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Dolly Parton: 'This Is the House That Whitney Built'

She invested profit from I Will Always Love You cover in Black neighborhood in Nashville
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2021 2:13 PM CDT
Dolly Parton: 'This Is the House That Whitney Built'
File photo of Whitney Houston performing in 2004.   (AP Photo/Eric Jamison, file)

(Newser) – When Whitney Houston sang—and, in a way, reinvented—Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You, Parton made a lot of money. And that money got reinvested in the Black community. Houston recorded her cover for The Bodyguard in 1992, and it was a bigger hit for her than for Parton. But Parton made millions from the royalties, which she invested in a building in a historically Black neighborhood in Nashville, the Washington Post reports. Parton revealed the move this week during an interview with Bravo's Andy Cohen. David Ewing, a historian in Nashville, told the Post that Parton put the neighborhood on the map. “We’re just hearing now, because of the Black Lives Matter movement, how down for the cause Dolly has always been,” he said.

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Parton loved Houston’s version of I Will Always Love You. She told Oprah Winfrey in 2020 that she first heard the song while driving. “I was shot so full of adrenaline and energy, I had to pull off, because I was afraid that I would wreck, so I pulled over quick as I could to listen to that whole song,” she said. Parton felt that investing in the Sevier Park neighborhood of Nashville honored Houston, NPR reports. "It was mostly just Black families and people that lived around there," Parton told Cohen. "It was a whole strip mall. And I thought, 'This is the perfect place for me to be, considering it was Whitney.'" She added: “This is the house that Whitney built." (Parton also helped fund coronavirus vaccine research.)

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