Whitney Houston (known for being a fun care-free child with tremendous talent) went from singing in a gospel church choir in a ghetto town of New Jersey to a stunning black woman known internationally for her gifted “voice” and exceptional beauty.
She was a successful iconic singer from the 80’s to the 90’s and plummeted from drugs and alcohol by the 2000’s. But, what many people did not know is that she lived with deep dark secrets that were well hidden from the public.
‘Whitney’, the movie gets to the truth of how Whitney Houston lived and why she tragically died at the age of 48. Kevin Mcdonald, the director explains her story brilliantly in a documentary which has actual interviews with immediate family members and close associates. He combines her story with the use of archival footage of history from that era and includes powerful musical video clips and montages. He pulls her timeline together in a biographical story with vivid images and candid statements in “Whitney”.
Whitney, aka- Nippy is a nickname she adored and given to her by her father since childhood. She often refers to herself by that name throughout the movie. The movie begins when Whitney is speaking on screen about how she is always having the same dream, where she is running from a giant and then she wakes up – and she’s literally and physically exhausted from running in the dream. She speaks of her demons that haunt her and the haunting impression we come to understand is that this “giant” is some kind of demon that she can’t get away from.
In each and every interview, there is a solemn sadness as to what happened to her – it’s like putting a jigsaw puzzle together – it all starts to make sense. Piece by piece, the movie unveils a sequence of events which lead up to why she could not escape from running away from the “giant”- the demon.
Whitney came from a family well-known for their amazing talent to sing and perform. Cissy Houston, her mother, Dionne Warwick (cousin), and Dee Dee Warwick (cousin) were very well known in the 60’s and 70’s for their R&B music.
When Whitney was very young and living in New Jersey in the 60’s, she found herself bullied in the neighborhood by many of the other black children because her skin was much lighter than theirs. This rejection affected her immensely and her mother eventually moved them out of that neighborhood.
Whitney, from an early age was taught to “sing from her heart, her mind and her guts” according to her mother. Cissy was strict, hardcore and insisted that Whitney get it right. Her mother wanted to make sure that Whitney made it in the music industry and was determined that this was going to happen. Her mom was also on the road and gone a lot and Whitney and her brothers were shifted from family to family to be taken care of.
Her father John Houston, was a corrupt civil servant and jealous philanderer. Eventually her mother and father split and both parents admitted to infidelity, but it was her mother’s infidelity with their preacher that really upset Whitney’s church world.
She was crushed when her parents divorced and at 18 years old, she moved out and in with her best friend Robyn Crawford, who eventually became her assistant and alleged lover. Cissy, on camera denies that her daughter ever had a sexual relationship with Robyn and insists that Robyn was not good for her daughter.
Whitney’s success multiplied when she was signed on to a record label with Clive Davis.
The list of songs that hit the charts are tremendous, but most memorable is when she sang the “Greatest Love of All and her rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner at the Superbowl in 1991. She mesmerized the crowd and around the nation and in 1992, when she starred in the movie, “The Body Guard”, she sang amazingly, “I Will Always Love You”. This movie, this song and her voice reached in and tore through everyone’s hearts around the world.
But the beginning of her downfall started when she was dissed at the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards. She was called out by her peers and her records were boycotted claiming that her music “wasn’t black enough”. Again – she is ridiculed for not “being black enough”. This was a pivotal moment that started the pit that she never could manage to climb out of. People thought that when she married bad boy, Bobby Brown from the hood – that was her downfall. (She did have her drug of choice before she met Bobby and she used drugs recreationally but not habitually). Eventually, she did top the chart with hit songs again and began producing them herself.
Bobby Brown became extremely jealous of her huge success and over her tight friendship with her assistant, Robyn. Whitney was constantly trying to please him and by the time their daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown was born – it seemed like nothing was going to make Bobby Brown happy. He took his frustration out on Whitney in every way he could and Robyn tried to protect her. But Whitney wouldn’t listen to anyone – trying to keep her family together. Whitney turned to drugs daily and it became worse. Robyn eventually gave her an ultimatum – it was either her or Bobby – and Bobby won, so Robyn resigned in 2000.
Whitney had made a lot of money during her successful career and took care of all her family members by employing them all into her company. She spent a lot of money too and eventually went broke. There were also allegations that someone in their family molested her at a young age and that she was bi-sexual. When this news hit the press regarding her sexuality, she denied it and the drug addiction. Bobby and Whitney indulged heavily into drugs and alcohol with abandonment. Her drug induced lifestyle soon spiraled and she stop attending concerts, interviews and engagements. She was forced into re-hab, but she always found a way to come back to cocaine to ease her pain. Whitney felt like she was carrying such a heavy burden – it was her demon – and her giant chasing her constantly. She wanted to find Nippy not “Whitney”.
In 2007, she finally divorced Bobby Brown and her mother had an intervention for her drug abuse. She had her committed to a rehabilitation facility that lasted 8 months. In 2008, Dee Dee Warwick died. In a last powerful interview, Mary Jones, her long- time assistant and close friend talks to the camera about the day she was with Whitney at the Beverly Hills Hotel and how terrible it was to find her face down in the bath tub. It is at that point when she reveals that there was a sexual predator in Whitney’s family and it was Dee Dee Warwick. Whitney had been sexually abused by Dee Dee and according to Mary, Whitney never came to terms with her own sexuality (being bi-sexual) and about the sexual abuse that she withheld. For a gal who could bolt out songs of love and bring them to light, Whitney could never get out of the darkness that loomed over her. She illuminated our hearts when she sung such gut-wrenching songs that grappled our souls and at the end of her life, she couldn’t find her greatest love of all.
Her own soul gleamed in beauty, talent and her gift gave us her everlasting voice on records, tapes and in the movies. In this movie, “Whitney”, I found nothing but compassion for her and I will always love her – and for what she gave to the world.
Release Date: July 6, 2018
Starring: The voices of Whitney Houston and Bobbi Kristina Brown. Cissy Houston, Robyn Crawford, Clive Davis, Ellen White, Mary Jones, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Lynne Volkman, Clive Davis, Alan Jacobs, L.A. Reid, Michael Houston, Gary Houston, Bobby Brown, Steven Gittelman.
Director: Kevin Mcdonald
Genre: Documentary, Biography, Music
Runtime: 120 minutes
Official Website: www.WhitneyHouston.com
Imdb Page: @Whitney 2018
Wiki Link: @Whitney 2018
Keely Smith-Wallace| Writing Contributor
B.A | Communications | University of Pittsburgh
Keely Smith-Wallace loves to write, is an avid adventurer and adores compelling stories. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a Degree in Communications she landed a job with British Airways and traveled the world. People, places, movies, music, theatre and travel perpetuates her passion to seek out stimulating stories in the world of entertainment and interesting lifestyles. Look for her insightful reviews to find out what’s new, what’s hot and where you may like to trot – for an awesome experience! Instagram: @KeelyUniqueBoutique| View My Blogs
Please contact me below for freelance writing opportunities, sponsorship, brand ambassadorship, licensing information and press coverage:
© 2018 GeekRockTV. All rights reserved. Texts, Videos & Images Copyrighted.