All Articles Tagged "whitney houston biopic"

Actress Yolonda Ross Opens Up About Playing Whitney Houston’s Rumored Lover

December 3rd, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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With the premiere date of Lifetime’s highly anticipated Whitney Houston biopic being a little over a month away, actress Yolonda Ross is opening up about her role in Whitney. The Nebraska native plays Robyn Crawford, Houston’s best friend, assistant and rumored lover.

“I think it is very important to have the inclusion of the Robyn Crawford character because she was such a key part of Whitney’s life, personal and work wise,” Ross expressed during an interview with the Huffington Post.

The actress hopes that including Crawford in the film will clear up misconceptions and display the true nature of her role in Whitney’s life.

“With all the criticism and backlashing against this person it needs to be shown that at the base of it all, you had two people that respected and cared for each other since their teenage years through the time period when Whitney rose to her iconic level.”

“When the world is whipping around you, those are the people you want near, to keep you and your life in check,” Ross continued. “While portraying Robyn, it was important to me to respect the closeness of these two and show that in both the personal and public arenas.”

To prepare for the film, the actress says that she did research on Crawford and her relationship with Houston. She adds that she also fed off of the vibes and energy emitted by genuine long-term friendships.

“I scoured the internet for whatever I could find on Robyn. Though I had heard about her for years, I had never actually seen her so I wanted to get an idea of her but make sure I wasn’t mimicking her in any way. So getting a little insight on her having a strong presence and being supportive helped. I kept that in mind while playing her and really just worked off what a friendship between two people that had known each other for so long is really like as it changes with each obstacle that presents itself.”

As for what she has learned from her role in Whitney, Ross had this to say:

“Surround yourself with people that carry positive energy and light. That goes for the people working with you to the loved ones in your life. It’s too hard out here to move forward. Don’t let negativity bring you down.”

Check out her full interview here.

Lifetime Releases Official Air Date For The Whitney Houston Biopic + More Pics

December 2nd, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Official Air Date For The Whitney Houston Biopic

Source: Lifetime

Let’s be honest, after the Aaliyah biopic, Lifetime is not exactly in our good graces right now. So sad to say, the upcoming Whitney Houston biopic will be under even more scrutiny. And we love Angela Bassett around these parts, so we’re sincerely hoping she gets it right.

Today, Lifetime released the official air date for the biopic, simply titled: Whitney. It will air on Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 8pm ET/PT. As you know the biopic is set to focus on the relationship between Whitney and her husband Bobby Brown.

There are certainly similarities between the two Lifetime movies. Like Aaliyah’s family, Whitney’s family is not necessarily behind it. While Bobbi Kristina wanted the lead role, Cissy Houston, Whitney’s mother, believes Whitney should just be allowed to rest right now. And the estate didn’t grant Lifetime permission to use Whitney’s songs for the film.

But despite these hurdles, I’m still holding out hope. Because instead of having YaYa attempt to sing those iconic songs we all know and love, Lifetime enlisted the help of Deborah Cox to do the vocal work.

So it could very well work. And these pictures seem to suggest that it won’t be an all out debacle.

Immediately after the movie, Lifetime will air an hour-long documentary called Beyond the Headlines: Whitney Houston

Check out some more pictures from the set below and on the following pages.

air date for whitney houston biopic 1

Source: Lifetime

Blame The Trolls: Yaya Dacosta Quits Social Media After Mean Comments

August 11th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Many of you may know that Whitney Houston’s birthday was this past Saturday and in celebration of the day and of her life, Yaya Dacosta, the former Top Model whose been cast to play her in the Lifetime biopic, shared a series of photos of the late singer on her Instagram page.

And apparently, there was continued backlash.

I’m sure there were several tweets but on Instagram one user, who clearly follows Yaya, took the time out to express his discontent about her upcoming portrayal of Houston.

