BeBe Winans has provided Rolling Stone with an excerpt from his new book, The Whitney I Knew. Much of the chapter deals with the pitfalls of fame and includes numerous revelations about Whitney Houston. One tale that stood out most chronicles the first time Whitney met Mariah Carey.
BeBe uses their first interaction to discuss how outsiders can create rivalries that wouldn’t otherwise exist.
The section reads:
And contrary to popular thought, she loved to hear Mariah Carey sing. When Mariah burst onto the scene, Whitney called me and asked, “Did you hear that new girl, Mariah? Good Lord, she can sing!”
To give you an idea of how the media twists reality, allow me to expound on the Mariah Carey situation. Now, this story would probably embarrass Whitney a little, but I have to tell it. I think she’d understand that it’s all in good fun.
When Mariah debuted, I’m sure people in the media couldn’t wait to compare her to Whitney. I had heard of Mariah early on because my good friend, Rhett Lawrence, produced her first big single. I was at his house in California when he was raving about this new singer.
Well, as we all know, when Mariah came on the scene, she hit hard. And instantly the media created a “hate” between Whitney and Mariah. They were both going to be at the American Music Awards, and people were expecting some kind of fireworks because supposedly there was this massive tension between them. Again, this was a fabrication. They didn’t hate each other; they didn’t even know each other.
I could convince Whitney to do anything – pranks or whatever. We’d be hanging out and I’d tell her to do something, and she’d say, “You are not my father. Why do you think you my father? You think I’ll just do whatever you tell me?” To which I’d reply, “Shut up, I am your father” – all in good fun, of course.
Well, we were at the American Music Awards, and I had persuaded Whitney that after her performance and her category were over, we would go to dinner. I’d also informed her that when we exited our seats, she would be the last one out, and that we were going to pass Mariah Carey on the way out.
“Here’s what you do,” I said. “You gonna stop and you gonna put out your hand and you gonna speak to her.”
“I’m not gonna speak to her,” Whitney replied.
“Yes, you are. You’re going to be bigger than this whole situation.” “I’m not . . .” “Yes, you are.”
Her category finished and our little foursome started marching out to go to dinner – CeCe in front of me, Whitney’s assistant, Robin, in front of her, and Whitney at the end of the line – just like I said. And Whitney did exactly as I told her to do. I didn’t stop to listen to or watch their interaction; I just kept moving. The three of us piled into the car, and then Whitney blew in like a storm and slammed the door behind her. She was clearly upset and embarrassed.
“I’m going to kick your tail!” she said to me. “What happened?” “I’ll never listen to you again.” “Tell me what happened!”
“I did everything you said: I stopped. I put out my hand and said, ‘Hi Mariah, I’m Whitney.’ And when I stuck out my hand, she turned her head like she didn’t hear anything I said and looked up at the sky.”
“Oh no,” I said. “Tell me that’s not true.”
“Oh, it’s true. I was so embarrassed. There I stood, looking like an idiot. I’m never going to do what you tell me to do again.” Thank God the media didn’t see this.
Yes, thank God. Obviously the two became good friends, and BeBe elaborates more on the story. You can read the excerpt in full here.