Donnie Simpson on Whitney Houston, Trust and Faith
In several interviews and during BET's coverage of Whitney Houston's funeral, I mentioned that years ago I was presented with a special platinum record for being the first in the world to play Whitney.
In several interviews and during BET’s coverage of Whitney Houston’s funeral, I mentioned that years ago I was presented with a special platinum record for being the first in the world to play Whitney. Of course, then everyone wanted to see it, but I didn’t know what had happened to it. It used to hang on the wall outside my office at my old radio station, WKYS. I hadn’t seen it in at least 20 years though and I always wondered what became of it.Well, when I got on Facebook two weeks ago, the first thing I saw that morning blew me away. One of my Facebook friends had actually posted a photo of the platinum record. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. This was the Wednesday after her funeral, so my emotions were still very high and I had thought about that plaque a thousand times, especially after her death, and now here it was staring at me thru my computer.I wrote the guy who posted the photo and asked him if this was a photo from back in the day or did he actually know where this record was. He said he saw it on Paul Porter’s Facebook page and that it was in his possession. Whoa!I hired Paul as a DeeJay many years ago at WKYS and he also worked as a VeeJay for BET later. I wasn’t sure how this record ended up in his hands, but I was certainly going to call him to find out if I could get it back in mine.Well, despite how difficult I thought this call was going to be, Tuesday I made it, albeit two weeks later. He told me that when he left the station the General Manager allowed him to take a couple of things to have as mementoes. The Whitney platinum record was one of them. Then, almost in the same breath, he said “I’ll send it to you.” Wow! I was speechless.I had dreaded this call for 10 days for a number of reasons. I was afraid that he would argue that because it said WKYS on it, it wasn’t mine, or that he was so attached to it now, that he wouldn’t want to part with it. I wondered if I would have to pay him for it or even get lawyers involved. I was willing to do whatever I had to do to get it back. It’s a piece of Whitney that belonged to me and I wanted it home.Two nights before Whitney’s funeral, I just happened to have dinner with the record company executive, Tony Anderson, who actually had it made and presented it to me. He said that after Whitney blew up and sold several million, they did about 200 plaques for stations around the country, but mine was truly one of a kind. It was done when she reached her first million and it was made specifically for me because I was the program director and DeeJay that first showed faith in Whitney and played her first song “You Give Good Love”.With all of this ammunition I had gathered to make this call to Paul, he hits me with “I’ll send it to You.” Oh yeah, I forgot, he actually two-pieced me with “You’ll have it tomorrow.” Double Wow!!Well the platinum record arrived yesterday accompanied by this note:Donnie,Just wanted you to know this disc meant a lot to me. The last piece of my connection to what I think was the Greatest Station in The World WKYS.
While our paths have taken us in different directions, my love and respect for you and your family have never faltered. You were the first man in my proffesional life that gave me a chance to be me.
The memories are powerful from those early years… And today is my Mom’s 85th birthday who I lost last month. Trust me she spoke to me when you called and reminded me not to be selfish.
If you have any WKYS plaque that can fill the now empty space on the wall… The plaque will arrive tomorrow.
May God bless,
In the phone call, Paul told me that his mom was a huge fan of mine and that really meant a lot to me. I hope Paul doesn’t mind me sharing all this with you, but I wanted to show you what a class act he is. I should also tell you that he received an offer for this record, of $10,000, from someone in The U.K. who saw it on line. That says something else about him. He’s crazy. Give me their number. Just kidding.This plaque is priceless to me and while I’m thrilled to have it back, I have to tell you that I’m a little embarrassed. You see, I was training for a fight that hadn’t been scheduled. I’ve learned a lesson because of that though. I assumed the worst. For one who tries to stay positive, it bothers me that I momentarily fell into a field of negativity. Paul and his mom pulled me out though and I will walk more carefully now, trying not to fall into that trap again.Thanks Paul.