Hollywood continues to find new ways to profit off of celebrities after they’ve passed. From books to biopics, holograms, and much much more. Sometimes it seems like people are worth more to the entertainment industry dead. This, unfortunately, truth is best displayed in the handling of icons like Michael Jackson, Prince, and Whitney Houston. Their legacies continue to be exploited through half-finished songs and conspiracies about their private lives. Dionne Warwick is over it and is hoping people let her cousin Whitney Houston rest in peace.
While sharing her thoughts on Aretha Franklin’s biopic, Warwick was asked if she had taken on any consulting roles for films centered around her late cousin Whitney. “Not one thing,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “I want them to let Whitney rest in peace. Leave her alone. Ten years [since she died] — it’s time to let her sleep.” Unfortunately, not everyone shares the same sentiment as Warwick. Whitney Houston died on February 11th, 2012. She was 48 years old. Whitney had struggled for years and was a shell of the powerhouse vocalist she was in the early ’90s by the time she passed. As soon as she passed, record and film companies swarmed in to exploit her image and talent and make money off fans looking for anything they could get from the late singer.
It was reported that her music sold 3.7 million albums and 4.3 million singles worldwide in the first ten months following her passing. The labels rushed to repackage and remaster her music, and by November of that same year, her first posthumous greatest hits album, I Will Always Love You: The Best of Whitney Houston, was released by RCA Records. By 2015 the Lifetime Network released its first Whitney-centered project simply titled Whitney. The biographical film was directed by Angela Bassett and starred Yaya DaCosta while featuring newly recorded vocals by Deborah Cox. Unfortunately, people did not love the movie, and it currently holds a 68% rating on rotten tomatoes.
Just this year, they did another Whitney project, this time a documentary about her and daughter Bobbi Kristina. She, unfortunately, perished eerily similar to her mother only a few years later. Whitney & Bobbi: Didn’t We Almost Have It All was promoted as “an in-depth look at the parallel lives of renowned singer Whitney Houston and her daughter with Bobby Brown, Bobbi Kristina Brown.” It covered their lives and unfortunate passings and was screened with the Whitney film from 2015. This documentary got a bit more love from fans who were heartbroken to see just how similar Whitney and her daughter were.
TriStar is developing another biopic centered on Whitney’s life. This one has been going through development for a while and just recently scored its second director after the first one walked away “due to creative difference.” Back in September, it was announced that Harriet director Kasi Lemmons will step into helm I Wanna Dance With Somebody.
Naomi Ackie has been cast to play Whitney. Speaking on the role, she said, “Preparing to play Whitney Houston has been an incredible experience. I’ve learned so much more about her and myself than I could have imagined. I’m so excited to get on that film set and honor her legacy! With Kasi on board, I know we can create something truly wonderful.” While it’s obvious this film will not have Warwick’s blessing, Clive Davis will be at the helm making sure the movie is accurate. “I have a mission here. I have a mission to make sure that for all time that the full picture of Whitney Houston is captured in a no-holds-barred film that is musically rich and shows her genius and more of her character than we have seen to date” he said in a press release.
Ashton Sanders has signed on to play Bobby Brown, Stanley Tucci will play Clive Davis, and Nafessa Williams will be playing Robyn Crawford. Crawford is another one who has decided to take Whitney’s legacy into her own hands following the singer’s passing. Robyn and Whitney were childhood friends who were rumored to be lovers for years. Robyn revealed in her book “A Song for You” that this was true and that she and Whitney had a secret relationship for a long time. “I found comfort in my silence,” she told outlets when asked why she waited so long to talk. “We never talked labels, like lesbian and gay,” Crawford said in the book. “We just lived our lives, and I hoped it could go on that way forever.” Many have applauded Crawford for her bravery and honesty, while some feel it was unfair for her to “out” Whitney without her permission.
For those looking to get their Whitney fix in the physical sense, Mac will be launching a cosmetic line inspired by the late singer that will run in conjunction with the biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody and pay homage to some of her most iconic looks. There is also a Whitney Houston hologram currently starring on the Las Vegas Strip. An evening with Whitney: The Whitney Houston Hologram Concert can be seen inside Harrah’s Showroom At Harrah’s Las Vegas and features live band and dancers playing along to “never before heard live renditions” of Whitney’s biggest hits. The show goes live today, so there have been no reviews yet. With this many projects centered around her life and legacy, it appears Whitney will not be able to rest for a while in the way Dionne wished.