Gospel singer BeBe Winans has written a book about his late friend and singer Whitney Houston.
The Whitney I Knew will be released by Christian publishing house Worthy Publishing on July 31.
Houston was found dead in a Beverly Hills hotel room on February 11, the same weekend she was set to attend the 2012 Grammy Awards. Toxicology results revealed she had marijuana, Xanax, and Flexeril in her system at the time of her death. The Los Angeles County coroner ruled the cause of death an accidental drowning, precipitated by atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use.
According to a publisher statement, Houston and Winans met 26 years prior at a Detroit concert and quickly struck up a friendship.
BeBe Winans is a music icon in his own right and a man of faith who wants to share the inspiring story of his friendship with Whitney, Worthy Publishing president Byron Williamson said in a statement. The book offers an honest depiction of Houston as a treasured friend, and as a wife, daughter, and artist without peer.
Rolling Stone magazine published an excerpt from Winans' book, which he co-wrote with faith author Tim Willard. Judging by the excerpt, he saw that a deep loneliness can accompany those in the spotlight.
The excerpt includes an anecdote where Winans name-checks another dead mega-singer, Michael Jackson. Jackson, according to Winans, once gave Houston a pet monkey as a birthday present.
Did this gift make sense to Michael? he wrote. I don't know. Perhaps. The amount of fame that Whitney had garnered already as a 26- year-old had propelled her into a lonely way of life. But can you imagine thinking that another person would be so lonely that they'd need a pet monkey? This was someone's reality?
This is what seclusion does to a person. Whitney didn't struggle with the inclination toward extreme reclusivenes like Michael did, though I can see now how that gift from Michael was a foreshadowing of darker days ahead for Whitney.
Winans is one of several in Houston's social and family circle to launch a project directly tied to the late singer since her death.
Houston's mother, Cissy Houston, a singer and performer in her own right, is coming out with a memoir about her daughter. The currently untitled book will be published by HarperCollins and is scheduled for released on Feb. 15, 2013.
Part of the proceeds from the book will go to the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J., according to a publisher statement. Houston got her singing start at the church, and her mother was its minister of music for 50 years.
The highest-profile project comes from Houston's sister-in-law, who was also her manager. Pat Houston is producing and starring in an upcoming reality television show that will feature members of the late singer's family, including her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown.
I have been working with Simmons-Shelley over the past few years developing a project suitable for myself and our family, Houston's sister-in-law said, according to THR. The unexpected passing of Whitney certainly affects the direction of the show. However, it is my hope that others will be enlightened as they watch our family heal and move forward.
While it's understandable that a mother would want to write about her daughter, especially when some of the publication's proceeds are going to the church that helped launch her career, Winans' book and the reality T.V. project are bound to leave a bad taste in some fans' mouths. Will it always be too soon to capitalize on Whitney Houston's tragic death?