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Poster For 'Waiting To Exhale'

Source: John D. Kisch/Separate Cinema Archive / Getty

We will always remember the first time we saw Waiting To Exhale, where we were, how we felt and the scenes that rocked our emotions to the core.

Today (December 22) marks the 20th anniversary of the film (adapted from Terry McMillian’s novel) that depicted Black women a new representation on the big screen and gave light to the hardships associated with Black love.

Starring Savannah (Whitney Houston), Robin (Lela Rochon), Bernadine (Angela Bassett), and Gloria (Loretta Devine), Waiting To Exhale was dubbed a “social phenomenon” and spawned one of the best selling soundtracks of all time.

While we’re all waiting on the rumored sequel, #TeamBeautiful remembers the importance of the romantic drama and how it changed our lives.

Allison McGevna

Source: Allison McGevna / self

Allison McGevna, Managing Editor

Waiting To Exhale has to be one of my favorite movies of all time. Not only was it incredible to see such beautiful, complicated and real depictions of Black women on screen, but also to see the value placed on their friendships. And who could ever forget Angela Bassett lighting it up on screen in that infamous “woman scorned” moment? It’s iconic! But since I was too young at the time to truly grasp the content of the film, my FAVORITE part of the movie was the soundtrack. With Whitney, Brandy, Mary J and so many other classic singers, I remember playing the cassette tape on repeat!

Shamika Sanders, Entertainment Editor

Shamika Sanders

Source: Shamika Sanders / self

There will never be another scene, in any film, that evokes the passion, pain and love of woman scorned than Angela Bassett’s iconic character Bernie burning her husband’s clothes outside her home. Woman everywhere, lived vicariously though Bassett and breathed a sigh of relief as if they too basked in the flagrant aroma of gasoline.

Waiting To Exhale is like a right of passage and should be watched as soon as a woman is old enough to experience love. It was a story about sisterhood, heartache and the hardships in between. I will forever adore the soundtrack that brought us female anthems like Shoop and Not Gon’ Cry.

It’s a timeless movie. Happy 20th!

Keyaira Kelly, Staff Writer

Keyaira Kelly

Source: Keyaira Kelly / Keyaira Kelly

I used to sneak to watch Waiting To Exhale when I was a little girl. I would wait until my parents left the house and grab the VHS cassette tape and get lost in the world of sexy black grown womanhood that I had yet to know. Who are these fabulous women driving in drop-tops in the hot Arizona desert talking about sex and men and friendship against a sultry R&B beat?

As I got older and the themes of heartbreak and deception started to resonate in my own life, I really understood how important this movie was. In such fragile times, our sisters are our strength and earthly salvation.
Angela Basset’s character, Bernie, was always my favorite. When Bernie delivered the most EPIC MONOLOGUE of all time before setting her husband’s shit on fire, I was like, oh hell yea. She cut her hair and learned intimacy in a whole new way, while the life she built crumbled before her. That’s revival. That’s dope.
And I can’t talk about the movie without getting INTO that soundtrack that I still play twice a week. It starts bumpin’ with Brandy’s ‘Sittin up in my room,’ and gets so vulnerable with Faith Evans’ ‘Kissing You,’ and ends with ‘Shoop’ which is like, the black girl’s musical recipe to healing and moving on.
It’s breakup/makeup/baby making/heart ache/sisterhood all wrapped into one glorious collection. It’s life.

Monique John, Staff Writer

Monique John

Source: Monique John / self

Waiting to Exhale is a hands-down classic. I was only a little girl at the time it was filmed and put out in theaters, but even years later, its themes of sisterhood and standing up for oneself as a Black woman are still relevant to me as a millennial 20 years later. I think Waiting to Exhale is also a movie that people love to watch and hold dear to them because it’s one of the few movies we have that shows Black women for who we are as vulnerable, emotional, beautiful and sexual beings. It’s no secret that we’re frequently cast aside as side-kicks or as one-dimensional, uninteresting people. Therefore, having four Black women hold the spotlight in a movie that’s as fun and honest as Waiting to Exhale is definitely something to celebrate for years to come. 

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