All Articles Tagged "whitney houston"

Lifetime’s Whitney Biopic: Here’s Our Wish List To Avoid The Aaliyah Disaster

November 21st, 2014 - By Candace Smith
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Jack Zeman/Lifetime Television/Arista

Jack Zeman/Lifetime Television/Arista

The Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B Lifetime biopic happened and in case you were living in a cave or an igloo, everyone was a critic the night it premiered. The majority of tweets sounded off with disgust and rage against producer Wendy Williams and main star, Alexandra Shipp. Trending topics like #LifetimeBeLike brought the world hilarious memes of potential future off-base Lifetime movie biographies the network could create.

But 3.2 million viewers tuned in on November 15, with 1.7 million of those being adults in the sought-after 18-49 age range, so it was still a hit. According to Deadline, these numbers were greater than the ones for the Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story that aired on September 1 of this year on a Monday night (1.6 million viewers, with 1.1 million of them in the 18-49 key demographic) and V.C. Andrews’ gothic tale, Petals On The Wind, which aired this May with 1.5 million people in the desired demo. (Though Aaliyah didn’t match Flowers in the Attic, the first installment of Andrews’ book to television adaptation on Lifetime.) So even while Black Twitter had a meltdown, eyeballs were watching and Wendy Williams, Debra Martin Chase, and the rest of the producers of Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B proved they could get “butts in seats.”

Another TV movie promising to tell the tale of one of the most beloved pop icons in history, Whitney Houston, will debut on the Lifetime network next year. There is a better chance for Whitney Houston’s story to play out in a much different light. For one, celebrated actress, Angela Bassett, directed it. Known for speaking out about not attaching her name to roles that would have the potential to compromise her integrity, there is little chance that Bassett would align with a film that would disgrace herself or anyone involved. However, just as Aaliyah’s family wanted nothing to do with Lifetime’s production of the late R&B star, Houston’s family have also expressed their disapproval of a biopic.

In either case, the show is definitely going on, so here’s what we hope Whitney Houston’s story on Lifetime will draw attention to, in a tactful, inspiring, and informative way:

1. Really focus on Whitney’s early beginning to stardom

Whitney Houston was destined to be a star. She had a golden voice, displayed at an early age singing in her church’s junior gospel choir. She was the first cousin of Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick, her honorary aunt was Aretha Franklin, and she had a lucrative career as a teen model, being one of the first Black women to appear on the cover of Seventeen magazine. It would be a visual delight to see a young Whitney on Lifetime posing as a model for her first photo shoot or touring nightclubs, getting her career going and seeing her first whiffs of adoration and fame.

2. Show a fictional portrayal of the making of one of Whitney’s popular music videos

Who can forget “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” or “I Will Always Love You”? Viewers would love to see a rendition of how these music videos came together, or a behind-the-scenes of Yaya DaCosta preparing for a day on set, seeing how any one of Houston’s iconic music videos were produced. Remember, Lifetime didn’t have the rights to Aaliyah’s music and it was sorely missed.

3. The meeting of Whitney and Bobby

It’s Lifetime, so of course we are going to see the love affair of Whitney and Bobby. However, let’s not make the whole movie “The Whitney and Bobby Story.” We saw how that turned out for the Aaliyah biopic;  80 percent of the film looked like the “Aaliyah and R. Kelly” story, while the other 20 percent was the “Aaliyah and Damon Dash” tale. Let’s witness the first time that Whitney and Bobby meet and how that informed her career and personal life. We know how Whitney’s story ended, unfortunately, but let’s give respect to the relationships that she had with her loved ones, no matter how tumultuous they may have been at times.

4. Whitney, the actress

Let’s not gloss over the time in Whitney’s life where she was a wonderful actress, shall we Lifetime? From The Bodyguard to Waiting to Exhale, Houston was as talented a thespian as she was a singing goddess. Even if there will only be two hours of this movie to behold, we are holding onto hope that we can see Yaya meeting a fictional Kevin Costner for the first time or celebrating her victory of being cast as Savannah Jackson.

5. Her relationship with Clive Davis

Clive Davis was to Whitney what Tommy Mottola was to Mariah, sans the marriage and divorce. Their relationship is the stuff of music legend and it would be a shame for Lifetime to gloss over it or give it undertones of unwarranted sensationalism. Let’s see the time when Clive promised Whitney the world when she was just 19 years of age, their relationship together during business meetings, talking Billboard chart numbers and platinum record status, and the last moments that they were together before her demise.

