I’m really breaking all the rules with this one. I’m reporting on two of my biggest pet peeves, ‘made for TV movies’ and ‘Lifetime Television for women’. I’m torn and slightly embarrassed, but nonetheless I push forward in the name of pop culture. I will not be writing this article for internet views, I’m writing this article for Rhythm & Blues, and the woman who defined it for over a decade.
The rhythm: There is something to be said about a persons roots, a certain essence that is passed down through the blood from elders in your family. I can give you the long list of super star influence in Whitney Houston’s childhood, but nothing was more influential than the Pentecostal church she attended in her early formative years. Please excuse me if I get too ‘preachy’ and start delivering a sermon on ‘the black church’, and how ‘the black choir’ is the best place for inner city children to get formal training in singing. Whether you believe or you don’t believe the behavior on display in the Pentecostal church has powerful historical significance. The joy of Jubilee is pulsating through the veins of a lost and forgotten people. A few hours ever week of spiritual escape to scream, to shout and to sing for repentance.The Pentecostal church is in many ways a concert, the sermons are usually short but the church praise team puts on a show every sunday. Close your eyes and imagine a young 7 year old Whitney Houston practicing her first vocal belts to Amazing Grace in front of a screaming congregation. Practice, practice, practice, and one day you’ll be a star, and for Whitney few stars would ever shine brighter.
The Blues: “They say you can’t turn a bad girl good, and once a good girl’s gone bad, she’s gone forever.” That quote is arguably my favorite line in hip-hop history. Jay-Z explains the harsh reality of a woman who he mistreated, and now he must live with the guilt of her heartbreak. I wonder if Bobby Brown is a fan of Song Cry? Whether positive or negative no one can deny Bobby had a huge impact in Whitney’s life. There was a time when Whitney Houston was America’s sweetheart, the darling girl next door with a beautiful smile. We all hoped Cinderella would find her Prince, but life is no Disney movie. We now have an entire generation of young people that only saw Whitney Houston as a Hollywood burnout. She became another famous drug addict known more for doing cocaine lines rather than vocal performances. Whitney’s fall was from greatness is like Michael Jackson, Curt Colbain, and Elvis Presley. This is what happens to just about every larger than life public figure in America, “you either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become a villian.”
It was only a few weeks ago when Yaya Dacosta was announced to take the lead in Whitney Houston’s biopic. Obviously she has the look, the petite frame, the smile, its all there visually, but does the young model have what it takes to capture the personality of a star? Jamie Foxx became a household name after the Ray Charles movie. Chadwick Boseman is a young, underrated up and comer who hit a home-run with the movie ’42’. Boseman now has James Brown in his sites as he steps back into the spotlight. These men are real actors with the ability to become a different person on screen. I wish much love to Angela Basset as she attempts to direct this project, she currently has an entire nation of black women “waiting to exhale”, but excuse me if I don’t hold my breath for this movie. When Bobby and Whitney got married the overall sentiment in America was that Whitney Houston deserved better, ironically it seems to be happening all over again with Lifetime Television. Good Luck tho, I hope they can prove me wrong.