“CBS’s WHITNEY HOUSTON TRIBUTE was too short. Needed at least another hour. Ended too soon… Been reflecting on my time with Whitney from the beginning of her career on through her heydays. During an interview at Newark City Hall in April 1985, at 23 Whitney was modest, gracious and well mannered; there was no evidence of an inflated sense of self-worth. “There have been those who have told me, ‘Oh, you’re wonderful. You’re fabulous,’” she said. “But I don’t need that because I know that most of it means nothing. My mother always told me: ‘You want pride, not ego. Ego gets you trapped into thinking you’re bigger than anybody else, but you can’t get any bigger than Him, so just drop your ego.’” Because she was still a youngster herself, Whitney emphasized that she didn’t have all the answers, but she expressed concern for teen pregnancy and the young people involved in crime and drugs. “Before you get into something, know what the consequences are,” she advised other young people. “Take your time. You’re young and you’re supposed to be having fun. But set your goals. Don’t just do what everybody else is going. I never wanted to be like anybody else. I always wanted to be an individual. I always wanted to have a unique perspective.” She said that young people should take advice from Linda Creed’s lyrics for Whitney’s favorite song, “The Greatest Love of All,” which she said is a message to young people. “I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadow,” she said, reciting the lyrics with conviction. “If I fall, if I succeed, at least I live as I believe. No matter what they take from me, they’ll never take away my dignity—because the greatest love of all is happening to me. “Our young people need to hear that and realize that it is about loving yourself,” she explained. “If you can love yourself through all your rights and wrongs and faults, then that’s the greatest love of all. That’s the message.” I left Newark City Hall that day feeling inspired. I’d had a revealing interview with this talent on the rise, but I also felt good about the dynamic young woman with the golden voice who seemed to have it all figured out.