February is a month of celebration in the pop culture community — between the Grammy and the Academy Awards, the best in the music and cinema fields will be recognized in the next month. However, between the awards buzz for those two big nights, we want to make not to overshadow February’s significance: Black History Month. So to follow the month’s trend of celebration, we plan to spend all of February going through the most important African-American pop culture personalities of the last 29 years. We continue today with 1987.
To date, Whitney Houston’s biggest contribution to pop culture may be 1992’s “I Will Always Love You,” the single that helped the soundtrack to The Bodyguard sell 15 million copies and win the Grammy for Album of the Year. The film was Houston’s first major role, and her powerful vocal throughout “I Will Always” lead the single to 14 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 — a record that still stands today.
But Houston’s tendency to rewrite history began in 1987 with Whitney, her second album as a solo artist. The CD sold 25 million copies worldwide and spawned four #1 singles, including “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” — which won a Grammy in 1988 for Best Female Pop Performance. It was also the first disc by a female artist in history to debut at #1 on the Billboard Album chart, ultimately turning Houston into an international phenomenon and unrivaled diva in the pop world.
Houston’s continued career into the 90s saw longer gaps between albums, personal troubles and shaky public performances. But she looks to rebuild her reputation with the release of a comeback album before 2010.