On Friday afternoon, the L.A. Times music blog posted an account of some song rehearsals by Brandy and Monica - rehearsals at which Whitney Houston was present. This is what the Los Angeles Times initially said in the post:
Pop & Hiss dropped by the Beverly Hilton Hotel to take a peek at rehearsals for Saturday's gala, which features Brandy and Monica as headliners (we also spotted a run-through for the tribute set to the Kinks led by the band's former frontman, Ray Davies). The two R&B divas recently reunited nearly 14 years after the success of their chart-topping duet "The Boy Is Mine" for a new single, "It All Belongs To Me," that will appear on their upcoming albums.
After a run-through of the massive hit that brought them together, a loose and lively Houston dropped by to give the girls vocal tips for the performance.
"Loose and lively." In another post, written after Houston's death, some more details emerged:
Press, including The Times, were in attendance for a junket with the reunited R&B divas and Davis. Though Houston greeted people her with a warm smile, she appeared disheveled in mismatched clothes and hair that was dripping wet with either sweat or water.
The visibly bloated singer displayed erratic behavior throughout the afternoon -- flailing her hands frenetically as she spoke to Brandy and Monica, skipping around the ballroom in a child-like fashion and wandering aimlessly about the lobby. It was mentioned by a Grammy staffer that security personnel received calls of the singer doing handstands by the pool.
After leaving rehearsals, Houston returned to the ballroom -- with her teenage daughter Bobbi Kristina in tow -- as camera crews set up for interviews. The singer smelled of alcohol and cigarettes. A Grammy staffer said that during the interviews with Brandy, Monica and Clive, Houston was dancing just off camera to make the singers and Davis laugh. Grammy personnel expressed concern that she'd be caught on camera, and that reporters would write about her behavior.
Well, luckily for everyone, I guess, reporters didn't write about this...other than using words like "loose and lively."
With the benefit of hindsight, it's easy to point fingers and scream about a massive cover-up by the entertainment industry. And if you look at the comments posted in response to the second article, people are doing just that.
But if I were there, I'm not sure that I would have gone ahead with a "stoned Whitney" story, even if I smelled alcohol on her breath. I would have been worried that I didn't have enough information to make the accusation.
Now perhaps I'd feel differently if it had been a Whitney Houston rehearsal, in which she was the focus of the afternoon. But it was a Brandy/Monica rehearsal, and as far as we know neither of them were stoned.
What are your thoughts?
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