Whitney Houston was raised by devout Baptists in Newark, New Jersey. She was related to such musical legends as Aretha Franklin and Dionne Warwick.
Houston, by all accounts, doesn’t seem to be a devout Christian. Her long history of drug abuse, even to the point of giving televised interviews on crack and showing up at airports with marijuana, but she has always spoken of closeness with God.
Houston gives credit for her powerful voice to God, saying:
God gave me a voice to sing with, and when you have that, what other gimmick is there?
In fact, God came up in nearly every interview Houston gave. Only days before her death, she was reported as saying:
I’m gonna go see Jesus. I want to see Jesus…. You know, he’s so cool. I really want to see that Jesus.
Houston had very little to say about political issues, even though her father was very active in black political organizations. He helped campaign for New Jersey’s first black mayor, Kenneth Jackson.
Although, a friend of Houston, Reverend DeForest B. Soaries Jr., indicated that she was quietly involved in New Jersey’s political establishment, saying:
She inherited from both of her parents a keen but little known interest in, and passion for, issues, projects and people that improved the plight of blacks and other disadvantaged populations. This is why she was so honored to meet and develop a relationship with South African leader Nelson Mandela… She supported many local groups financially– almost always anonymously. She also gave help to some local politicians.