Whitney Houston is inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Alicia Keys with emotional speech

9 November 2020, 10:11

Alicia Keys inducted Whitney Houston into a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Alicia Keys inducted Whitney Houston into a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Whitney Houston has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the first time at the 2020 ceremony.

Alicia Keys inducted the late singer with an emotional speech about her idol and friend, who died in 2012.

Whitney's mother Cissy, and her manager and sister-in-law Pat accepted the honour on her behalf on Saturday (November 7).

She was joined by Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, The Notorious BIG, T Rex and others in the class of 2020 inductees.

Alicia paid tribute to Whitney, by saying: “Whitney Houston is one of one. There is no one like her and there never will be.”

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She also spoke of Whitney's influence on her own life and career, remembering “listening to her music and dancing around the house and jumping on my bed singing her songs into my hairbrush”.

“This golden voice with range and runs and power like none and a face and a presence like royalty,” she said. “She was every little girl’s admiration.”

She also spoke about the first time she met the singer and their friendship, and how Whitney had demanded Aicia write a song for her.

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“We were kindred spirits and instant sisters,” she said. “We did work together on ‘Million Dollar Bill’, a song I wrote for her album ‘I Look to You’.

"We laughed so much that I thought we’d never be able to finish the song. We called each other ‘Mima’ and I cherish every moment that I got to talk to her, be in her beautiful company, and love her.

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“We all know what a miraculous singer Whitney was — perhaps the greatest voice of our time. We all know how her unprecedented success brought Black women into the absolute highest reaches of the music industry’s pantheon.

"We all know her music will live forever. That music, that everlasting voice, is her final generous gift to us, and she will now be one of the brightest lights ever to shine in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Congratulations, Mima. We miss you.”

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Accepting the award, Whitney's mother Cissy said: “I’m so very, very proud that Whitney’s being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She wanted to be something, not anything. She worked hard at it too.”

Pat added: “This is something that Whitney always wanted. I remember in 2009 we were in London and Whitney looked at me and said, ‘This is really special, but there’s only one thing missing—I got to get the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.’”

The 2020 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony took place virtually this year, after being postponed from May to November due to the coronavirus pandemic.