Kanye West earned himself another wave of backlash last week when collaborator Pusha T revealed the album cover for his latest project, DAYTONA, which happened to be a photo of the late Whitney Houston's bathroom.
The image was reportedly secretly taken by one of Houston's family members and depicts drug paraphernalia strew around Houston's bathroom. The photo was published by the National Enquirer in 2006.
West revealed the artwork on Twitter on May 24, instantly prompting outraged responses from his followers, who slammed him for disrespecting Houston.
album 1 PUSHA T DAYTONA dropping 2mrw pic.twitter.com/M1UPvax5fa— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) May 24, 2018
Amid the drama, Houston's nephew has defended West's use of the image, telling Good Morning America in a statement on Saturday that angry fans should be upset with the family member who originally took the photo rather than West.
“Not to be divisive, but I’m of a different mindset when it comes to situations like this," said Gary Michael Houston, the 31-year-old son of Houston's older brother Michael. "People will automatically look to people like Pusha T and Kanye West and try to place blame or say they have ill or malicious intent in order to gain publicity. But I get it. I get the correlation (sans my aunt but the photo itself), and I actually love the album.”
“Bottom line — they are artists and in this day and age, if they can afford to pay someone for
In an interview with New York’s Power 105, Pusha T explained that West, DAYTONA's producer, had spent $85,000 for the rights to use the photo as album art.
Gary Michael Houston added in his statement that “the bigger issue is deeper and one that most people (including folks who claim to be so heartbroken and traumatized by the usage of the photo) choose to conveniently ignore and bypass.”
“The person who violated the trust of my aunt by taking the photo and selling it to tabloids for their own personal and/or financial gain is more of a travesty to me,” he said. “People should research that — because whoever exposed it are the people who violated her trust, mistreated her, and who should ultimately be held accountable for contributing to circumstances surrounding her demise.”
Houston passed away after accidentally drowning in a bathtub in 2012.
The late singer's cousin Damon Elliott told People that as soon as he found out about the photo, “I immediately got sick to my stomach because it took me right back to six years ago.”
“I was actually in shock because I’m in the music business,” he added. “I’ve watched the train wreck happening, but I didn’t think he’d go this far in invading someone’s family privacy.”
“To do something for a publicity stunt to sell records, it’s absolutely disgusting,” Elliot continued. “It hurt my family and my daughter. It’s petty. It’s tacky.”
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