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05th Jul 2018

WHITNEY Director says Kanye West using “drug den” photo was deliberately provocative

Will Lavin

Kanye West never seems to be too far away from controversy

One of the rapper’s most recent stunts saw him purchase Whitney Houston’s infamous “drug den” photograph for $85,000 and then proceed to use it as the artwork for Pusha T’s DAYTONA album, which West produced.

Aside from having some choice words for Kanye, Houston’s cousin, music producer Damon Elliott, told RadarOnline: “He’s hurting us by using this painful photograph of Whitney when she was not in her best state. She’s family, this isn’t a publicity stunt.”

Refusing to apologise for his actions, according to a source close to Kanye the rapper wants Whitney’s people to “kill all that noise and stop talking and saying they’re disappointed in him… he wasn’t trying to disrespect Whitney.”

Whitney’s former husband, Bobby Brown, also had a few things to say about Ye’s use of the image, which included him voicing his desire to slap the rapper.

“Why would he post that on his album cover? That’s really disgusting that he would do that,” Brown told Rolling Stone.

“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.”

A new Whitney Houston documentary, the first ever to be supported by the estate of the late entertainer, is due for release July 6th. Titled WHITNEY, it’s an intimate, definitive account of the superstar’s life and career, authored by renowned Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald (Marley, Touching the Void, The Last King of Scotland).

Including previously unreleased recordings, rare never-before-seen footage and live performances recorded by Houston at various stages of her life, it also features original studio recordings and acapellas of some of the late singer’s greatest hits.

Because the filmmakers had access to vast archives of the Houston estate, the film also contains personal home movie footage that has never been seen publicly before, offering a rare glimpse of Houston’s life behind-the-scenes as known only to her closest relatives, friends and collaborators.

We spoke to MacDonald about Kanye’s use of the image and while he admits that it was a little much, he too used it in his film so couldn’t really chastise the rapper for his actions, although he did add that there was context surrounding his use of it.

“To use it on an album cover it’s kind of deliberately provocative. It’s kind of in bad taste,” he began. “But I’ve used it in the film obviously in context and it’s part of a bigger story, part of an explanation.

“But I think what’s interesting about it is that it’s an iconic and incredibly dark image which speaks to particularly African Americans really, really strongly.”

Watch the rest of what MacDonald had to say below:

WHITNEY is in cinemas July 6th 2018. For more information visit the official website here.