Exactly one month after her body was found in the bathroom of a Los Angeles hotel, Whitney Houston’s family partially reassembled on Sunday night for an emotional interview on Oprah Winfrey’s new primetime series “Oprah’s Next Chapter.” As a TV critic, these are the sort of special we watch hoping for both insight along with the opportunity to cherish the memory of someone great, and Oprah managed to ultimately deliver on both fronts.
More than anyone else, it was especially impressive to see the strength of Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina in this interview and she fondly remembered a woman that meant the world to her and said that even to this day, she is still feeling the spirit of her mother around her:
“I can hear her voice and spirit … I can always feel her with me. She wasn’t only a mother. She was a best friend.”
Houston’s sister-in-law (and manager) Patricia spoke out later in the special, and Oprah shifted her interview style slightly (and rather superbly) to ask about some of the events that actually unfolded at the time of Houston’s passing — including the moment she first found out about the news along with how she worked to console Whitney’s longtime friend Ray J. Patricia’s husband (and Whitney’s brother) Gary later joined in, and in one of the night’s angrier moments referred to a recent National Enquirer story about Houston’s casket as “wicked.”
There’s no question that Oprah is going to score some of the best ratings in OWN history with this special, and while some people may look at this interview cynically as a ploy to help a struggling network, there was really no better person to sit down with these people than someone with a pre-established relationship. Oprah was not only fair to Whitney’s family, she was caring — and it allowed us a window into a group of people who we never truly got to know for most of Houston’s far-too-short life. Never underestimate the power of a warm environment, and the family was provided that here in spades.
What did you think about this special?