Insert Foot: Whitney Houston is back! And not earning a penny for herself

Whitney Houston’s hologram has performed so flawlessly on its (her?) European tour that it’s getting its own Las Vegas residency.

No, no … I’m very serious, and it’s no laughing matter. There hasn’t been anything remotely funny about Whitney Houston since she said Bobby Brown was the king of R&B.

After a few weeks of waking up in “The Andromeda Strain,” did I wake up this morning in “Futurama?”

Tony Hicks, Insert Foot

Insert Foot. Rendering: Adam Pardee/STAFF.

At some point during the past year, someone remembered he wasn’t making as much money off Whitney Houston as back in the good old days–before she had the temerity to go die—and decided to send her back on tour. Some label execs who haven’t figured out how to bottle immortal souls yet, so, in an ironically soulless act, decided to instead put Houston back to work as hologram.

Well, yes … I suppose a Whitney Houston hologram still has about as much heart and soul as some of today’s AutoTuned fembot pop singers. But that’s not the point.

If I remember now, the point happens to be … GROSS.

According to the New York Daily News, “An Evening with Whitney: The Whitney Houston Hologram Concert” debuts with an extended residency at the Flamingo Las Vegas on April 14, after a successful run of shows in Europe. or, at least it was supposed to debut on April 14. As of Wednesday, the Flamingo’s website didn’t have a cancelation notice; perhaps because holograms don’t get coronavirus.

Either way, it sounds like a lot of work. You would think they wouldn’t push it so hard, being that exhausted holograms are notoriously difficult to work with.

Whitney H(ologram) will be backed by a five-member band, back-up singers and dancers. In other words, an entire modern production … except for the star, who happens to be dead.

I suppose the show really must go on.

The person running Houston’s estate—also known as WHOA (the Whitney Houston Opportunist Association)–is her former manager and sister-in-law, Pat Houston. She’s trying to sell this thing as Whitney’s idea.

According to the Daily News, Pat Houston said in a statement, “In 2011, Whitney and I discussed her idea of an intimate, unplugged concert tour. It was a project we called ‘Whitney Unplugged’ or ‘An Evening with Whitney.'”


“While Whitney’s no longer with us, her voice and legacy will live on with us forever.”

Or until the gravy train stops chugging.

Pat Houston went on to say things about bringing Whitney Houston’s music to fans who didn’t get a chance to see her.

Well … OK, Pat, but they’re not seeing her.

Invoking Whitney Houston’s wishes to justify this money grab is as dim as believing an obnoxious reality show host can become president of the United States.

Uh … anyway, in case you were busy, know Houston died on Feb. 11, 2012, in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. The coroner’s report said contributing factors included cocaine and heart disease. She was 48.

For all the insensitive no-talent louts (me) making fun of this ridiculousness, know that Whitney Houston was an incredible talent. When she hit MTV in the mid-1980s, she was an impossibly bright star. Her voice stunned even long-haired teenage fools (me again) into halting the head-banging long enough to say, “Whoa … dude.”

She had few peers as a singer and almost instantaneously became the gold standard. There’s no Mariah Carey, Christina Aquilera or whomever else who can blast paint off a wall with their voice without Whitney Houston.

She ended the last part of her career making bad choices. The people entrusted with her legacy are making them worse. It’s a cheap way to make money for those who can’t come up with anything better, and it’s not worthy of Houston’s legacy. One can argue Houston managed to stain her own legacy before she left planet Earth, but to do so further should be her decision.

The hologram thing started with Tupac Shakur mesmerizing the crowd at Coachella in 2012. Like Houston, Shakur happened to be dead. Other performers have similarly been resurrected. It’s similar to using old movie clips of entertainers like Fred Astaire being used to push products those valuable images may have otherwise chosen not to endorse. There’s no asking the only person who actually possessed (bad word choice) the right to do so.

People can spend money however they’d like, of course. But why not spend it on living artists who can benefit directly from their work, instead of those clinging to their former good luck of being associated with great talent?

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