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Cissy Houston
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    (September 30, 1933- )
    Born in Newark, New Jersey
    Birth name was Emily Drinkard
    Gospel and soul singer
    Member of the Drinkard Singers (1938-63) and Sweet Inspirations (1963-69)
    Recorded the solo albums 'Presenting Cissy Houston' (1970), 'Cissy Houston' (1976), 'Think It Over' (1977), 'Step Aside for a Lady' (1980), 'Face to Face' (1996), 'He Leadeth Me' (1997) and 'Love Is Holding You' (2001)
    Aunt of Dionne Warwick
    Mother of Whitney Houston
    She began singing in the family gospel group at age five.
    She was married and divorced twice.
    Elvis Presley nicknamed her 'Squirrelly.'
    She jumped on the disco bandwagon in the late 70s.
    When Whitney's assistant Robyn Crawford slapped Whitney during an argument, Cissy responded by slugging Crawford in the jaw while yelling, 'I'll kill you, you stupid-ass bitch!'
    When she was eight, her mother died and she and her siblings were raised by an aunt.
    She has been a backing singer for many of the biggest names in music, including Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, Van Morrison, Otis Redding, David Bowie, Linda Ronstadt, Bette Midler, Carly Simon, Paul Simon, Chaka Khan, Diana Ross and Luther Vandross.
    She won a pair of Grammy Awards for Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album.
    She refused to let Whitney sign a recording contract until after she graduated high school.
    She tried (albiet without success) to warn Whitney that Bobby Brown was a negative influence.

Credit: C. Fishel

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