Pictorial reflects Whitney Houston’s ‘Life’

Whitney Houston Life cover.
Photo courtesy of Life Books
Photo courtesy of Life Books

One month after the untimely death of 48-year-old Whitney Elizabeth Houston, no less than three books commemorate the life of the iconic personality whose epitaph reads model, singer, actress, mother, daughter and pop queen.

Kimberly Hudson’s nook book relates “The Life & Death of Whitney Houston,” and “Livewire Real Lives Whitney Houston” by Julia Holt offers online intimacy into the personality that captured world attention when she allegedly died on Feb. 11 from accidental drowning at a Beverly Hills hotel on the eve of the Grammy Awards in California.

A third published by Life Books offers a commemorative pictorial that compiles previously unreleased photos and chronicles from youth to adolescence, the daughter gospel singer Cissy and her husband John Russell Houston raised in New Jersey.

The Life hardcover, glossy “Whitney 1963-2012” opens with “Songbird,” a chapter that introduces readers to the beginning years of the superstar and explains the gift she was blessed to share with the world.

“Nippy,” a nickname she is affectionately referred to by family and friends, titles the next chapter. “Superstar,” “Diva,” “Coda” and Farewell” tells the rest of the story packed into the handy, table-top keepsake.

Photos dominate all 96 pages.

Pictures with her cousin Dionne Warwick, her brothers Gary and Michael, singer Brandy, actor Denzel Washington, boxers Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson, singers Tony Bennett, Luciano Pavarotti, Michael Jackson and South Africa’s first Black president Nelson Mandela reveal images previously overshadowed by performance photos and a few that may have sensationalized her turbulent marriage to singer Bobby Brown.

However, also featured are tender moments frozen in time by photographers privileged as eye-witnesses to snap a kiss between the couple, their daughter Bobbi Christina and the family visit they made to the Holy Land in 2003.

All the photos depict a happy, beautiful, healthy-looking star.

Ironically, there is a black and white photo allegedly taken in 1986 with the singer holding a: ‘Say no to drugs’ poster.

In retrospect, Whitney Houston was more than she revealed.

A postscript to her passing states:

“Around the world, candles were lit and memories rekindled… Her troubles were mourned. Her brilliance remembered.”

Belafonte’s “Sing” Adds To Jamaica’s Reggae Film Fest

Harry Belafonte’s enlightening biopic “Sing your Song” has been added to the roster of stellar films slated for screening in Jamaica during the Reggae film Festival there.

The annual slated for April 17 – April 21 promises a variety of film forms and introduce presentations representing Canada, USA, Japan, Spain, Serbia, Italy, Germany, France and Ethiopia.

Annabelle Alcazar, Trinidad & Tobago’s film festival director will present a program of seven award-winning Caribbean films.

In addition to Belafonte’s document, “Studio Drummie One” and the “History of Rock-steady Music” are among the musically enriched film offerings.

“The focus of many documentaries on the history of Jamaican music and music makers, ensures an archive of historical material on the genre that preserves the oral memories of a culture that has spread to and honored by the world,” Makeda Blake-Hanna, founder of the festival said.

Another documentary planned — “The Invitation” is an unusual entry from Iran made by escaping refugees. Allegedly, the entire film was shot on a cell phone.

Aspiring film makers and anyone interested in production of music videos and the integration of music in film are invited to participate in one of the most unique features associated with the Reggae Film Festival.

Film buffs are encouraged to submit entries for the 2012 contests –“Make a Film in 24 Hours” segment which tests competence and offers a trip to Trinidad & Tobago and $50,000 prize to the winner.

Second and third prize winners will receive $30,000 and $20,000 respectively.

Cameron Bailey, deputy director of the Toronto International Film Festival will act as chief judge of the competition.

The contest has inspired and produced new Jamaican filmmaking talent, while the fest has discovered a surprising wealth of Jamaican talent in digital animation.

Sponsored by the Jamaica Film Academy, this year’s festival will showcase films in which aspects of reggae’s music culture are displayed, documented and memorialized in feature, documentary, short films, animation and music videos.

Jamaican feature films include “Blind Shotta,” an urban comedy by Diavallan Fearon and Julian Henriques 1990’s feature “We The Ragamuffin’ set in London’s Jamaican community.

The film features a cameo role by reggae artist Mikey General.

According to the organizers, guests can expect the event to surpass previous presentations, with the world premiere of a Hollywood movie.

African-American actor Giancarlo Esposito, recently lauded for his role as ‘Gus’ in the ABC-TV series ‘Breaking Bad’, will take the feature film “Gospel Hill’ co-starring Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, Danny Glover which he produced and directed for his Quiet Hands film production company.

A first for the festival will be the world premiere of a Hollywood ‘horror’ movie starring Ryan O’Neal and Tom Sizemore that features a reggae soundtrack.

Director Rebekah Chaney and Jamaican filmmaker/musician Wayne Jobson who composed reggae music for the soundtrack will be among several members of the production team who will accompany the film to Jamaica for the premiere.

Serbian director Goran Radovanovic is slated to give an account of life in Cuba and his film “With Fidel, Whatever Happens” after the screening.

Seminars on scriptwriting, acting and production are scheduled, as well as a children’s program of Jamaican films starring radio personality Elise Kelly, reggae singers Freddie McGregor, Judy Mowatt and Storm Saulter.

A Jamaica50 Retrospective will honor filmmaker Chris Browne with screenings of his early short films, and the films “The Harder They Come” and “Life and Debt.”

Screenings of the best of the festival are scheduled for Toronto, London, Birmingham and New York.

For more info. log onto www.reggaefilmacademy.org

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