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December 4th, 2012
10:44 AM ET

Pat Houston releases tribute of images and essays to singer Whitney Houston: "Whitney: Tribute to an Icon"

It’s been nearly 10 months since the tragic passing of legendary songstress Whitney Houston. But she lives on in her iconic songs and images. Her sister-in-law and longtime manager, Pat Houston released a book in tribute to her just last week."Whitney: Tribute to an Icon" features 130 images of Whitney, some never seen before from the past 25 years of her life, taken by top photographers and curated by renowned photographer Randee St. Nicholas. Pat, who also wrote essays and the afterword for the book, joins Soledad O’Brien live from Atlanta this morning with more.

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Filed under: Book • Celebrity • Entertainment • Whitney Houston
November 15th, 2012
11:38 AM ET

Singer, songwriter, and actress Jordin Sparks on the late Whitney Houston and their film ‘Sparkle'

From starring in “Sparkle” to designing her third fragrance “Ambition,” singer, songwriter, and actress Jordin Sparks has had a big year. Sparks joins Starting Point this morning to discuss her experience starring alongside the late Whitney Houston in “Sparkle” and her next plans for her career.

“It's one of those things that it's so amazing that I got to do it and at the same time seeing Whitney - every single time I see her. She was so incredible,” the singer says of the late Houston.

While filming the final scene of “Sparkle,” Sparks was particularly moved by the late Houston.

“We were filming the scene when I was in the pretty red dress. After we were finished, she had come to watch everything. She just wanted to be there to support us and to support, you know, it kind of coming to a close,” Sparks explains. “She was sitting there and she says come here. Come to the side of the stage. I come over and she takes my face in her hands and goes, 'you're everything that we wanted for this part. You're perfect.'”

Sparks adds that she hopes to do “all sorts of things” in her career, including films that may not include singing parts.

“Since ‘Sparkle’ I've gotten a couple of other scripts and it's been a very vast array of roles. There was a comedy, a drama and then there was like this amazing action script as well. There have been a couple of different things,” the former American Idol star says.


Filed under: Entertainment • Whitney Houston
August 13th, 2012
02:07 PM ET

Whitney Houston's performance in 'Sparkle' to give people sense of closure – Bishop T.D. Jakes on the singer's last role

Just six months ago this week, the world lost one of the greatest voices of our time with the tragic death of Whitney Houston. She died just months after she finished shooting a decade-long passion project.

That project was the new movie "Sparkle." It was her last on-screen performance. In the film, Houston plays Emma, a hard-working single mom who dreamed of a singing career that never took off.

Houston was just 13-years-old when the original film was released in 1976, at a time when she was chasing her own musical dreams. She would eventually start and executive produce the remake that she didn't live to see. The movie will hit theaters this Friday.

Bishop T.D. Jakes, producer of the new movie "Sparkle" and founder of Potter's House Church in Dallas, talks to Soledad on "Starting Point" about the legend's final film performance and her legacy.

Filed under: Whitney Houston
April 3rd, 2012
10:20 AM ET

Starting Point playlist for Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Acclaimed filmmaker Morgan Spurlock was one of our Starting Point panelists this morning, and picked three very different songs for his playlist. He picked "Testimony" by The Phenomenal Handclap Band, Matt & Kim's "AM/FM Sound," and "White Knuckles" by OK Go.

The current top ten hit "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye was conservative commentator Abby Huntsman's first playlist selection today.  She also picked Train's "Hey, Soul Sister" and Chris Brown's "Turn Up The Music," which made headlines for its remix featuring Brown's ex Rihanna.

Our own Christine Romans contributed a couple of older songs to today's Starting Point: Frank Sinatra's version of "Ol' Macdonald" and "On Broadway" by George Benson. Changing gears a bit, Christine also picked "Make Some Noise," a track from The Beastie Boys' latest album Hot Sauce Committee Part Two.

Starting Point guest Randy Jackson's contribution to today's playlist was his 2008 collaboration with Paula Abdul, "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow."

Other songs featured today include "Ice Cream Man" by Van Halen, "Queen of the Night" by the late Whitney Houston, Will Cain's George Strait pick "Blue Clear Sky," and Five For Fighting's "Chances," a song from the soundtrack to The Blind Side, which was based on SP guest Leigh Anne Tuohy's life.

April 2nd, 2012
09:00 AM ET

Starting Point playlist for Monday, April 2, 2012


Nikka Costa's "Around The World" kicked off our playlist today. The song, from Celeste Headlee's playlist, is from a more recent part of Costa's career; she has been performing for 30 of her 39 years.

Christine Romans picked the Foo Fighters' "Everlong" for her playlist today. The song is considered to be one of the Foos' best, and has been included in many "greatest of all time" lists.

Paul Simon's 1986 hit "You Can Call Me Al" was Peter Beinart's playlist pick today. The song is from Simon's classic album Graceland, which was included in Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Will Cain's first pick today was "Barefoot & Crazy" by country artist Jack Ingram. While Ingrahm was promoting the song in 2009, he gave so many interviews in one day that he actually set a Guiness World Record.

Stevie Wonder's classic "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" was Hogan Gidley's pick this morning. Stevie Wonder was recently in the spotlight again when he performed at Whitney Houston's funeral. Both Huston and Wonder are among the most successful artists in contemporary music.

David Bowie, born David Jones, had to change his name to avoid confusion with the recently departed Davy Jones, who was at the time in one of the biggest bands in the world. Needless to say, the name change paid off, and Bowie has become a legend in his own right. His 1975 hit "Golden Years" made Celeste Headlee's playlist today.

