Whitney Houston was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Nov. 8, in a touching virtual ceremony in which Alicia Keys honoured the late singer's incredible voice and her impact on modern music.
In a moving speech, Alicia spoke about how Whitney, who was the most awarded female artist of all time, affected her own career.
"Whitney is one of one. There is no one like her, and there never will be," she said. "I remember growing up, listening to her music, and dancing around the house and jumping on my bed, singing her songs into my hairbrush. This golden voice with range and runs and power like none, with a face, a presence, like royalty. She was every little girl's admiration."
The mom of two spoke about meeting her idol for the first time, and the personal connection and friendship she forged with the legend. She shared how Whitney approached her at a GRAMMY Awards party and asked her to write a song for her, which ended up being "Million Dollar Bill." It appeared on I Look to You, which was Whitney's final album.
"We all know what a miraculous singer Whitney was – perhaps the greatest voice of our time," Alicia continued. "We all know how her unprecedented success brought Black women into the absolute highest reaches of the music industry's pantheon. We all know that her music will live forever. That music, that everlasting voice, is her final, generous gift to us. And she will now be one of the brightest lights ever to shine in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
"Congratulations, Meema," she said, using the nickname she and Whitney gave each other during their friendship. "We will miss you."
Gospel singer Cissy Houston, Whitney's mother, filmed a thank-you and acceptance speech of her own with Whitney's sister-in-law, Pat Houston.
"I am so very, very proud hat Whitney's being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame," Cissy Houston said. "She wanted to be something – not anything. She worked hard at it, too."
"This moment right now proves it all," Pat added, "that there's only one matchless Whitney Houston and tonight, she would be very proud and honoured to receive this award.
Former Arista Records head Clive Davis, who signed Whitney when she was just 20 years old, also spoke about why her music and her voice matter so much, as did Jennifer Hudson, who also cited Whitney's incredible impact on her own career.
"Being a little girl, seeing this goddess command the stage with her presence and then voice... [I was] thinking, 'I want to be like that someday.'"
The ceremony also saw '80s synth rockers Depeche Mode, industrial rock pioneer Nine Inch Nails, glam rock legends T. Rex, The Doobie Brothers and late rapper The Notorious B.I.G. inducted.
Iggy Pop inducted NIN, speaking about first meeting Trent Reznor and recognizing his love of funk music.
Jay-Z and Nas helped induct Biggie, whose honour was accepted by his children, C.J. Wallace and T'yanna Wallace.