Whitney Houston Is First Black Artist to Earn Third RIAA Diamond Album

Whitney Houston has become the first Black artist to have three diamond-certified albums.

On Wednesday, on Oct. 28, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Legacy Recordings announced that Houston’s 1987 sophomore album, “Whitney,” had achieved diamond status, which corresponds to selling 10 million albums, according to USA Today. Houston’s other diamond successes include her self-titled 13 million-selling 1985 debut album and the 18 million-selling 1992 “The Bodyguard” soundtrack.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA : SEPTEMBER 15: Whitney Houston performs on stage at the 2004 World Music Awards at the Thomas & Mack Centre on September 15, 2004 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jo Hale/Getty Images)

Among the chart-topping hits on the “Whitney” album were “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me),” “Didn’t We Almost Have It All,” “So Emotional” and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go.”

With nine diamond-certified albums, Garth Brooks has attained the most of any artist. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Shania Twain and the Eagles all have three or more albums that have diamond status.

Albums and singles that become 10 times platinum receive diamond plaques from The RIAA. It used to be equal to selling 10 million songs or albums, but since 2016, the RIAA has started bringing in streaming from YouTube, Spotify and other digital music services.

In an industry dominated by streaming, Houston struck another record on two days earlier, with “I Will Always Love You” reaching 1 billion views on YouTube. The 1992 hit was originally penned by Dolly Parton in 1973. It became the first song by a 1990s solo artist to join YouTube’s “billion views club,” reported Billboard. Other songs with that designation come from groups like Guns N’ Roses’ “November Rain,” Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and The Cranberries’ “Zombie.”

Billboard reports that Sony Pictures also has a biopic of the late singer in the works called “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” Anthony McCarten, screenwriter for Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” has been tapped for the screenplay, and Stella Meghie, who oversaw the Issa Rae film “The Photograph,” will direct. The film is set for a Thanksgiving 2022 release.

On Nov. 7, Houston will be posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 2020 class. She passed away on Feb. 2, 2012, at the age of 48.

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