The family of Whitney Houston is trying to milk every last drop of her legacy. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Houston is about to embark on her first tour since dying eight years ago—as a hologram.
The concert tour that nobody asked for will kick off on in England on February 25 and run through April.
Pat Houston, Whitney’s sister-in-law, is spearheading this debacle. As her former manager and executor of her estate, Pat likely couldn’t pass up the chance to squeeze her likeness for all it’s worth.
According to the New York Times, Pat said,
It’s been quite emotional for the past seven years. But now it’s about being strategic.
If by “strategic” you mean “rich,” then yes, it is time.
Last year, Pat signed a deal with Primary Wave Music Publishing, allowing them to exploit Houston’s name and likeness. The exploitation is taking full effect with this tour.
Pat’s husband, and Whitney’s brother, Gary, will be getting in on the action by singing backup to the hologram.
The dead artist-turned-hologram craze started in 2012 when Tupac was “revived” at Coachella. His old friends Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg introduced the fallen rapper to clamoring fans.
Sure, Californians were jazzed to see one of their icons for a night, but a full-blown hologram tour? Nobody wants that. This was just a one-off show, and it still got mixed reviews.
Any fan in their right mind would stay home and watch him on YouTube for free. But what if the fans really want this, you ask? Well, my friends, then art is dead.
If people are actually excited to pay money to watch a video game version of Whitney Houston, then who knows what’s next.
Maybe living artists will start sending their holograms on tour. Maybe Kevin Hart will Skype his next tour from home. God forbid, maybe people will start going to basketball games where Kobe Bryant is playing Wilt Chamberlain.
Have we completely forgotten what it means to be a performer?
Part of the magic of performance is seeing the artist execute their vision, live in the flesh. When a performer dies, their magic lives on through their recordings and our memories. Eventually, that fades too, and someone else fills in the space.
The next Whitney Houston should not have to compete with CGI Whitney Houston. After all, it’s not like Whitney was competing with video game Billie Holiday. Let’s move on and let our icons move on as well.
I know we don’t have any concrete evidence that any part of us continues after we die. But what if Whitney Houston is somewhere out there, in the ether, just trying to rest? Will she have to watch some fake knock-off version of herself belting out tunes?
Will she have to clock back in and witness this entire tour? One writer went so far as to call these holograms “ghost slavery.”
That title is apt, considering Houston likely never consented to this type of exploitation, and she can’t get paid for it.
In the same New York Times article referenced earlier, Whitney Houston didn’t want her name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame because she didn’t want people “walking on her name.”
Unfortunately, her family is showing us that you can get walked on even if you’re not in Hollywood.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.
This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.
Last modified: February 20, 2020 12:39 AM UTC