Before the world knew the mononym of Whitney, she was Nippy from Newark, the youngest of three and a soloist at the junior gospel choir at the New Hope Baptist Church. Whitney was born into Black musical royalty in 1963: Her mother, Cissy Houston, is one of the most legendary backup singers in soul and gospel music; Dionne Warwick is her cousin; and the inimitable Aretha Franklin is her honorary aunt and part of her extended family clan. Whitney’s stupendous vocal range may have been God-given, but Cissy instilled in her a strong sense of melody and phrasing, with the superstar performing her first solo at age 11 in their home church. Beyond the storied family legacy, however, is the deep-rooted community the Houston family had built in north Jersey.