Whitney Houston Gets Down & Dirty

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You must have been offered lots of movie roles. What made you decide to do 'The Bodyguard'?
[Long silence] Hmmmmm. I want to say something else about what we were just talking about. You know, Bobby . . . these people . . . I want to get something straight. I've heard a lot about my husband being this womanizer. You know: "He's a womanizer, he's got three illegitimate children, da-da-da-da-da-da" you know that whole thing? I just want people to understand something: My husband has never, never, disrespected any woman. Any woman that he's wanted has wanted him. And I want people to know that my husband's a good person. He's a respectable human being. He was raised with respect. And I just wish they would stop trying to make him out to be this man who just goes around and arbitrarily says, "I want her, and I'm gonna screw her."

He loves being married, and he's respectful to his marriage. He respects me, and I respect him. I'm tired of people talking about him like he's this bad guy and he has no respect for me or his marriage. That's bullshit. He does. And anybody who knows him knows that's true. Okay, now we can go on to The Bodyguard.

I got a call saying that there is a script that Kevin Costner has, called The Bodyguard, that he wanted me to do. He wanted me to costar with him. I went, "Yeah, sure." Then I called my agent, and she said, "Yeah, it's true." So I read the script. I liked the story, but in the beginning Rachel was very rough, very hard – a little bitch.

Were you concerned that because Rachel is a singer, people would confuse her with you?
You know what I was concerned about? That people would dog me before they gave me the opportunity to do the job. Making the transition from a singer to an actress made me apprehensive. Like "Can I really do this?"

Had you been pursuing roles?
I wanted to do some acting, but I mean, I never thought I'd be costarring with Kevin Costner! I thought, "I'll just get this little part somewhere, and I'll work my way up." And all of a sudden I get this script, and I said: "I don't know. This is kind of . . . big." So I was scared. It took me two years to decide to do it. I kind of waited too long for Kevin. I think it got on his nerves. He called one day and said, "Listen, are you going to do this movie with me or not?" I told him about my fears. I said: "I'm afraid. I don't want to go out there and fall." And he said: "I promise you I will not let you fall. I will help you." And he did.

Were you concerned about the interracial aspect of the film?
No. Nobody made an issue of that, not from when we started to the end. People loved this movie – the critics dogged it, but people loved it. They weren't looking at a black person and a white person, they were looking at two people having a relationship.

What about the rumors that you have your face averted in the ads for the film so as not to call attention to the fact that you're black and Kevin Costner is white?
That picture just signifies what we were saying about The Bodyguard. It wasn't anything like "Hide Whitney's face 'cause we don't want people to know that a white man is carrying a black woman." I mean, people know who Whitney Houston is – I'm black. You can't hide that fact.

There's a relatively sophisticated vocal tradition that you're part of. But almost simultaneously with the rise of your own career, much harder styles of black music have risen up. Obviously, Bobby's been part of that. Do you pay much attention to that type of music?
Absolutely. It's a form of expression, and you have to pay attention to it. Rap is very heavy, and people identify with it. There's some rap I like, some I don't. I think there are people who are really true to their art and really have something to say, and there are people who play off it because it's popular – and that's crap.

What about the portrayal of women in a lot of rap?
I think that sometimes it's a little overdone. Women sometimes are portrayed as . . . playthings. But then again, I think women play into it. You see a lot of videos that have women as bodies, with bathing suits on, just running around. I don't think women are made to do anything they don't want to do. Women have a clear choice. That's the way I was raised. My mother always said to me: "If you want to be respected, then act with respect. If you don't, then you'll be disrespected." If you walk around and flaunt your ass in front of guys' faces, then that's what they're gonna think you are. And don't be surprised if somebody says, "Hey, gimme some of that ass."

Did you pay much attention to the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings?
Yeah, I watched it very closely – black-on-black crime in the highest form. I mean, come on, do we really know who's telling the truth? No. We still don't know that. How many asses have been pinched before Clarence Thomas is what I want to know. It was such a big thing, Anita Hill. Clarence Thomas said some things to her that were out of turn. Men will do that. It's been done for a long time. All of a sudden, it's an issue because Anita Hill said, "Oh, he pinched my ass, and he talked dirty to me, and I'm really upset." It's over. He's still a Supreme Court judge. Is she any better?

Do you believe there was a special focus on Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas, as well as the Mike Tyson situation, because they centered on black people?
[Long pause] Let's put it this way. Was there ever an issue that you've seen in the last ten, twenty years that became such a public spectacle that involved white people to that degree? I mean, William Kennedy Smith–

Who walked.
Who walked, very nicely and very cleanly, I must say. Is his crime any different from Mike Tyson's? Who's to say it's true? I'm talking from both sides. Who's to say that William Kennedy Smith raped this girl? Who's to say that Mike Tyson raped this girl? Who's to say that these young ladies weren't being promiscuous? I know what I have seen. I have seen Mike, a very good friend of mine, go to jail behind something that I think has been done a lot.

Do I think it's because they're black people? Well, no. I think it's because they're famous black people. Black people who have money. I think that plays a real important part in the whole thing. Because if Mike Tyson was nobody, who would give a shit? If Clarence Thomas wasn't an educated black man who came up from nowhere, would we care?

How do you look on other women artists who might be considered your competition?
People who go out and buy me, buy me for me. Furthermore, I came out first anyways [laughs] – anybody that's gonna come has definitely got to come after. They don't say I sound like Mariah Carey, they say Mariah Carey sounds like me, you dig what I'm saying? So I don't feel like I'm in competition with these people. Madonna and I certainly aren't in competition. Mary J. Blige – it's her own thing. She is the queen of hip-hop. She's the first girl to come out that's real down, real cool, but can sing. So everybody tries to follow. But I've been out here since 1985, so whoever comes got to come after me.

You have another gigantic record right now. Do you feel much pressure to sustain that level?
You know what I feel? I feel old. For the most part, from the time I was eleven years old, I've been working. I did the nightclubs, I did the modeling, all that stuff. My husband and I were talking about it the other night. He's been in the business since he was about twelve – he's twenty-four now. I just don't want to get jaded. It's not as much fun as it used to be. When I first started, I was having a lot of fun. But it ain't fun no more. I enjoy what I do, and it gives me great joy to know other people enjoy what I do. But it's not fun. You know what's fun to me? Being with my husband. Being with my family, going out and laughing, having a good time. That's my fun. But the fun in the business, the excitement, like at the beginning? Gone.

Do you want to have more children?
Oh, yeah. Definitely. Having Bobbi Kristina . . . I could never do anything that could top that. There's been nothing more incredible in my life than having her. God knows, I have been in front of millions and millions of people, and that has been incredible, to feel that give-take thing. But, man, when I gave birth to her and when they put her in my arms, I thought: "This has got to be it. This is the ultimate." I haven't experienced anything greater.

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