Whitney Houston, MTV, Michael Jackson discussed on It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders
Show, we honor Whitney and the 30th anniversary of her rendition of the national anthem. That's Super Bowl 25. We gonna talk about what it meant then and what it means now. Because with another Super Bowl, also in Tampa and a nation also very much on edge for different reasons. E keep going back to Whitney. So like I, said Daniel Smith, former Vibe editor in chief and host of the show, Black Girls Songbook. She joined me to talk about all of this. Danielle also wrote the definitive oral history of Whitney's performance for ESPN. So there was no better person to help me make sense of why 30 years later. This moment of black history still says so much about race and patriotism and a whole lot more. Whitney Houston is she is operating in this really rarefied air. In 91, You know, her and Michael Jackson were really the first true pop black crossover stars of the MTV era, and she had been fighting through this kind of shiny, perfect image of pop stardom. To be taken this seriously and have the same ubiquity as white pop stars and so to see her. In this moment of intense patriotism, singing the national anthem. That is perhaps the ultimate crossover for a black woman like her. No. Yes, And I always think one. I agree with everything you say they're on day. I also do think that crossover is a term that we all use without really. Saying exactly what it means. Say it. It means to cross over, but no one says cross over From what? To what? Right back then it meant because radio stations were segregated at that time and Black stations played black music and pop slash white stations played white music. One had to cross over from blackness to whiteness to have the kind of opportunities for success. Money ticket sales radio sells all of those things that tie in to be in a global superstar to have those kind of opportunities. I always say that Whitney Houston didn't spend her career fighting for pop success. She used her career She was fighting for pop equality. It's different. Yeah, it wasn't fair. Frankly, the fact that MTV had to be pretty much forced into playing. Michael Jackson's videos, literally other labels had to threaten to withhold their white pop stars from MTV. So that MTV would play Michael Jackson's videos, and Whitney found herself in a very similar position, so he has to see her. They're after seven consecutive number one Pop hit. It was And and I always say I didn't see it in real time. Did not see them when I was at work. I was I was working retail at the time in San Francisco, and they were like a Super Bowl Sunday. Do you want to come in? And I was like It doesn't pay time and a half because if it does, I'm on the train, so But to see her. It was everywhere that they re played it over and over and over and over again. It was on the radio almost immediately after she sang it because the radio DJs literally taped it. From the television broadcast and started playing. So then our Mr Records actually put it out as a single in the single went platinum. This is the power of when he used it. Yeah, I want to talk more about what makes that musical performance different and perhaps better than all the others. But first, I want to talk about just the imagery of Whitney that night. Whitney.