@theyayadacosta u do not deserve to play Whitney at all u look nothing like her at all and your career does not any major credits or acting credits to play a woman of such standards as Whitney u and the only major acting role since Take The Lead and I watched it once and it wasn’t all that and @angelabassett needs to learn how to cast the right people and Whitney’s mother should have been there to see who best fits to play her daughter and that is not you

So yesterday she posted a picture of a cave with the following message:

Although I’m a private person by nature, I reluctantly heeded the advice of seemingly knowledgeable socialistas who insist that these outlets- Instagram, Twitter etc.- are the new way. “Connect with your fans”, they say. So I swam out of my cozy cave a little, shared a little, held hands a little- only to have those hands of strangers squeeze and pull and punch. They steal your photos, miss the message, and point to delusion. I’m simply an actor for hire- like Whitney would say, just a human being. Until the consumers we pour our hearts out to on stage or on a movie screen learn that “artist” is not a synonym for “punching back”, I’m going back in. Back to basics. Back to instincts. Protecting my family. Projecting only what the public can handle. When we meet in person, love, humanity, and shared light, are real. But as long as ugly, unhappy people sit their happy meal asses on fat couches and spit venom to make themselves feel better, I swim. Thanking God for my beautiful, beautiful family.

It’s a shame people haven’t gotten over it yet. Thing is, Yaya has been casted, played the role and the movie is “in the can” as they say. It’s over. Your opinions about whether or not she’s the right choice to play Whitney are completely irrelevant now. Furthermore, I’d bet nearly any amount of money that the people who are doing the loudest complaining about the casting of this biopic will be the main ones tuned in.

“Looking Like Bobby Is Not My Goal, Being Bobby Is My Goal” Arlen Escarpeta Talks Role In The Whitney Houston Biopic

July 25th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Whitney And Bobby feat

Source: Lifetime

When pictures of Yaya DaCosta and Arlen Escarpeta as Whitney and Bobby surfaced, people had all types of things to say. There were comments that Arlen looked too nice and decent to play Bad Boy Bobby, or too attractive. There were even people who said he looked gay. But more than anything people wondered, where is the gap?

Well, honey we’ve got answers for you. We had the chance to speak to Mr. Escarpeta about his experience working on the upcoming Lifetime movie, the Houston family’s objections, including Bobbi Kristina’s rant, his response to the backlash and why he was missing Bobby’s signature gap.

See what he had to say below.


What initially influenced you to go after this role?

The initial audition was clearly something that everyone went out for. Clearly, Angela as a director is something that immediately pulls you in. She’s going to draw a lot of actors being such a tremendous actress herself. And then you know Bobby and Whitney’s story. I grew up listening to Bobby Brown. And being able to play him from the inside out, versus from the media standpoint, from the outside in, I think that’s what pulled me in initially.

Were you a Bobby Brown fan?

Definitely. I entered a dance contest when I was younger. “Every Little Step I Take,” Tenderoni,” you can go down the list. Bobby Brown, he was the man when I was growing up. So, absolutely.

How did you prepare? Did you get insight on what Bobby was like off stage

There wasn’t much support from the family in regards to that. So what I did was try to watch as many interviews as I could with Bobby and Whitney together or just Whitney talking about Bobby, Bobby talking about himself, picked up a couple of books and tried to get as much insight as I could from that standpoint. And then the other thing that I did was really get behind Bobby and Whitney’s love for one another. I think that was really the mainstay for Bobby’s character. You know, hone in on that passion, that love that they have for one another.

Did you have any reservations about doing the film without the support of Whitney’s family?

Not many reservations, if any at all because I trust Angela as a director. And I know that if it wasn’t something that was going to be done with class and with respect, she wouldn’t have her name on it. If it wasn’t someone that I knew and that I trusted in that way, then I would have probably felt some type of way about it. But Angela being the upstanding and classy person and actress that she is–with Angela at the captain’s table I didn’t have any reservations as far as that was concerned.

How was Angela Bassett as director?

There were no days off. Everyday, she asked and she pulled and she wanted something from me. She wanted to feel and know that you understood who you were playing and to give it every single day. And that was a treat. Every single day, I learned something different. I learned something different about myself as an actor, something different about Bobby, something different about Whitney. There were so many days of discovery, just different pieces of the puzzle that all came together. And I attribute that to Angela because she was really, really, really one of the catalysts that pulled and pushed this whole thing forward. And I feel that any of the actors that worked with her would give her her credit in that regard.

What did you think about Bobbi Kristina’s comments against Angela Bassett?

