept the award for their late dad, a Brooklyn rapper and hip-hop trailblazer best known for ’90s hits “Mo Money Mo Problems” and “Big Poppa.” 

“When my dad passed away, I was only 3 years old,” T’yanna says. “Even though I didn’t get to know him as well as I wanted, through his fans and our family, I was able to see with my own eyes that his music transcended the hip-hop industry. He was able to become not only the ‘King of New York,’ but the king of the culture.” 

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