NEW YORK (AP) — Aretha Franklin says Cissy Houston raised her daughter Whitney Houston well — and that an interview where Franklin said parents need to make sure children "leave home prepared" was taken out of context.
Franklin released a statement Wednesday, four days after Houston's funeral. She was expected to sing at the funeral in Newark, N.J., Houston's hometown, but bowed out because of leg spasms she said she suffered after a concert at Radio City Music Hall the night before. She performed again at Radio City the night of Houston's funeral, and paid tribute to Houston as "a very fine young lady."
In an interview about Houston on NBC's "Today" show last week, Al Roker asked Franklin about Houston's superstardom.
Franklin said: "I think parents have to really talk to their children before they leave home ... (that they) leave home prepared, really. She left home with all the right things."
After Franklin didn't attend the funeral, there were some reports that Houston's mother was upset over Franklin's comments and that Franklin was uninvited, a charge Franklin denies.
"Cissy Houston and I have been longtime friends for almost 50 years. I have four invitations and parking passes that were sent to me for the funeral," Franklin said. "Cissy does not need ridiculous speculation and neither do I — particularly at this time."
Franklin also said her full statement — "This is no reflection on Cissy or Nippy's upbringing," using a nickname for Houston — wasn't aired (a request for comment wasn't immediately returned by the "Today" show).
"Knowing Cissy as well as I do, I know Whitney left home right and properly. I was generalizing and it was a well-intended statement for any young adult coming into the music industry," she said. "I was not speaking of anyone specifically. "
Houston had fought substance abuse for years. She was found dead in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Feb. 11, the day before the Grammy Awards. A cause of death has yet to be determined.
Nekesa Mumbi Moody is the AP's music editor. Follow her at http://www.twitter.com/nekesamumbi