Even if Lifetime does not deliver on this wish list of ours, it is a guarantee that the voices of Twitter will have their say, Nielsen Twitter TV ratings for the movie will steadily rise, and Internet memes will be dissected by media pundits. Lifetime’s money — and fingers on social media — will talk.

Angela Bassett On Whether Or Not She Knew Whitney Houston Well Enough To Do The Biopic: “Who Does But The Person And The Lord They Serve?”

October 30th, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Corbis

Corbis

While chatting with HuffPost Live this week about all her new projects, including “American Horror Story: Freak Show,” Angela Bassett spoke in-depth about her connection to Whitney Houston and what people can expect from the biopic she directed for Lifetime about the music legend’s life–which is specifically about her relationship with Bobby Brown.

Bassett has received a lot of criticism for going forward with the film against the wishes of the family (and we know Bobbi Kristina felt some kind of way about not being cast to play her mom), specifically from Cissy Houston:

“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.”

But in her HuffPost Live chat, Bassett said that no one really knows a person intimately like that, aside from God, but that she and Whitney made quite the connection after doing Waiting To Exhale. For that reason, while she might not be the perfect person to tell such a story, she only has good intentions when it comes to her late friend:

“We worked together, Waiting To Exhale. There was hope that we would be able to do the sequel, but unfortunately there was her untimely passing…that made it really, really difficult to try figure out how to tell that story.  But we had a wonderful time together. We were all so young, she was very young and at the top of the game and had a young daughter at the time. Bobbi Kristina could not have been 4 years old or maybe around that age around then. It was a delightful time and it was amazing to be around her. She had done “Bodyguard” and had broke through this glass ceiling of what a sista was paid, and what a woman was paid. I was mesmerized by her talent…we had a mutual admiration for each other. We were there for each other.”

So how does she feel about the criticism from Whitney Houston’s family?

“Well, I can understand. I consider it a gift that was given to me, the opportunity to tell the story and try to tell it with love, compassion and dignity and be concerned about it. Staying up all night just fretting and just caring for it and standing up for it. Taking whatever licks for it, because I, like everyone, adored her. At its core, it’s a love story. It’s a love between two individuals, a man and a woman.  I did spend a little time [with] her, but to know her intimately, intimately — I mean, who does but the person and the Lord they serve? Who knows a person? But I know a little about being in the spotlight, a little about celebrity and its demands, a little about trying to find a mate and the support that’s needed in your industry — mine being acting, hers music industry. I think I know about being a woman, about being a black woman that came up in a little hometown … and yet you are able to become a success because of this God-given gift or talent. So I know a little bit about what it might have been like.”

But Bassett recently told Cosmo that she would like the family, both the Houstons and Bobby Brown and co., to see the film before it airs on Lifetime.

“But I do – I, personally – hope to present it to [them], allow them to see it before the world has an opportunity to see it. That’s my desire. Because this is not theater – this was a life. So, because it is going to be done, it is going to be seen, it’s done now. To me, that just shows respect.”

Are you here for the biopic? It’s finished, and will be coming to a TV screen near you sometime next year. Check out Bassett’s thoughts in full on her critics and on Whitney below. She talks about it around the 7:00 mark:

 

TBT: Whitney Houston Sings “Shoop” With Monica, Bobbi Kristina & More

September 25th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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tbt whitney houston feat

In addition to it being “Scandal” Thursday, it’s also Throwback Thursday on social media sites. And last night, I found this video of Whitney Houston singing her hit song from the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack, “Shoop.”

Someone tweeted it to Monica.

What’s special about this particular performance is that not only is Whitney singing the song, she passes the mic to some extraordinarily talented vocalists who just happen to be in the audience. People like Bebe Winans, Shirley Caesar and a very young Monica. Which explains why that person brought it to her attention.

And then there’s this adorable moment where a young Bobbi Kristina, encouraged by her father, comes out on stage and the mother-daughter moment is so precious it’s tear inducing.

It’s bittersweet but certainly worth a watch.

Check out the video below and reminisce.

A Song For You: “Whitney Houston Live” Set To Release In November

September 16th, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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whitney houston live

On the verge of her comeback, Whitney Houston suddenly died at the age of 48 on February 11, 2012. Although fans and family members are still in mourning of a great loss, Houston’s legacy lives on thanks to her mentor Clive Davis. Davis, who discovered Houston in the 1980s, will release her first posthumous album this November. During an interview on the Today show, Davis announced what music fans can expect from “Whitney Houston Live: Her Greatest Performances.” He shared: “She was without question the greatest vocalist in the world, it was a marvel that she was as powerful and as incredible as she was. But bittersweet that she died too young.”

