The mood at Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy party turned from celebratory to somber after Whitney Houston’s tragic passing. Celebrities gathered at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills—the same hotel where the singer was found dead hours earlier—for the annual affair. While there were initial reports that the party had been canceled, it went on as planned, with Houston’s colleagues pouring out to celebrate the life of the 48-year-old legend.
Whitney’s longtime mentor and close friend Clive Davis took the stage to share a few words and take a moment of silence. “By now, sadly, you’ve all learned of the unspeakably tragic news of our beloved Whitney’s passing,” he said. “I don’t have to mask my emotions, not in front of this room full of so many dear friends. I do have a very heavy heart and I am personally devastated by the loss of someone who has meant so much to me after so many years.”
He continued, “Whitney was a beautiful person and she had a talent beyond compare. She graced this stage with her regal presence so many times, giving so many memorable performances here over the years. So simply put, Whitney would have wanted the music to go on and her family asked that we carry on.”
Some of the voices she inspired including Alicia Keys paid tribute to Houston during their performances. “It’s incredible—from being a little girl growing up watching this beautiful, incredible woman, who was a girl at the time too. I’m talking about Whitney, ya’ll. And I’d be like, ‘Ohhh, I wanna dance with somebody.'”
Other performers included Diana Ross, Jessie J, Marsha Ambrosius, Tony Bennett, Pitbull with Ne-Yo, and Wiz Khalifa with Miguel (“Young, Wild & Free”). Brandy and Monica, who were originally scheduled to duet, did not perform.