It's been nearly a year since Whitney Houston was found dead—after drowning in a hotel bathtub from the effects of chronic cocaine use and heart disease—and now Cissy Houston is sharing the intimate details of her daughter's life, both good and bad, in her new book Remembering Whitney. More than anything, Cissy comes across not as a grieving mother, but as a cranky old lady who hates everything.
The book starts out with Cissy being annoyed that someone rang her doorbell while she was busy inside her apartment, which really sets the tone for the book and gets the reader acquainted with the real Cissy and how she truly feels about things. Here, we present the best quotes from her book.
I never could stand the smell of marijuana and didn't want to be around it.
On her children and their generosity with the neighborhood kids:
They were sometimes a little too friendly for my taste…Mommy works hard. I don't mind you sharing, but let's not get crazy about this, you know?
On teaching a grade school-aged Whitney, whom she called Nippy, about bullies:
"Sometimes you have to just tell people to kiss your ass and keep on walking." I tried to explain that to her, but she'd just say, "Mommy you don't like anybody."
On being a stage mother:
Nippy thought I was hard on her, too, but really it was just that I wouldn't let her relax and get lazy. "You gotta represent!"
Nippy loved Japan, even though she couldn't understand what anybody was saying and they couldn't understand her.
On Whitney pretending to be from the projects:
Trying to be like the other girls in East Orange, she started bragging about being from the projects, or "the bricks"-a habit that drove me crazy, especially since John and I had fought so hard to give our kids a solid middle-class upbringing.
"What bricks?" I'd snap. "You ain't never lived in no damn projects! You ain't from no bricks. You're gonna get a brick upside your head."
I grew up in a time when young people would drink liquor if they wanted to get high.
On Robyn Crawford, Whitney's lifelong friend:
I had a bad feeling about that child from the first time I saw her. There was something about the way she carried herself, a kind of arrogance, that I didn't like. Though she was a pretty girl, in my opinion Robyn wasn't as bright as Nippy. She also seemed abrasive and unapologetic about that…As I would later learn, she was also gay, although that had nothing to do with why I didn't like her.
On whether or not Robyn and Whitney were lovers, as they were rumored to be:
I knew I didn't want Robyn around my daughter, and I told Nippy that. There wasn't much I could do, though. Nippy liked Robyn, and she was past the age when I could forbid her from seeing someone. Kids have a mind of their own-when they get older, they want to experiment with all kinds of things. I know there has been a lot of speculation over the years about the friendship between Nippy and Robyn and whether it was more than that. I don't honestly know what exactly when on between them, back when they first met or later on. Nippy never shared details of her personal life with me about things like that, but I do know that NIppy and Robyn cared a lot about each other.
On the bullshit rumor that Aretha Franklin was Whitney's godmother:
I would tease Ree about supposedly being Nippy's godmother-a story that started years before, when I was touring with her and she came over to our house on Dodd Street. Nippy was so impressed with Aretha that she started telling all her friends she was her godmother and the story stuck because Ree never denied it. Eventually, reporters picked it up and everybody assumed it was true. And Nippy never did stop telling people that.
Speaking to Whitney's first stylist:
"You can put all that crap right back…I don't know who you got that for, but Whitney is not wearing it. She is not shaking no butt, showing no skin, nothing like that."
On Whitney grinding her teeth:
I can't get any sleep with that noise!
On Bobby Brown:
Supposedly he even got shot once at a block party, which didn't impress me very much.
On her ex-husband remarrying:
Now, John was a Virgo, so he wasn't above trying to hurt people.
On "I Will Always Love You" being called Whitney's best song:
Well, I didn't know about that. Nippy's rendition of "Greatest Love of All" was one of the most beautiful songs she ever recorded, as far as I was concerned, and it had become her signature song.
On "Humpin' Around":
Now, I knew Bobby had some success as a singer. I knew his group New Edition was popular, and that kids seemed to think he was cool. But I really didn't care for his music. And I especially didn't understand the appeal of his big hit song at the time, something called 'Humpin' Around.' It may have been successful, but I couldn't stand that song or the video he made to promote it, where he was dancing and fooling around with a bunch of women on camera.
On Bobbi Kristina's birth:
They Named her Bobbi Kristina-which wasa a hell of a lot better than what they'd initially chosen for her. A few days earlier, when I had asked Bobby and Nippy what they were naming the baby, Bobby said some kind of crazy name I couldn't even pronounce-Tekatia, or Takeka, or some mess like that.
"Oh no, That is not happening. You can't do that to that poor child! Just name her Christina or something, some nice name like that."
On Nelson Mandela:
I'll tell you something, Nelson Mandela is an impressive man.
On Whitney's infamous "Crack is Wack" Diane Sawyer interview:
I hated that whole interview, and while I know it wasn't Diane's fault, it was obvious that Nippy wasn't ready for prime time, you know?
On Being Bobby Brown:
I only watched part of one episode. That was all I could stand…She was such a mess.
On the mess in Whitney's Atlanta mansion, the day Cissy showed up with two sheriff's deputies to take her to rehab:
Somebody had been spray-painting the walls and doors, painting big glaring eyes and strange faces. They were evil eyes, staring out like a threat. Who would do such a thing? It just seemed crazy, having these strange images painted right on the walls all through the house.