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THANK YOU, Jess Cagle, for showing white America what talented and beautiful black women have to go through in showbiz (#306, Dec. 22). Being a woman and a minority is hard as hell in this country, and apparently even more so in Hollywood. No wonder Whitney Houston has a bad attitude. PEGGY M. SPATES JOHNSON Chula Vista, Calif.

READING your article about these two stellar women, I found myself wanting to learn more about Angela Bassett and less about Whitney Houston. Bassett seems a true professional: warm, intelligent, and poised. Houston sounded like she was rehearsing for an appearance on Letterman. SCOTT BARROW Westwood, N.J.

NUMBER OF times Whitney Houston says the F-word in your interview: 6. Number of times she says the S-word: 3. I am not waiting for further exhalations. JONATHAN EDWARDS Rochester, N.Y.

I WAS DELIGHTED to see Whitney wearing one of her many Marc Bouwer gowns on your cover. However, I was saddened to see that credit was given to Giorgio Armani – the sad part being that new designers such as Marc work very hard to stay afloat in the business. I hope he gets the recognition he deserves. PAUL MARGOLIN New York City


IN YOUR Scene Stealer piece on Alan Pentony (the dwarf in Frankie Starlight), Nixon casting director Heidi Levitt gives Pentony some free career advice: ”He’s going to have to be more resourceful than Macaulay Culkin…. If they do Tom Thumb he’s a shoo-in.” I think I’ll cast Pentony in my next film as a bonehead casting director or a brain-challenged editor who resorts to printing short-people jokes. TOM DICILLO New York City


YOU MAY claim Madonna’s new hairdo is Barbra Streisand 1969, but it looks more like Jennifer Aniston 1995 to me. JIM DAVIS Signal Hill, Calif.


EJECTIONS OVERRULED” targeted why Law & Order has survived despite its cast changes. Even though it struggles through, the removal of beloved characters is excruciatingly painful. I would delight in seeing those responsible for Chris Noth’s disappearance dragged into the streets and horsewhipped with TV cable! CYNTHIA B. ROBOTHAM Hyannis, Mass.

Correction: CDnow!, which sells compact discs through the Internet (Music), is headquartered in Blue Bell, Pa.

Clarification: In our article, Whitney Houston stated that TIME magazine had recently misquoted her as saying ”White America tried to f – - with me.” According to TIME writer Christopher John Farley, who recorded his interview with Houston, she was correctly quoted.