Oh yeah I read what she said. I didn’t pay to much attention to it at all because honestly, she’s coming from a place of passion, she’s coming from a place of love. She loves, loves loves her mother, like any child would. It’s completely understandable. I’m certain if there was a place for her to be a part of the film, in front of the camera, I’m certain Angela would have found it for her. But given our schedule, the shooting schedule and exactly what Angela wanted…unfortunately it didn’t work out. If she brought something to the table that Angela thought she could have really, really utilized I’m certain she would have been there.

But then at the same time, you also have to ask yourself, certain times when it comes to films or tv shows, whatever, sometimes someone can be too close to the project or too close to the person and that can create an issue as well. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out but much respect to Bobbi Kristina, I more than understand where she was coming from, absolutely.

Have you received any backlash for this part? 

I didn’t receive any personal backlash. There were a couple of tweets here and there. Some people didn’t think I looked like Bobby, which is fine I’m an actor. It’s not my job to look like Bobby, it’s not a look-a-like contest. Looking like Bobby is not my goal, being Bobby is my goal. A little bit of backlash here and there. A lot of people saying I look gay in the picture…You know, it’s fine. I take it all in stride. For me, it’s par with the course. When you’re playing someone as iconic as Bobby Brown, you have to expect that there’s going to be some type of backlash or something specific that people are looking for. All I can say is, when the film comes out, take a look and then we can talk then.

Do you have someone singing for you, like Deborah Cox is singing, as Whitney, for Yaya DaCosta?

I’m not doing the singing myself. There’s a gentlemen by the name of Carlos Battey. He’s from a writing group called The Jackie Boyz. He covered “Every Little Step I Take.” I had a good time with it. I got to dance, I got to sing. I got to wear some of the loudest suits I’ve ever worn in my life. It was a good time. I got to go to dance rehearsal. I got to work with Fatima Robinson and her team of choreographers it was an amazing experience.

Please tell me that you sang “Something In Common” 

We alluded to it. In regards to some of the music clearances, we couldn’t do as much as we wanted to. We got to where we needed to be and I think that people who know the song will get it, but we didn’t get to go through the whole song, no.

So tell us why didn’t you have the gap?

The gap is definitely Bobby. Everybody knows Bobby for his gap. Unfortunately, with our shooting schedule, there’s a time constraint. And you know for a dental mold that would actually fit in my mouth properly, allow me to still act, allow me to still be able to lip synch and do all these different things, it just didn’t come into play. They played with a couple of different pieces and neither of those pieces really stood out and looked real enough. And at some point, the producers and myself and Angela as well, we agreed that it’d be best to go without the gap for the simple fact that if it’s going to look that bad and that not real, that would be even more of a disservice than not having the gap at all. And the acting has to come first. So if I can look like Bobby, like we were talking about before, but can’t play the part, that just wouldn’t work.

I look forward to hearing what people have to say and what they think. It was an amazing time, it was an amazing opportunity and you know, onwards and upwards.

The biopic won’t air until next year, so in the meantime, be sure to look out for Arlen in the new film “Into The Storm” in theaters August 8. 

First Look: Watch Yaya In Action As Whitney Houston + Angela Bassett Responds To Bobbi Kristina

July 23rd, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Jack Zeman/Lifetime Television/Arista

Jack Zeman/Lifetime Television/Arista

Despite the dissension from Cissy Houston and Bobbi Kristina, the Whitney Houston biopic is a go. And if you don’t believe me, you need look no further than the recent behind the scenes interview Entertainment Tonight conducted with director Angela Bassett, star Yaya DeCosta and vocalist Deborah Cox.

During the interview, Entertainment Tonight asked Bassett how she felt about Bobbi Kristina’s Twitter rant against her for not casting her in the film. Bassett, always a class act, said she understood where Bobbi Kristina was coming from.

“I respect anyone’s feelings and truths. So I mean, I can understand it. I can understand it. She adores her mother. And in this process, I lost my mother so I get it. And I love Bobbi Kristina.” 

About all the controversy, Bassett said while she was prepared for it, she hasn’t allowed it to get to her.

“With great opportunity there will be criticism, so you learn to expect that but you what you don’t need is to be going out looking for naysayers. You know, you have a job to do.”

And Yaya, who I thought was Whitney on first glance, shared a similar sentiment when she learned she had earned the role.

“I kind of shut off  all social media because I didn’t want to be distracted by the, you know, the expectations, you know the naysayers.”

Good thing, because there’s been quite a bit.

Check out the video of Yaya in action below.

