“A Song For You” by Robyn Crawford is an honest memoir about the friend of pop superstar Whitney Houston who felt like she had to be quiet in the past out of respect and privacy, but she decides her side of the story is valuable.
Robyn tells her story. There has been backlash about Robyn, who became a backdropped friend of Whitney, due to the media overemphasizing their alleged romantic ties to Whitney’s family publicly showing disdain for Robyn and her relationship with Whitney. With Whitney being gone now seven years, it may seem like poor taste that Robyn wrote a book on her friendship with Whitney, but it’s more about her years working in Whitney’s camp, trying to protect her friend at every corner, but also losing herself in someone else’s dream and rediscovering her purpose.
The story starts with how Robyn meets Whitney at summer camp in New Jersey. She says Whitney introduces herself as a singer and is already a teen model. They begin to hang out a lot as Whitney soon becomes discovered as a singer, signing with Clive Davis at Arista Records. Robyn, who’s a college basketball standout, is thrust into the music industry, but the rumors of her and Whitney having a romance start early. Years go by as Robyn stays beside Whitney to make sure her business interests are met, but at home her brother and mother are diagnosed with AIDS while her sister is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Robyn describes her interactions with Whitney’s husband Bobby Brown and other family members as unpleasant. Whitney’s marriage and drug addiction soon builds a rift between Whitney and Robyn, and in 1999 Robyn leaves Arista and the music industry behind. How Robyn’s life unfolds as she tries to find what she wants to do and what makes her happy as she approaches forty is intriguing.
Overall, as a memoir of a person who is known for being in the shadow of a superstar, Robyn does a great job of focusing the story on herself and describing what she had witnessed. This is not always the case for similar memoirs like Jessica Harris’ My Soul Looks Back, where that author gets lost in focusing on the famous people instead of herself. Robyn feeling comfortable to tell her side of the story is commendable, as she says she wasn’t interested for years until she felt Whitney’s legacy was marred by drug addiction and molestation rumors despite her extraordinary talent. Robyn’s book is more to support Whitney’s legacy while the author exhibits her right to tell her own story.