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Aretha Franklin has a clear message to send about the media speculation concerning why she missed Whitney Houston's funeral: "Stop the B.S."
The Queen of Soul, who was expected to perform at Houston's Feb. 18 funeral in Newark, N.J., had already explained that an unforeseen health issue had kept her from paying her respects. But when Franklin still managed to headline a Radio City Music Hall concert that same night, speculation continued about whether she and Houston's family had fallen out over comments she made.
Some outlets specifically suggested that the late singer's mother, Cissy Houston, was upset with her old friend Aretha because of a Today interview in which Franklin implied that Whitney turned to drugs because she couldn't withstand the pressures of fame.
But Franklin, 69, says the gossip about an alleged rift between her and Houston's family is just plain wrong.
"Extra TV, the New York Post and Newsday (New York) should stop the BS," Franklin said in a statement. "Cissy Houston and I have been longtime friends for almost 50 years."
She continued: "Cissy does not need ridiculous speculation and neither do I -- particularly at this time. Also, with respect to the Today Show, my entire statement was pretaped. However, the Today Show did not air the part of my statement, which said, 'This is no reflection on Cissy or Nippy's upbringing.' Knowing Cissy as well as I do, I know Whitney left home right and properly. I was generalizing and it was a well intended statement for any young adult coming into the music industry. I was not speaking of anyone specifically."
On the day of the funeral, Franklin's explanation for not traveling across the Holland Tunnel to New Jersey was due to leg spasms.
"Unfortunately I had terrible leg spasms and locked leg muscles until 4:00 a.m. this morning following my concert last night, which I've been having for the last few days," she said. "I feel it necessary and very important to stay off my leg today as much as possible until concert time this evening."