Kanye West made headlines this week when he spent $85K to buy a photo of Whitney Houston’s drug-infested bathroom to put on the cover of the new Pusha T album he produced. The photo, which was shocking at the time of its original release in 2006, is said to be bringing back bad memories for Houston’s family.
Now, Whitney Houston’s cousin, Damon Elliott, is speaking out in disgust over Kanye West’s decision to use the photo as the cover artwork for the new album, which is titled Daytona, and is already getting rave reviews from fans online.
Elliot says that he found out about West’s purchase of the photo when his daughter called him to tell him about the album cover. Damon claims his daughter was “frantic” over the artwork, and that the entire situation brought him back to a dark place.
“[She was] frantic. 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,” says Elliot.
Damon Elliot continued to speak out about Kanye West, whom he says he has worked with in the past. Elliot says that West invaded Whitney Houston and her family’s privacy by using the photo, and was shocked that the rapper would go that far.
“I was actually in shock because I’m in the music business. I’ve watched the train wreck happening, but I didn’t think he’d go this far in invading someone’s family privacy.”
Damon also reveals that he believes Kanye West used the drug photo as a “publicity stunt” to sell the album and that his decision to put the photograph on the cover of the record has “hurt” his family, adding that it is “petty” and “tacky.”
“To do something for a publicity stunt to sell records, it’s absolutely disgusting. It hurt my family and my daughter. It’s petty. It’s tacky.”
Damon Elliot goes on to say that Whitney Houston “never did anything” to Kanye West and that Kanye should have at least reached out to Whitney’s family before using the photo as the cover art. Now, Elliot says he wants to know why West used the photo, saying “it shows no creativity.”
In addition, Damon Elliot says that Kanye West owes Whitney Houston’s family an apology, and wants him to use a different cover image for the album.
“What were you thinking? Did you think this through? And if you did, why did you do this? Because you’re hurting people. It knocked the wind out of me last night. When someone passes, you try to mourn and move on and remember the good times.”
Whitney Houston was found dead in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton hotel back in 2012. Her death was ruled an accidental drowning. The autopsy confirmed that the iconic singer had multiple drugs in her system at the time of her death.
Kanye West has yet to reply to Damon Elliot’s comments.