From what you saw, what do you think about Yaya as Whitney? And then just go ahead and confirm how classy Angela Bassett is for handling Bobbi Kristina’s comments with such grace. She is a better woman than I.

“Let Her Rest” Cissy Speaks Out On The Whitney Houston Biopic

July 23rd, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Cissy Speaks Out On the Whitney Houston Biopic

Source: Getty Images

We could only assume that the Houston family didn’t support Lifetime making a Whitney Houston biopic. The family was not a part of the process and had not signed over any rights allowing the production to use her recordings. And then there was that very unbecoming outburst from Bobbi Kristina (for which she later apologized) in reference to Angela Bassett not considering her for the role of her mother.

Well now, Cissy Houston is stepping forward with a statement of her own regarding the biopic. And to put it simply, she’s not happy.

“Lifetime has chosen to go ahead with the movie about Whitney in spite of my family’s objections. No one connected with this movie knew Whitney or anything about her relationship with Bobby.

In the two years since Whitney’s death, many people have stepped forward to speak about their close relationship with her. I find it difficult to believe people who knew and supposedly loved her would participate in a movie about her done by folks who didn’t know her. 

We are exhausted by the continuing misinformation and comments offered by people who did not know her. Please, please let her rest.”

Wow. It’s hard to read this and not take it as a direct jab to Angela Bassett, who is serving as director for this movie. We all know that she and Whitney famously worked on Waiting to Exhale together but it seems Cissy doesn’t feel that was enough to make a movie about her daughter.

Without the family’s approval, do you think that Lifetime should proceed with the film?

Biopics Are Important, Even If You’re Not Crazy About Who’s In Them

July 17th, 2014 - By madamenoire
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Entertainment Weekly

Entertainment Weekly


By Alley Olivier

A biopic aims to provide an in-depth look into the lives of legends, both living and deceased, but most of the time, when word gets out about them, they are often criticized for missing the mark in one way or another. The story was either too focused, missed major events or attempted to encompass everything, and in that, only glossed over the surface. If that’s not it, then people are calling foul on the actor for not looking EXACTLY like the icon whose life is being followed on film, and that distracts from the story at large. People want to walk away from a biopic learning something new and impactful about a particular group or person, and a die-hard fan wants to see more than a handful of facts easily highlighted on Wikipedia. The stakes are high with biopics, and they won’t be able to please everyone, but bringing the stories of our stars to life is very necessary.

For hip-hop and R&B, there are no textbooks giving the details on the lives of those we follow and love. Our greatest leaders live on the same wax they left behind. Biopics are important because the music that has evolved into what it is today has a lot to do with the contributions of our fallen stars. A particular sound, dance move, vocal arrangement and style is never 100 percent original. There is always some amount of influence from predecessors. In hip-hop and R&B, having a biopic celebrates the lives and work of so many of our greatest artists and allows for a younger generation to connect while providing the older generation with an opportunity to reflect.

Any film is going to come with criticism. The casting is wrong. The plot is off. The film, overall, just did not get it right. But criticism aside, if no one attempted to do a biopic of legends like Aaliyah, Whitney Houston, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix and more, there would also be cause for an uproar. That’s how important they are. Our black figures have made contributions that span wider than their genres of music, and they’ve affected American culture enough to bring people of different racial backgrounds together, provide a skeleton or blueprint of sorts for other genres and much more.

In the time of N.W.A, a snapshot of history is woven into the stories they tell organically. For the younger generation, this is important in understanding how music has changed over time and how their social hardships directly influenced their lyrics. You can listen to an artist and love their music, but you might not fully understand it unless you relive the big moments and put everything in context. Biopics relive the big moments.

The chances for a biopic to get it wrong are much higher than it is to get it right. A lack of research and poor casting can be detrimental to the story being portrayed. But whether these biopics appear on the small screen, big screen, Netflix or straight-to-DVD, they are important in preserving and celebrating our culture.  There will always be celebrations of the legacies of Aaliyah, Whitney, N.W.A., Jimi and James through the music left behind, but a biopic allows for us to relive their contributions and learn about them beyond what we thought we knew. Biopics will never be perfect, but they will always tell a story that we need to hear.

