whitney houston’s family offer opposing views on kanye’s controversial album artwork
Kanye spent around $85,000 licensing an image of Whitney’s bathroom, to use as Pusha T’s new album artwork. Controversy, as with most things Kanye does, has ensued.
On Friday, Pusha T’s Kanye West-produced DAYTONA album was released. Nice record, you might have thought. Nice artwork, you may also have mused… but what is it? A tastefully-distressed photograph of a trashed hotel room? A post house party scene? No, it's the Atlanta bathroom of the late Whitney Houston, littered with drug paraphernalia. Bit dark, huh? As with Pusha T’s three previous G.O.O.D Music-released albums, it was Kanye who dreamt up the artwork. On deciding that it needed the controversial image in question, he paid $85,000 to license it.
Taken by an unnamed family member back in 2006 and later sold to and published by the National Enquirer following Whitney’s death in 2012, it’s not clear who Kanye paid for the image rights.
Whitney’s second cousin Damon Elliott has spoken out about the bizarre creative decision. “I didn’t think he’d go this far in invading someone’s family privacy,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “I just want him to tell me why he did it. What is the creative side of this? What’s the point? It shows no creativity.” He went on to tell them that he wants an apology from Kanye, as well as the removal of the album artwork.
Half-answering Damon’s question, Pusha T told EW that the “cover represents an organised chaos”. Adding that, “the energy of the album is a bit chaotic, but it’s all in place”. Sounds like a bit of a stretch, but we see where he’s going with it.
In a new turn of events, Whitney’s nephew, Gary Michael Houston, has pointed out that the person to blame is whoever sold Kanye rights to the image in the first place. “People will automatically look to people like Pusha T and Kanye West and try to place blame or say they have ill or malicious intent in order to gain publicity. But I get it. I get the correlation (sans my aunt but the photo itself), and I actually love the album,” he told Good Morning America. “The person who violated the trust of my aunt by taking the photo and selling it to tabloids for their own personal and/or financial gain is more of a travesty to me.”
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.