It’s been over four years now since we lost one of the world’s best musical artists, Whitney Houston, and those influenced by her work have clearly never forgotten. One such person is singer-songwriter and actress Beyoncé Knowles, who cites Houston as the person who “inspired [her] to get up there and do what she did.” And now the signer has gone the extra mile in showcasing her appreciation for Whitney Houston, performing one of her songs in a very unlikely place.
Beyoncé was on hand, and on stage, at the Center for Early Education’s 75th Anniversary Gala, a fundraiser event for the school that took place on Saturday, March 5 in L.A. The crowd is believed to have been mostly parents there for the sake of their children, which Beyoncé can surely understand, being the mother of four-year-old Blue Ivy Carter with father Shawn Corey Carter, better known as rapper and entrepreneur Jay Z. That being said, there are conflicting reports surrounding whether the celebrity couple’s daughter actually attends the Center for Early Education.
But either way, what a performance! Beyoncé played a set of her songs based around the theme of love, including hits like “XO” and “Crazy in Love,” all complete with backup dancers—remember, this is a school fundraiser, not a full concert! But the real standout performance was of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” a song originally written and sung by Dolly Parton in 1973 (she also made a country version a year later) but best known for the version sung by Houston for the 1992 film The Bodyguard.
Regardless of the version, it’s clear that Beyoncé absolutely killed it with her rendition. Recordings surfaced of her performance of the song—said to be one of the more difficult Whitney Houston songs to emulate—and the crowd’s reaction is nothing but ecstatic, with pictures showing what seems to be almost everyone recording with their phones so they could watch it again later. The artist even took it a step further by asking for crowd participation; interestingly enough, the children’s voices stood out more than those of their parents, despite both Dolly Parton’s and Whitney Houston’s versions of the song coming out long before any of them were born.
It should be noted, however, that this isn’t the first time Beyoncé has performed “I Will Always Love You” before a live audience. Back in 2013, at a concert honoring late actor Paul Walker following his death in November of that year, she sang the song in tribute, though she combined it with her song “Halo,” making this the first time she has sung the classic song in its “original” form.
In other recent but less positive Beyoncé news, rumors have begun surfacing (once again) that her and Jay Z are on the path to divorce. This time, the speculation stems from the two spending less time together at home, one source even saying that they now don’t even sleep in the same room, let alone the same bed. In addition, Beyoncé reportedly had too much to drink two weeks ago at friend and former Destiny’s Child member Kelly Rowland’s birthday party and brought attention to the fact that she’d removed her wedding ring, saying it would be one of the last times anyone would see it on her.
Despite these supposed issues, the two were seen together when Beyoncé Knowles went to watch a performance by her protege, Sophie Beem. However, in all the pictures of the two together, Jay Z doesn’t look very pleased to be there, though the reason why can only be speculated; he may simply be upset with the paparazzi. Only time will tell if this celebrity couple still has a future together.