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Al Roker's Exclusive Interview With Aretha Franklin About Whitney Houston and Her Legacy Airs on "Dateline" Tonight at 10P/9C
Viewers will also see exclusive footage of Houston at the Whitney E. Houston Academy of Creative and Performing Arts in 1997 when the school was named in her honor.

[via press release from NBC]


February 17, 2012 - New York, NY - On the eve of Whitney Houston's funeral, more of Al Roker's "Today" interview with Aretha Franklin, will air on "Dateline" at 10p/9c. Performing at Houston's memorial tomorrow, Franklin talks to Roker exclusively about when she first met Houston, who she affectionately called Nippy, where she was when she found out that the legendary singer had passed and what she believes Houston's legacy will be. Viewers will also see exclusive footage of Houston at the Whitney E. Houston Academy of Creative and Performing Arts in 1997 when the school was named in her honor.

And after the interview, Natalie Morales will report on Hollywood TV producer Bruce Beresford-Redman and his wife Monica who were vacationing with their family at a luxury resort in Cancun Mexico in April 2010. But when Monica was later found dead on the hotel property, Mexican investigators now had a murder mystery on their hands...and a primary suspect, her husband.

Sound bites from Roker's interview follow. If used, must include mandatory credit with airdate, Dateline, Friday, February 17, 2012:

AL ROKER: Did you ever have any idea that this little girl would become this?

ARETHA FRANKLIN: Who knew? Who knew? No one could forecast the monumental success she had. No one knew how big she would blow up.


AL ROKER: We've all read about Whitney's struggles. And, you know, through the years, did she ever talk to you about that - look for some sort of guidance or counseling?

ARETHA FRANKLIN: No, but early on, I let her know that if she needed any advice and if she needed to talk about anything, she could always call me.


ARETHA FRANKLIN: She had a number of difficult evenings in Europe. I watched that online myself.

AL ROKER: And when you watched it, what did you think?

ARETHA FRANKLIN: I didn't like what I saw happening. The audience was -- they were very rude. Oh, I'm sure that she was totally devastated by the time it was over. She had to be totally devastated. You know, when you're a singer and you can't sing what it is you want to sing. You know, when you can't give the audience what you want to give, it's very disheartening.


AL ROKER: Do you think about what her legacy is going to be? I mean, here this collection of just unbelievable songs...

ARETHA FRANKLIN: Yeah certainly her body of work is going to go on for generations to come. From generation to generation, that definitely would be her legacy. Yeah.

AL ROKER: But you know, again, there's -- this ending. Do you think that tarnishes it at all? Or takes away from it?

ARETHA FRANKLIN: No, I don't. I don't think that we should focus on the challenges that she had. Because in some way, we all have challenges, from time to time. I don't think we should focus on that. Look at the character of the person and the character of the woman. And think about the hits and forget the misses.


David Corvo is the senior executive producer and Liz Cole is the executive producer of "Dateline" (Fridays at 10p/9c and Sundays at 7p/6c). Follow "Dateline" on Facebook and Twitter @datelinenbc.

  [february 2012]  


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