Will Cain's next pick today was Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing." Although the group split nearly twenty years ago, many of the former members continue to make music. Former lead singer Mark Knopfler and keyboardist Guy Fletcher are reportedly working on a new album together.

Modest Mouse's Grammy-nominated hit "Float On" made Christine Romans' playlist this morning. Christine also picked another Stevie Wonder classic, "Sir Duke," a number one hit from his legendary album Songs in the Key of Life.

"Misunderstanding" by Genesis was Headlee's next pick today. Drummer Phil Collins may have recently retired from the music industry, but he passed the torch along: his daughter is actress Lily Collins, who stars in the new Snow White movie Mirror Mirror alongside Julia Roberts.

Elvis Costello's biggest hit in the United States was 1989's "Veronica," which is Peter Beinart's second playlist pick of the day. The song was co-written by Costello's friend Paul McCartney.

Alt rock band Wilco's 1999 song "A Shot in the Arm" was Headlee's final playlist pick this morning. The group's most recent album The Whole Love was nominated for a Grammy in 2011.

Finally, we closed out today's show with "Railroad Lady" by Willie Nelson. The legendary singer has enjoyed a very long career both in music and activism. His first album, And Then I Wrote, was released fifty years ago this year.

March 23rd, 2012
11:35 AM ET

Whitney's public struggle with addiction

People Magazine's Carlos Greer on celebrity culture and revelations in Whitney Houston's toxicology report.

Filed under: Celebrity • Whitney Houston
March 23rd, 2012
09:34 AM ET

Houston used cocaine shortly before death, according to autopsy report

Lawrence Kobilinsky, forensic scientist, discusses the results of Whitney Houston's autopsy and the dangers of cocaine abuse.

Filed under: Whitney Houston
March 20th, 2012
09:50 AM ET

Starting Point playlist for Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Gospel singer Marvin Sapp's song "Magnify" kicked off today's Starting Point playlist. The song, from Soledad O'Brien's playlist, can be found on Sapp's 2007 album Thirsty, his most successful album to date.

CNN Contributor Roland Martin's first playlist pick today was "I Like It," a song from English jazz fusion group The Brand New Heavies. Martin also picked "I've Got to Move" by Calvin Richardson, as well as "Home Alone" by R. Kelly featuring Keith Murray. R. Kelly was in the spotlight recently, as he performed at Whitney Houston's funeral. Kelly sang the song "I Look to You," which he wrote for Houston to sing on what would end up being her final album.

Beyoncé's 2009 hit "Sweet Dreams" was Soledad's next playlist pick this morning. Beyoncé holds the distinction of being one of very few artists to have all of their albums reach number one on the Billboard 200.

"Teenagers" by My Chemical Romance was a hit for the band in 2007, and made Will Cain's playlist on Starting Point today. The song was very well received by music critics, and made Rolling Stone's Best of 2007 list.

Eighties rock band Loverboy's hit "Turn Me Loose" was Rep. Jason Chaffetz's music choice today. The song has experienced long-term success: it has been featured in several films, and has been covered by artists ranging from Australian girl group Young Divas to rapper Eminem.

LCD Soundsystem's "Tribulations," from their 2005 self-titled Grammy-winning debut, made political comedian John Fugelsang's playlist today. The dance-punk group disbanded last year after a ten years together.

Michael Jackson's "Thriller" was Jackson Raymond's song selection this morning. The song and its parent album were massively successful. The album became the best selling album of all time, and the song's music video was a milestone in the genre. After the King of Pop's death in 2009, the song re-entered the charts, peaking at second place on the Billboard Hot Digital Tracks chart.

Starting Point guest Jeff Stier's playlist pick today was "When Love Comes to Town" by BB King and U2. The song, which hit number one in Ireland, is a collaboration of two very esteemed musical acts. King was called the third greatest guitar player of all time by Rolling Stone, and U2 has won more Grammys than any other band in history.

"Let Me Blow Ya Mind" by Eve was Soledad's next pick today. In addition to a successful music career, Eve is also an actress, and has appeared on the hit TV show Glee. Check out Early Start's story from this morning about a real life champion glee club.

"Welcome to the Jungle" by Jay-Z and Kanye West made Jamal Anderson's playlist today. The song, from the duo's smash album Watch the Throne, takes its name from the Guns N' Roses classic, which was released twenty-five years ago this month.

U2 makes another appearance on our playlist today with "One," Melanie Bloom's selection. The song was recently named the second best song of the nineties by VH1,  as well as the 36th best song of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.

Finally, Will Cain's second pick today was "Three Days" by country artist Pat Green. Green has had fifteen hits on the country charts in the last decade and is sure to have more with the release of his next album, which is due out later this spring.


March 16th, 2012
01:56 PM ET

Behind-the-Scenes at Starting Point: Set photos of Whitney Houston auction items

While Soledad O'Brien prepped for her interview with Julien's Auctions founder & CEO Darren Julien we gave a small camera to Starting Point PA superstar Crystal Overstreet to get some photos of the items on set. Take a look at what she saw as the mannequins were prepped for air.


March 16th, 2012
01:27 PM ET

Exclusive: Preview of Whitney Houston's dresses, jewelry up for auction

The late singer Whitney Houston was known not only for her voice, but also for being a bit of a glamorous diva. Now, fans and collectors can bid on some of her most iconic fashion items.

She's been added to the list of celebrities whose memorabilia will appear in this month's "Hollywood Legends" auction in Beverly Hills. Items include a vest and earrings that Houston wore in "The Bodyguard," as well as some velvet dresses.

This morning on "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien," Julien's Auctions founder & CEO Darren Julien previews some items from Whitney Houston's estate that are up for auction.

Filed under: Entertainment • Whitney Houston
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