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Posted at 12:37 AM ET, 03/12/2012

Oprah Winfrey speaks to Bobbi Kristina Brown about the death of Whitney Houston


Oprah Winfrey and Bobbi Kristina Brown embrace during “Oprah’s Next Chapter.” (AP/Harpo Inc.)

Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late Whitney Houston, spoke publicly for the first time about her mother’s death during Sunday’s episode of “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” that program on Oprah’s OWN network that you probably never watched until last night’s Whitney Houston episode.

As the photograph above indicates, the interview definitely involved some hugging. But even though this was an Oprah Winfrey production, the Bobbi Kristina portion of show — which focused largely on a sitdown between Winfrey and Patricia Houston, the singer’s sister-in-law and manager — didn’t deliver any major revelations. Bobbi Kristina didn’t shed any tears, nor did she ever come close to losing her composure.

Winfrey asked her generally easy questions, and she handled them in a way that suggests she’s coping well with her mother’s death.

“I’ve got to keep going,” Brown, 18, said at one point while trying to describe how she’s handled the days since her mom’s memorial service.


(AP/Harpo, Inc.)

“I can sing her music, but I can’t hear it right now,” she said. “I can’t. I can hear her voice and spirit talking to me and telling me, ‘Keep movin’, baby. I’m right here. I got you.’ ”

Winfrey didn’t ask her more probing questions about her hospital stay shortly after her mother’s passing, or about her current relationship with her father, Bobby Brown. The talk show host treated her gently, perhaps because Pat Houston was the one who had been appointed to answer the really hard stuff.

The diva’s sister-in-law, who also is the executor of her estate, had to recount the moments when Houston’s body was discovered at the Beverly Hilton (“I heard screams and I saw the hair stylist drop to her knees”), the expression on Houston’s face after she died (“She had a peaceful look”) and whether Houston was still struggling with drugs in the days before her death (Pat Houston denied that). There were definitely tears during this section (yes, Winfrey was also crying), and at least one very gratuitous long pause.

Sneak Preview: Oprah Interviews Whitney Houston's Family

During the final part of the episode, Pat and her husband Gary — Houston’s brother — denied the rumors that Bobby Brown was not welcome at Whitney Houston’s memorial service. And they also expressed their frustration about that leaked funeral home photo of Houston, although they didn’t seem terribly incensed about the episode.

So overall, this 90-minute special taught us that Bobbi Kristina, at least within the context of this carefully orchestrated interview, seems to be a strong, poised young woman; that Oprah was one of the first people to refer to Whitney Houston as The Voice (she reminded us of this on two occasions); and that next week, Oprah will focus “Oprah’s Next Chapter” on an interview with Lady Gaga. Odds seem good that Winfrey will ask her about Whitney Houston.

By  |  12:37 AM ET, 03/12/2012

Tags:  Whitney Houston

 
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