According to Broadway World, the album will debut Houston’s live tracks in the following order:

1. Home (The Merv Griffin Show, 1983)
2. You Give Good Love (The Tonight Show StarringJohnny Carson, 1985)
3. How Will I Know (The Brit Awards, 1987)
4. One Moment In Time (The 31st Annual Grammy® Awards, 1989)
5. Greatest Love Of All (That’s What Friends Are For: Arista Records 15th Anniversary Concert, 1990
6. I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) (That’s What Friends Are For: Arista Records 15th Anniversary Concert, 1990)
7. The Star Spangled Banner (Super Bowl XXV, 1991)
8. All The Man That I Need (Welcome Home Heroes, 1991)
9. I’m Your Baby Tonight (Welcome Home Heroes, 1991)
10. A Song For You (Welcome Home Heroes, 1991)
11. Medley: I Loves You, Porgy/And I Am Telling You I m Not Going/I Have Nothing (The 21st Annual American Music Awards, 1994)
12. I’m Every Woman (The Concert For A New South Africa, 1994)
13. I Will Always Love You (The Concert For A New South Africa, 1994)
14. My Love Is Your Love (Late Show With David Letterman, 1998)
15. I Believe In You And Me (The 16th Annual World Music Awards, 2004)
16. I Didn’t Know My Own Strength (The Oprah Winfrey Show, 2009)

Unlike her upcoming Lifetime biopic, Houston’s family has given Davis and the album their blessing. Houston’s mother, Cissy helped Davis assemble the above tracks. Of the album, Davis says “This is her legacy.”

“Whitney Houston Live: Her Greatest Performances” CD/DVD  is set to release on November 11.

Wait A Minute – Did Lindsay Lohan Handle Whitney Houston’s Body Bag At A Morgue?

September 14th, 2014 - By Courtney Whitaker
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"Lindsay Lohan pf"

WENN

In an interview with Telegraph, Lindsay Lohan opened up about her experience doing community service and made an interesting claim.

Lohan says she was forced to work 12-hour shifts from 4am to 4pm for four months and had a very “F’d up and inappropriate” experience. It was inappropriate “because a lot of other people were meant to do it, and they were like: ‘No, they can’t handle it. Lohan can.’ It’s different for me than it would be for other people – like, no one would really have to work at the morgue in LA and roll a body bag for Whitney Houston.”

Wait. What? Did Lindsay Lohan say she rolled a body bag for our beloved Whitney?

Lohan also mentioned that appearing on Oprah’s docuseries forced her out of New York City. It made her a target. “After the Oprah show it was kind of hard for me to be in New York,” says Lohan. “There started to be paparazzi, and I didn’t have that in New York in the beginning…Every time I left my house, they were at the corner.”

Okay guys, what do you think? Did she really handle Whitney’s body bag? Is Oprah the blame for her troubles in NYC? Sound off!

Actors Who Played Musicians And Actually Sang Their Music

August 13th, 2014 - By Deron Dalton
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Source: Movie Collage

Source: “Lady Sings the Blues,” “Walk the Line,” “Cadillac Records” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”

Music biopics might be the most popular movies based on real-life people. But they can be the most challenging as well. Some actors might look the part and are able to connect with the story, but some actors CAN’T SING and have to perfect lip-syncing the to the musician’s work.

For instance, Deborah Cox isn’t playing Whitney Houston, but she is providing the singing voice for the stunning Yaya DaCosta who has proven she can look and act like Houston. Cox provided a snippet of her performing the title track for the upcoming Lifetime biopic, “I Will Always Love You: The Whitney Houston Story.”

Nevertheless, there are actors who can look, act, dance, perform and SING the part every now and then. And MadameNoire compiled a list of 15 actors and films with little to no lip-syncing and new original recordings of their actors as the musicians.

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.

I Will Always Love You: Whitney Houston’s Best Pop Moments

August 9th, 2014 - By Deron Dalton
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whitney houston's best pop moments

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It’s “The Voice’s” birthday (the woman, not the show), and we will always love her. MadameNoire highlights 15 moments in which the iconic and barrier-breaking Whitney Houston blessed the world with her voice or talent in what’s known as her best pop moments of all time.

“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.