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Barbra and Whitney

August 27, 1994

Regarding Chris Willman's review of Whitney Houston's concert ("Houston Finds Voice by Getting Personal," Aug. 23):

I did not see Whitney Houston's concert, but I was one of the fortunate few at the Pond of Anaheim July 20 for the Barbra Streisand concert, where there were people in the audience ranging in age from 4 to 80-plus years old.

Willman states, "even Streisand would have a hard time meeting her potential if she were 31 and forced to conform to the expectations of 1994."

In November, 1973, when Barbra was 31, she made the television special "Barbra . . . and Other Musical Instruments." Here she sang songs like "I Got Rhythm" with an assortment of African instruments (at least 10 years before Paul Simon's hit album "Graceland"). Rather than "conforming" to the musical trends of that period, she did not sell out to rock 'n' roll just to be "hip." It just wasn't her style. She still managed to "meet her potential" and win over millions of fans and admirers worldwide, by being different, and she continues to do so to this day.

The only "expectations" Barbra has ever conformed to are her own expectations of excellence, class and the pursuit of artistic expression. She has built a career around not conforming to anybody's "expectations"!

There are very few women in show business who do not owe a debt of gratitude to Streisand (including Houston) for blazing a trail and making it a little easier to follow their artistic hearts, regardless of the "expectations" put upon them or the obstacles put before them.


Sherman Oaks

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