Book Review: The Whitney I Knew by BeBe Winans

by Osundara Mayuri

“In Whitney’s case, it was the gift of a voice and the infusion of a soul that loved deeply all the time…There was no gimmick to her…but with that giftedness came great promise and great responsibility, the weight of which can be too much for even the most pure of heart.”  Inspirational singer, BeBe Winans writes a sensitive and revealing book about his 28 years of personal and professional relationship with Whitney Houston, who called him brother and leaned on him through both good and trying times. Winans tells the untold story and shares positive truths that overshadow what has been written about Whitney by the people who did not know her or those who just reflected on her missteps. He fills in the missing pieces to many things we have heard or read about Whitney and what she thought and felt.

Whitney grew up as a Christian, developing her gift singing praise and worship to God, never doubting that He is real and that He purposed her to sing. Throughout her career and travels she included songs about her love for the Lord.

“If Whitney was here now, I think she’d say that’s one of the reasons she sang: to bring hope to people.  Her voice could bring light to the darkest of days…Yet sometimes those who have the ability to bear the most light are the ones who fall into the deepest dark.  And who is there for them? Who picks them out of the pit?”

Her rise to fame at such a young age thrust her into a whirlwind that took years for her to make sense of and to know when to say no to the demands being made on her. She had to be concerned with pleasing others and popularity, living by expectations of the industry that only lead to hurt and emptiness, yet, “she yearned for normalcy…and (to) enjoy the everyday stuff of motherhood.”

The media never went away and “industry’s values don’t align with family values. The entertainment business is predicated on making money, creating buzz, and feeding the publicity machine. That kind of environment can chew up a person quickly and have disastrous effects on a family…At some point you cease to be a person. You represent dollar signs and your life seeps away” compounded with bondage to contractual obligations.

Like many Christians, Whitney grew up knowing Jesus was her Rock, her safe place, but “like most of us find little substitutes that provide us temporary relief when we feel like God isn’t answering our prayers quickly enough.  For some, it’s drugs or relationships. For others, it’s food or shopping.” It’s even harder when you have excessive money or lack the spiritual maturity to resist the temptations and to always walk in agreement with God.

BeBe concludes that “Whitney’s life serves to remind us what matters in life, “that we lived, we loved and that we followed God.” Part of loving is forgiving, when people don’t always make the best decisions or miss the mark. Loving is to help people restore and get back up when they have fallen or lacked discernment. The God that Whitney knew loves us like that, knowing that of ourselves we are imperfect beings.

Whitney’s voice will remain strong in our ears and hearts when we listen to her sing   favorite recordings like, I Love The Lord  and also the song In Return which is included in the links to never-before-seen private videos of Whitney. Photos from BeBe’s personal collection are in a section of the book. BeBe Winans want’s us to remember that Whitney knew that her gift was for the glory of God.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights” James 1:17

The Whitney I Knew by BeBe Winans with Timothy Willard

Worthy Publishing (, July 31, 2012

ISBN 9781617950841. Hardcover. $19.99

Copyright 2012 by Osundara Mayuri – Author, The Book Of Mayuri: Why We Can’t Have Peace and How We Can Have Peace -Westbow Press, 2010

All rights reserved. Unless otherwise indicated. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.  All rights reserved.        aka Verano LaRue  Contact:


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