Deborah Cox Will Be The Voice Of Whitney Houston’s Biopic

July 16th, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Source: WENN, Lifetime

Source: WENN, Lifetime/Jack Zeman

Now that Lifetime  has announced who will be starring in their controversial biopic about Whitney Houston’s life, they’re answering one question that folks are dying the know the answer to: What do they plan to do about music in the film?

According to E!, although Angela Bassett previously stated that Lifetime had acquired the rights to Whitney’s music, they apparently only acquired rights from music publishers, but not for the actual recordings of Whitney’s music. To get around that, the network has hired singer Deborah Cox to re-record some of Whitney’s greatest hits. The film’s star, Yaya DaCosta, will then lip-sync to Deborah’s recordings. Lifetime reps say “music rights and clearances are still being worked out.”

We’re guessing producers probably ran into some roadblocks while trying to attain full rights to Whitney’s music due to the family’s disapproval of the biopic. From the looks of it, this movie is going to be a good one. Earlier this week, we reported on a photo of Yaya, which replicated Whitney’s 1987 album cover.

“I just looked at the picture and did the pose!” Yaya told Entertainment Weekly of the image.

Do you think Deborah was a good choice?

Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise

Look! The First Picture Of Lifetime’s Whitney And Bobby Together

July 14th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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lifetime's whitney and bobby

Source: Lifetime Network

The first image of Whitney and Bobby together for the Lifetime biopic has been released. As we reported earlier, Belizean actor Arlen Escarpeta earned the role of Brown, starring alongside Yaya DaCosta who will play Whitney Houston.

Personally, I think the casting is pretty spot on. It would be impossible to find someone who looks exactly like Brown but this is pretty close. The hair is everything.

One of my coworkers argued that he looks too clean cut but back in the ’90’s Bobby Brown was a bit more clean cut than he is now. Some you all recall the days when he was the ultimate bad boy sex symbol.

But let us know what you think about this casting. Does it work for you?

And in other Whitney biopic news, Angela Bassett posted an open casting call on her Twitter account, inviting anyone in LA who would like to come and be an extra in the biopic to show up for food and fun.

We imagine they’ll probably be in a concert scene.

The biopic, which Bassett mentioned will be shot in 21 days, will be released early next year.

Are you still feeling good about it?

She Did That! Yaya DaCosta Replicates Whitney Houston’s Hit 1987 Album Cover [PHOTOS]

July 10th, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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This past Monday, we showed you the first look at Jimi Hendrix’s All Is By My Side biopic trailer with Andre 3000. In lieu of biopics, we are excited to present leading lady Yaya DaCosta of The Whitney Houston biopic replicating Houston’s hit 1987 album, Whitney.

Jack Zeman/Lifetime Television/Arista

Jack Zeman/Lifetime Television/Arista

According to Entertainment Weekly, DaCosta just recently began filming for the Lifetime movie, which is why this promo photo was released. The America’s Next Top Model veteran said of the pic:

“I just looked at the picture and did the pose!” 

The Whitney Houston biopic, directed by Houston’s Waiting To Exhale costar and friend Angela Bassett, will air in early 2015 via Lifetime Television Network. DaCosta was cast to play the late iconic singer despite Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina protests. Bobbie Kristina stated if there were to be a biopic based on her mother’s life, her mother would want her to have the leading role, but clearly Angela Bassett had something different in mind. She responded to BK’s claim, saying:

“I did not think about casting her. And probably for a number of reasons, you know. One being that she’s not an actress. I know she’s acted here and there. I know she’s been on their family’s reality show, but she’s not an actress and acting is a craft. It’s an attempt to illuminate the complexities of human behavior and life. And this is a very fast-paced schedule; we have just 21 days to tell this story. It’s more than just saying lines and turning the light on. You have to drive the story—there’s a technical aspect.”

According to the Lifetime Network, the Whitney biopic will revolve around: “the headline-making relationship between the iconic singer, actress, producer and model, and singer, songwriter Bobby Brown — from the time they first met at the very height of their celebrity, to their courtship and tumultuous marriage.  Throughout it all, difficulties followed the superstar couple while they dealt with the overwhelming rewards and consequences of the fame and fortune created by Whitney’s meteoric rise that would soon overshadow them both.”

Bassett noted the film will not cover Houston’s untimely death and by the looks of it DaCosta will give us a run for our money with her life-changing role.

Don’t you love DaCosta’s photo?