British-based gay rights activist Peter Tatchell claimed that Whitney Houston attended an AIDS event in London, in 1991, with her gay partner Robyn Crawford.
Though he initially declined to identify her, the organizer – respected gay rights and equality consultant Vernal Scott – said that Peter Tatchell was referring to Robyn Crawford.
Peter Tatchell even said Whitney Houston’s marriage to Bobby Brown was a smokescreen.
Now, Peter Tatchell tells the story of how he met the two lovers, Whitney Houston and Robyn Crawford.
“I met Whitney and her female partner at the Reach Out & Touch HIV vigil in London in 1991.
Whitney spoke movingly in support of people with HIV, at a time when many other stars kept their distance. Her support was much valued.
She advocated the welfare and human rights of people with HIV. It was a commendable stand.
I have, in the past, declined to name Whitney’s female partner. But most of the media have since named her as Robyn Crawford.
When I met them, it was obvious they were madly in love. Their intimacy and affection was so sweet and romantic.
They held hands in the back of the car like teenage sweethearts. Clearly more than just friends, they were a gorgeous couple and so happy together. To see their love was infectious and uplifting.
Whitney was happiest and at the peak of her career when she was with Robyn. Sadly, she suffered family and church pressure to end her greatest love of all.
She was fearful of the effects that lesbian rumors might have on her family, reputation and career. Eventually she succumbed. The result? A surprise marriage to Bobby Brown.
The marriage was a disaster. Bad boy Bobby was never her true soul mate. Giving up Robyn – they’d been inseparable for years – must have been emotionally traumatic.
Whitney’s life started going downhill soon afterwards. Previously wholesome and clean-living, she went on drink-and-drug binges – evidence of a troubled personal life and much unhappiness.
It seems likely that the split with Robyn contributed to her substance abuse and decline.
There is a known correlation between denial of one’s sexuality and a propensity to self-destructive behavior. Homophobia undoubtedly added to the pressures on Whitney and hastened her demise.
Soon after her very sad death, I was quoted as saying that Whitney was happiest when she loved a woman. Some fans accused me of <<insulting>> and <<smearing>> her.
But there is nothing shameful about a woman loving a woman. It’s not dirty or sordid and shouldn’t be kept hidden.
I did not out her as lesbian/ bisexual. She semi-outed herself by dedicating her albums to Robyn.”
Whitney Houston pictured with Robyn Crawford (right), the star’s greatest love, according to British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell
Years ago, Whitney Houston was outed by Bobby Brown’s sister, Tina, and by her former bodyguard, Kevin Ammons.
Bobby Brown hinted in his autobiography that Whitney Houston married him to dispel lesbian rumors: “I believe her agenda was to clean up her image . . . The media was accusing her of having a bisexual relationship with her assistant, Robin Crawford . . . that didn’t go too well with her image. In Whitney’s situation, the only solution was to get married . . . [to] kill all speculation.”
Peter Tatchell continued: “Telling the truth does not besmirch Whitney’s memory. It honors the most important relationship she ever had.
What’s wrong is ignoring or denying the one love that made her truly happy.
Homophobia contributed to Whitney’s fall.
I want to see a more tolerant society where people don’t feel the need to marry to deflect rumors of homosexuality, and where they are not driven to self-destruction because of their inability to accept and express their love for a person of the same sex.
Achieving this goal would be a fitting tribute to Whitney Houston.”
Robyn Crawford, Whitney Houston’s former personal assistant, had been the singer’s secret lover for many years, claims gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.
Peter Tatchell claimed Whitney Houston attended an AIDS event in London, in 1991, with a gay partner. Though he declined to identify her, the organizer – respected gay rights and equality consultant Vernal Scott – said that Peter Tatchell was referring to Robyn Crawford.
Robyn Crawford and Bobby Brown – who is a volatile product of the Boston ghetto – apparently once fought for Whitney Houston’s affections.
So, if they will meet again in the febrile ambience of the singer’s funeral, one shudders to imagine what might happen.
Another person that is not welcomed at the funeral is Whitney Houston’s “wicked step-mother”, Barbara.
Barbara Houston married John Russell Houston Jr., amid much familial rancor, just months after he and Cissy were divorced in 1992.
At the time Barbara was a single mother in her mid-20s, and John Russell Houston Jr. was 71, and their relationship began when she worked as his cleaner. After his death, eight years ago, Barbara sued Whitney Houston for the right to remain in the plush apartment the singer had bought for her father. The case finally resolved, in a defeat for Barbara Houston, only a few weeks ago.
The great irony – and perhaps the greatest tragedy – is that at the peak of her fame in the 80’s and early 90’s, Whitney Houston was held up as the ultimate female role-model.
Whitney Houston was also seen as a unifying force, the trailblazer for the color-blind, classless society that then seemed to be evolving on both sides of the Atlantic. Her appeal transcended not just musical tastes but ethnicity and age, and she was hailed as the first “crossover” pop-star.
