What should have started out as a good time didn’t. Media outlets were buzzing and wondering if the show would go on. Would Clive Davis cancel or continue the evening with his celebrated Pre-Grammy bash after the shocking death of Whitney Houston, the woman he first introduced to the world at one of his parties more than two decades ago?
When Davis arrived, the room was somber. He began with these words:
“By now you have all learned of the unspeakably tragic news of our beloved Whitney’s passing. I don’t have to mask my emotion in front of a room full of so many dear friends. 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 even though she wasn’t scheduled to perform. She loved music and she loved this night that celebrates music.
My heart goes out to her daughter Bobbi Christina, to her mother Cissy, to all of her relatives and to so many of you here tonight, her extended family who loved and cherished her and her spirit.
Whitney was a beautiful person and a talent beyond compare. She graced this stage with her regal presence and gave so many memorable performances here over the years. Simply put, Whitney would have wanted the music to go on and her family asked that we carry on.
I ask that you join me in a moment of silence as we dedicate this evening to Whitney.”
After the collective mourning, in Houston’s honor, the party went on and celebrate everyone finally did. In usual fashion, the glitterati was out in full force. Among the notables enjoying the evening were Berry Gordy, Gladys Knight, Brandy, Monica, Whiz Khalifa and Amber Rose, Serena Williams, India Arie, Quincy Jones. Sly Stone, Miguel, Sanaa Lathan, Gabrielle Union, Garcelle Beauvais, Mary J. Blige, Herbie Hancock, Jamie Foxx, Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys.
“Ain’t no party like a Clive Davis party!” said Diddy, who laughed and said that Davis is the only person who gives better parties than himself.
Davis said, “Whitney loved rap music.” When Dr. Dre was introduced just for being in the audience, everyone gave him a standing ovation. Pitbull and Ne-Yo got the party really jumping.
Diana Ross was honored. A highlight of the evening was when Jamie Foxx did the speaking parts on her classic Ain’t No Mountain High Enough. Ross was so excited that she stood on a chair to join Foxx. She then hopped off the stage.
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Senior Editor, EBONY Magazine