Family members of the late Whitney Houston are “hurt” after Kanye West used a photo showing the iconic singer’s bathroom filled with drugs on a new album cover, her cousin said.
Damon Elliott slammed West after it was revealed he spent $85,000 for the photo, which he used as the artwork for Pusha T’s latest album, which he produced.
“To do something for a publicity stunt to sell records, it’s absolutely disgusting,” Elliott told People. “It hurt my family and my daughter. It’s petty. It’s tacky.”
The bathroom photo was initially published in 2006 by the National Enquirer. The story that accompanied it featured Houston’s sister-in-law, Tina Brown, claiming Houston “won’t stay off drugs.”
Houston died in 2012 in an accidental drowning in the bathtub of her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Cocaine use was later listed by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office as a factor in her death. Additional drugs were also detected in her system in a toxicology report.
Elliott says his daughter is the one who informed him West was using the bathroom photo.
“(She was) frantic,” he told People. “She sent me this picture from the album cover and I immediately got sick to my stomach because it took me right back to six years ago.”
Pusha T revealed last week that West had gone to great measures to obtain the rights to the bathroom photo for the album, which is titled “Daytona.”
The rapper said in an interview with Power 105.1 host Angie Martinez that they’d already decided on other pictures when West said he wanted to spend the $85,000 for the photo of Houston’s Atlanta bathroom.
“I said, ‘Hey, I don’t want to pay for that,'” Pusha recalled. “(West said) ‘No, this is what people need to see to go along with this music. I’mma pay for that.'”
It’s unclear, however, who he paid to use the picture.