While never one to shy away from controversy, hip hop mega star Kanye West nonetheless courts it with almost everything he does these days, from political opinions delivered via Twitter to, now, using a controversial photo as the cover for an album he produced for fellow artist Pusha T, “Daytona.”
The photo, which originally appeared in the National Enquirer back in 2006, shows a bathroom in a state of disarray, to put it mildly, and allegedly depicts the late singer Whitney Houston’s drug habits and the chaos that caused in her life. Reportedly licensed to the tabloid by a family member of Houston’s, the 2006 photo was later made even more tragic by the singer’s untimely death from a drug overdose in 2012 while she was staying in a hotel room.
Approved by Pusha T, the only qualm the rap star apparently had with Kanye’s choice for his album cover was the licensing fee attached to the pic – $USD 85,000, a price readily paid by Kanye West himself so it could be the cover for “Daytona.”
Needless to say, the reaction on the Internet was pretty swift.
Some people have called the photo’s use tasteless, including Whitney Houston’s former husband, singer Bobby Brown, who, in an interview with Rolling Stone, said of the photo’s use: “That’s really disgusting that he would do that. That’s in really bad taste. Something should happen to Kanye. He’s already crazy. I knew that when I first met him. Now he’s pushing the bar a little bit. He needs somebody to slap him up or something. And I’m just the person to do it.”
Others have pointed out that Whitney Houston’s and Bobby Brown’s daughter would later follow her mother’s tragic death in an eerily similar manner, making the photo’s usage a reminder of multiple tragedies that have befallen the family.
The Whitney Houston estate told Entertainment Tonight, “[We are] extremely disappointed in Kanye’s choice…Even in Whitney’s death, we see that no one is exempt from the harsh realities of the world.”