When Whitney Houston starred opposite Kevin Costner (who will deliver a eulogy today) in the $400-million-grossing movie The Bodyguard, their mixed-race screen affair was heralded as a ground-breaking cinematic event that would change perceptions forever.
During the early 90’s, when people started to recoil at her image, Whitney Houston attempted to enhance her “street-cred” by recalling her tough upbringing.
“I’m nobody’s angel,” Whitney Houston proclaimed.
“I can get down and dirty.”
Robyn Crawford (right) did not say whether she had a relationship with Whitney Houston and she has never commented on the rumors
However, her mother’s lucrative singing career and her father’s keen business nose afforded Whitney Houston a comfortable upbringing.
Soon after the riots of 1967, Houston family fled burnt-out Newark for nearby East Orange; now plagued by drugs and crime but then a thriving, middle-class town.
Whitney Houston attended the best school and hoped to become a teacher or a vet, singing purely for joy with her mother in the gospel choir before her celestial voice came to the notice of recording executives. She also landed a modeling contract with a top New York agency, when she was 16.
Her formative years seem to have been so perfect. Those who knew her then say she was remarkably modest. She worked prodigiously, obeyed her parents, dressed demurely, and was always impeccably behaved.
Was it all a façade? Certainly that is the view of Robyn Crawford, who became inseparable from the 16-year-old Whitney Houston when they did summer work together at a community centre.
“When my mother first met her, she laughed and said: <<You look like an angel but I know you’re not>>. And she wasn’t,” Robyn Crawford recalled this week, speaking about their close relationship for the first time.
“People thought they had to protect her. She hated that. She was always the one doing the driving. Nobody kept Whitney from doing anything. She did what she wanted to do.”
Whether this extended to having a gay relationship, Robyn Crawford did not say – she has never commented on the rumors, which began after she was employed by Whitney Houston (rising to become her omnipotent “creative director”) and were aired most compellingly in Kevin Ammons’ unauthorized biography of the singer, Good Girl, Bad Girl.
Kevin Ammons is the boyfriend of Whitney Houston’s long-time publicist, Regina Brown, whose silence Whitney is said to have bought with fabulous gifts, including a gold Mercedes, diamond-jewellery and rent-free apartment.
He also claimed Cissy Houston was distraught by the relationship, and urged her daughter to end it.
If Whitney Houston was secretly gay, or at least bi, and felt forced to live a lie, this might – as Peter Tatchell suggests – have led her to take refuge in the drink and drugs that killed her.
Kevin Ammons, author of the Whitney Houston unauthorized biography, “Good Girl, Bad Girl,” claims that singer’s mother, Cissy Houston, had an open disapproval of Houston’s former close friend Robyn Crawford.
On more than one occasion, Cissy Houston allegedly told Whitney, “get rid” of Robyn Crawford or she would destroy her career, saying it wasn’t “natural” for two women to be so close.
Kevin Ammons also mentions that Robyn Crawford allegedly became upset when Bobby Brown had sent Whitney Houston four hundred roses before their marriage.
Kevin Ammons, author of the Whitney Houston unauthorized biography, “Good Girl, Bad Girl,” claims that singer’s mother, Cissy Houston, had an open disapproval of Houston’s former close friend Robyn Crawford
The author also said that Regina Brown, Whitney Houston’s former publicist, told him, the story of a very public altercation between Whitney and Robyn Crawford at the 1991 Super Bowl, where the singer sung the national anthem.
Regina Brown allegedly said that M.C. Hammer appeared, he and Whitney Houston went off by themselves, talking and laughing and Robyn Crawford allegedly flipped.
After M.C. Hammer left, Robyn Crawford went and grabbed Whitney Houston’s arm and pulled her aside and started screaming at her. Then, Robyn Crawford allegedly screamed: “Don’t ever disrespect me like that!”
Whitney Houston allegedly jerked away and told her to go to hell and Robyn Crawford hauls off and slaps Whitney.
Cissy Houston allegedly yelled: “Don’t you ever put your hands on my daughter!”
Then Cissy Houston slugged Robyn Crawford in her right jaw with her fists and Robyn falls to the ground. Cissy Houston kept punching and kicking her, yelling: “I’ll kill you, you stupid b**ch!”
Onlookers had to pull Cissy Houston off Robyn Crawford.
Kevin Ammons also claimed that Regina Brown once told him, one of the conditions of working for Whitney Houston was that she never said a word about Robyn Crawford to anyone.
To allegedly insure her silence, Whitney Houston had given Regina Brown many expensive presents: a gold Mercedes-Benz, a diamond studded cross, a corporate credit card, a calling-card account, diamond earrings, free air travel, $125,000 a year salary and free rent on her luxurious apartment.